The Atlantic County Board of Elections and County Clerk Edward McGettigan certified the results of the 2013 election Tuesday afternoon, setting the stage for any recount to come. State law requires applications for recounts or voting machine checks be filed after certification, but on or before Nov. 20.
The results ratify this year’s two biggest surprises, showing Democratic Northfield Mayor Vince Mazzeo beating three-term Republican Assemblyman John Amodeo by 40 votes, 25,164-25,124. Tuesday’s certified results actually shave two votes off of the Amodeo’s totals, the Board of Elections announced Monday.
Republican Assemblyman Chris Brown won the 2nd Legislative District’s other Assembly seat with 26,018 votes, beating Democrat Nick Russo, with 23,900. Independent candidate Gary Stein picked up 1,388 votes.
The results also confirm that in Atlantic City Republican mayoral candidate Don Guardian beat Democratic Mayor Lorenzo Langford 3,929 votes to 3,568, with independent John McQueen also getting 230 votes.
And in Northfield, Republican Nick Piergiovanni narrowly won an unexpired seat on the governing body over Democrat David Devine, 633-632
Local recounts happen every few years Atlantic County, typically involving low-turnout, low-margin local elections.
A 2005 recount involved a seat on the Atlantic County Board of Chosen Freeholders, Board of Elections Chair Paula Dunn said. Other recent recounts involved the Mullica Township school board in 2008 and the Buena Vista Township municipal government in 2010.
Dunn said there was an informal recount following Atlantic City’s 2009 mayoral and City Council race
Randolph C. Lafferty, an attorney who represented Amodeo before the Board of Elections, said Amodeo is considering his options.
Amodeo said he would meet Wednesday morning to plan strategy, but otherwise said state Republicans warned him against publicly commenting on the results.
He told the Star-Ledger of Newark for Tuesday’s editions that “In my heart I believe this election was stolen.” The paper reported Amodeo also said Superior Court Judge Julio L. Mendez was “very lenient” in allowing the Board of Elections to count 115 remaining provisional ballots. Mendez ruled Friday after the board deadlocked either on the voters’ signatures or because Republican and Democratic poll workers signed indicating they helped a voter with a ballot.
State law only permits those pollworkers to aid and sign a ballot when the voter is blind, illiterate or otherwise physically unable to vote.
Mendez, however, said “The fundamental principle is permitting votes to be counted” in allowing them in. These counted ballots turned Amodeo’s two-vote lead to Mazzeo’s 40-vote lead.
On Tuesday, Amodeo referred to Mendez’s decision, saying, “Those were all things we witnessed.”
Dunn, a Democrat, declined to comment on Amodeo’s remarks, as did Republican county Chairman Keith Davis.
Mazzeo said the challenges that initially set the ballots apart were unwarranted.
“I don’t think anything was stolen,” Mazzeo said. "There was winner and a loser in this race. If I was on the losing end, I would feel pretty bad too.”
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