counting votes

Assemblyman John Amedeo, center, is calling for a recount of ballots after the Atlantic County board of Elections certified challenger Vince Mazzeo, left, as the winner of a 2nd District Assembly seat. Amodeo's attorney Randolp Lafferty is standing to the right.

Republican Assemblyman John Amodeo formally filed for a recount Wednesday in the race for a 2nd District Assembly seat. He said in court papers the Atlantic County Board of Elections erred in naming Democratic Northfield Mayor Vince Mazzeo a winner. A hearing on Amodeo’s request is expected for either noon today or Friday morning in front of Superior Court Judge Julio L. Mendez.

Amodeo seeks a recount and a recheck of the votes cast on election machines, as well as a hand-count of mail-in and provisional ballots, and a re-examination of rejected mail-in and provisional ballots.

The filing, signed by attorney Randolph C. Lafferty, also asked the court keep the election machines impounded and sealed.

Amodeo’s filing wants the recount to continue daily, except for weekends and holidays, until completed.

Amodeo did not respond to requests for comment.

Mazzeo said the recount request was expected, and said he would do the same thing if he were Amodeo.

“When something’s under 50 votes, it’s standard to have a recount,” he said.

Certified results show that Mazzeo edged out Amodeo by just 38 votes out of more than 101,000 cast. Republican Assemblyman Chris Brown retained the district’s other Assembly seat. Wednesday was the deadline to file for a recount.

In Northfield, Democratic City Council candidate David Devine also said he sought a recount. Devine lost by one vote to Republican Nick Piergiovanni, who was sworn onto council Tuesday to fill former 1st Ward Councilwoman Lisa Brown’s unexpired term.

“There were a couple of issues with provisionals, for example, an acquaintance of mine, Scott Miele, told me he tried to vote for me but when he went in to vote they gave him a provisional because they had accidentally had his son, Christopher, sign in his place,” Devine said. “They told him he already voted, and (they) negated his vote, so that conflict alone could be a tie.”

Board of Elections Chair Paula Dunn said the board expects to address the Northfield recount on Monday and Tuesday. No schedule has been set for the General Assembly recount.

The Board of Elections initially said 40 votes separated Amodeo and Mazzeo. On Wednesday it acknowledged errors in the initial certification in an email that was later circulated.

Dunn acknowledged the errors, but declined comment. County Clerk Ed McGettigan, whose staff compiles vote totals, could not be reached for comment Wednesday night.

The changes dropped Mazzeo’s mail-in ballot totals by 1 to 2,047 and increased his provisional ballot totals by 1 to 449.

Another correction gave Amodeo two more provisional votes in Absecon, boosting his provisional total to 208.

In a statement, Atlantic County Republican Party Chairman Keith Davis said “From election day and up to today, the Board of Elections has issued wrong vote totals in this election, leading to confusion followed by corrections. To ensure that this election is accurate and has been properly handled, Assemblyman John Amodeo has rightfully requested a recount today.”

Staff Writer Elisa Lala contributed to this report.

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