A Superior Court trial that may determine if there is a runoff election in Asbury Park for the mayoral position continued in Freehold this week but one of the defendants said it is a long, tedious process.
“It is a slow, slow process,” Asbury Park Mayor John Moor said, who is a respondent to the lawsuit.
Remond Palmer and Board of Education candidate Arva Council, two candidates on the unsuccessful A-Team slate in the November election, filed the lawsuit seeking vote-by-mail ballots disqualified by the Monmouth County Board of Elections to be ruled as valid.
Last week 19 more ballots were rejected for various issues.
Moor said that A-Team mayoral candidate Remond Palmer must get all 230 votes of the remaining ballots in question to trigger a runoff election for the mayoral position.
“So the magic number for me is 229,” he said.
Superior Court Judge Dennis O’Brien ruled in December that hundreds of voters filing vote-by-ballots will have to testify but Moor said witnesses are slow coming forward.
He said there were no witnesses on Monday.
“So we continued going through the ballots,” he said.” (O’Brien) saw enough evidence to disqualify the two more ballots and said he wants to hear testimony from several dozen more voters.
However, on Tuesday, Moor said only one person appeared and O’Brien threw out that ballot, which should have given Moor his magic 229 number, including the two that were thrown out on Monday, for a total of three.
“But it was discovered that three people voted twice in the election- once at the polls and once through a vote-by-mail ballot. So that, again, changed the numbers and the judge still needs to rule on this,” Moor said.
The trial will resume today (March 12) and Moor said O’Brien wants to see the plaintiffs supply the number of witnesses he has requested.
“Presenting only five witnesses in one day will not solve this case in a speedy manner,” he said.
And although Moor feels he will be successful at the end of the trial, he said he sees it as a waste of taxpayer’s money.
“There is a lot of money being spent on lawyers by the county and it is also starting to affect me financially because I am missing so many days of work,” he said.
If enough ballots are ruled as qualified, then there is also the potential for A-Team Council to be seated on the Board of Education although the number of valid ballots needed for that appear to be about 190 out of the 230 remaining ballots to be examined.
Moor easily defeated Palmer in the November election with 1,401 votes with Palmer getting 729. Judge O’Brien allowed Moor to be sworn in as mayor on Jan. 1 pending the outcome of the trial.
Under the city’s new form of government recently approved by voters, mayoral candidates must win with a majority of more than 50 percent of the vote.
The winning four -member Asbury Together City Council ticket, who ran with Moor, consists of Amy Quinn, Joseph Woerner, Jesse Kendle and Barbara “Yvonne” Clayton.