BELMAR, NJ — Democratic incumbent Thomas Brennan said he will seek a hand recount of the mail-in ballots in his re-election bid for the Belmar Council, which has him losing the race by one vote to GOP newcomer Joshua Vallario.

The recount request is being made based on a discrepancy in the number of mail-in ballots that were officially added to the vote tally on election night, according to Brennan. While there were 241 mail-in ballots submitted, 238 mail-in ballots were “scanned in” and counted by county election officials, he said, adding that he will request that one provisional ballot also be “double-checked.”

Voters who went to the polls on November 7 had Vallario leading Brennan 895 to 838 votes. But when the 238 mail-in votes were added in later than night, Brennan received the bulk of those votes — 148 to Vallario's 90 — placing the Democrat one vote ahead of his opponent, with 986 to 985 votes. The lead then changed again yesterday, November 13, when 14 of 16 provisional votes were added to the final count, giving Vallario the victory by a one-vote margin — 993 to 992.

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 “My campaign staff worked really hard, and I owe it to my supporters to follow the process to the end,” said Brennan, who is seeking election to his second three-year term. “The town is evenly divided, so whoever wins it will be decided by one or two votes, at the most.”

Brennan said that the Monmouth County Democrats will be filing the court papers today, November 14, seeking the recount on his behalf. Confirmation has not been received on whether that petition has been filed in Superior Court in Freehold. Once a petition is filed and a recount is ordered, it would be conducted by the Monmouth County Board of Elections.

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