A Monmouth County Superior Court judge today dismissed a case that sought to force a runoff election in Asbury Park for the mayoral spot won by John Moor in the November election.
Remond Palmer and Board of Education candidate Arva Council, two candidates on the unsuccessful A-Team slate in the election, filed the lawsuit seeking 355 vote-by-mail ballots disqualified by the Monmouth County Board of Elections to be ruled as valid.
“(The county Elections Board) did not exceed their discretion in disqualifying the ballots” Judge Dennis O’Brien ruled today.
A number of ballots were disqualified during the two-week trial and Palmer needed to get all 230 of the remaining ballots in question to trigger a runoff election against Mayor Moor.
O’Brien ruled in December that hundreds of voters filing vote-by-mail ballots would have to testify but Moor said only one witness eventually testified even though the judge requested 46 people testify beginning today.
Moor said he asked the judge to dismiss the case because in a similar case, in Sept., 2003 that was also brought by the A-Team, O’Brien ruled that proper procedures must be followed when submitting vote-by-mail ballots and the A-Team was, therefore, aware of this requirement.
“His 2013 decision should have taken away all of the confusion and I asked that the case be dismissed- and that is what the judge did,” Moor said.
Moor said he would not be surprised if O’Brien’s ruling is appealed to the state Appellate Court.
As for Moor, he said he is glad the entire matter has been resolved so he can get back to his normal lifestyle.
“I always felt that this would be the eventual outcome because the numbers were just not there. It was just a matter of getting it over with,” he said.
Moor said he has been focusing on City Council business in Asbury Park during the trial but that the case has taken its toll.
“It’s a physical, mental, and monetary challenge but at least it takes the air of uncertainty out of the outcome of the election. This is no longer an issue hanging over our heads,” he said.
Since O’Brien dismissed the entire case, Council will also not be seated on the Board of Education. If enough ballots were ruled as qualified, then there was the potential for Council to be seated.