CAPE MAY COURT HOUSE — The final outcome of West Wildwood’s Dec. 7 recall election still remains unknown.
As of that date, Mayor Herbert Frederick and Commissioner Gerard McNamara managed to keep their seats on the town’s three-member commission. But a handful of ballots not counted that day are the subject of a hearing that could alter the makeup of Borough Commission.
On Monday, Superior Court Judge Valerie Armstrong ruled that two of five disputed votes in the Dec. 7 West Wildwood recall election can be counted and two others cannot. Armstrong is expected to rule on a fifth vote today.
As of the recall election, 176 votes were cast to keep McNamara in office, while 174 were cast in favor of his recall. Frederick held his seat with 177 votes against his recall and 171 for it.
Armstrong has heard testimony from most of the voters involved, along with representatives from the Board of Elections as she weighed each vote.
The two votes that she said should not count were rejected for two very different reasons.
In one case, the voter had moved away prior to the Dec. 7 recall election. Armstrong found that vote should not count because the voter no longer had a stake in the municipal election.
The other was rejected because the voter failed to sign the mail-in ballot’s certification, something she said was a fatal defect that would prevent the ballot from being counted.
The two votes that will be added to the mix also were allowed for different reasons. In one case, the judge found the voter, Sandra Wasyluk, had properly signed her ballot. In the other case, Armstrong found that, although the outside envelope holding the ballot was signed by another person, the ballot cast by Mary Jean Marcellino should count.
“I want my vote to count,” Marcellino testified as she explained that her mother delivered the ballot to the county for her.
Armstrong found that while the outside envelope should have been signed in front of Marcellino by the person delivering it for her, the error was not enough to discount her vote.
“The court is not condoning what happened here,” the judge said, but she said there was no evidence Marcellino was trying to commit a fraud.
Armstrong heard testimony Monday and last week about the final vote being considered and, after reviewing some additional records, will make a ruling today.
There remains some question as to whether Armstrong will be asked to consider any of the other uncounted ballots in the election.
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