CAPE MAY — The mayor’s race got closer Friday as the Cape May County Clerk’s Office posted new totals that gave incumbent Mayor Ed Mahaney only an 11-vote lead over challenger Rusty Chew.

And more votes could be coming as absentee ballots are being accepted until Nov. 19.

“It’s not over,” said Chew, a retired local police sergeant.

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When the polls closed Tuesday night Chew had a two-vote lead, 547-545, but then some absentees were posted later that night giving Mahaney a 666-647 edge. The 19-vote margin, changed on Friday. It is now 667 for Mahaney and 656 for Chew.

Chew, who said he will not challenge the result even if he loses by one vote, is going about his business. This includes striped bass fishing and on Friday making two runs here as a volunteer firefighter, including a house fire on Delaware Avenue.

Due to Hurricane Sandys’ impacts on the U.S. Postal Service, absentee ballots postmarked by Nov. 5 are being accepted through Nov. 19. This came from an executive order by Gov. Chris Christie.

The Clerk’s Office said there are also provisional ballots to be counted. So far 443 have been counted in the county, but there could be more out there. Due to Sandy, first responders and residents impacted by the storm were allowed to vote by provisional ballot from any New Jersey polling place or any county clerk’s office. Provisional ballots from Cape May and Burlington counties have been counted but that leaves 19 other counties where city voters, possibly displaced by the storm or serving as first responders, could have voted. The Cape May County Board of Elections determines if such ballots are accepted.

Christie’s order also allowed some voters to cast their votes by electronic means, email or by fax. The deadline for these votes ended at 8 p.m. on Friday.

Contact Richard Degener:


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