VINELAND — A local resident wants to put the mayoral recall movement on hold until officials can resolve what he claims are irregularities involving the city’s registered voter list.
David Mazur contends the list contains the names of more than 1,200 persons who are, among other things, listed twice, dead or have a birthday recorded as Jan. 1, 1800.
Mazur has a gallon-sized plastic bag containing the obituaries of some of the people he says are on the voter registration list. The Press of Atlantic City was able to confirm the names of three of those deceased individuals.
Mazur’s findings also indicate that Cumberland County Freeholder James Sauro is 214 years old. Sauro, who lives on Trento Avenue here, is one of those people listed as being born on Jan. 1, 1800.
Mazur is not alleging fraud in connection with the registered voter list. He does say that his findings — if accurate — could indicate potential problems with the list. That could affect the number of signatures of local registered voters recall proponents need to gather to force an election to decide Mayor Ruben Bermudez’s fate, he said.
But officials with the Cumberland County Board of Elections argue the list is accurate. They say Mazur is, at the very least, misinterpreting the birth date given to the more than 800 people listed as being born on the first day of the 19th Century.
Board Clerk Arlene Wiltshire said that birth date is essentially a “dummy date” assigned to people who never provided a birthday when they registered to vote. Those people can still vote, but will have to do so via provisional ballots that will eventually be reviewed by election officials, she said.
“No one is turned away at the polls,” she said.
County election officials said a person can be removed from the voter registration list by request. Those officials said they will also start what is called a “purge trail” if election information sent to a registered voter is returned and indicates that person has moved out of the county or has no forwarding address. That person will be dropped from the voter registration list upon failing to vote in two consecutive federal elections, they said.
According to information provided by Mazur, some of the deceased who he states are on the voter registration list only died within the past few months.
However, Mazur will not be denied.
Mazur says he will lodge a formal complaint regarding the list with City Clerk Keith Petrosky during Tuesday’s City Council meeting. The complaint will ask Petrosky for a formal review of the city’s voter registration list, and a delay in adhering to deadlines involving the recall until the review is complete.
County election officials said it will be up to Petrosky to respond to the complaint. Petrosky can take action on his own, or in consultation with the county Board of Elections, they said.
Mazur is a former unsuccessful candidate for the local Board of Education and City Council. He has already announced his intention to run for mayor if the recall group garners enough valid signatures to put the issue before the voters.
Mazur contends his actions are not political: When asked why he spent the past several months reviewing the list of the city’s nearly 38,000 registered voters, Mazur replied, “Fairness.”
“Fairness to the city,” Mazur said. “Fairness to Mayor Bermudez. Fairness to the recall people.”
The Committee to Recall Mayor Ruben Bermudez has until May 19 to give Petrosky the signatures of 9,447 of the city’s registered voters. That number represents 25 percent of the total number of registered voters here. The City Clerk’s Office must review all the petitions to determine whether they contain the signatures of enough properly registered voters to put the recall before the voters.
Recall officials said last week they are about 1,700 signatures shy of the required 9,447 signatures.
Contact Thomas Barlas: