FLEMINGTON, NJ – After a court-ordered recount, the county Board of Elections confirmed Susan Wyatt Peterson as a victor in the Republican primary race for Borough Council.
The recount follows an order issued last week by Superior Court Judge Yolanda Ciccone.
The Republicans had a tight race for the two, three-year seats that were open.
According to Stewart Palilonis, who is chairman of the county board, the recount yielded the same results as previously reported: John Gorman receiving 178 votes and Susan M. Peterson trailing with 172. That makes them the apparent victors, defeating fellow Republicans Abraham Seckler with 137 votes and Alan Brewer, who received 169 votes.
No Democrats filed for the race. Republican Kim Tilly ran unopposed for an unexpired one-year term.
Ciccone issued the order after a challenge was filed by Gorman, Brewer and Tilly. The challenge cited alleged irregularities in the tabulation of votes as reason for the recount, and questioned whether Peterson was an eligible candidate.
After reviewing documentation submitted by Peterson – but not reviewing documentation offered by Brewer – the Board of Elections also upheld Peterson’s residency.
Palilonis said the question of residency involved reviewing documents submitted by Peterson to establish that she moved to the borough in November last year.
The board declined to review documents offered by Brewer that might have clouded Peterson’s eligibility. In an interview, Palilonis said the proper venue for consideration of that material would be in court, not at the Board of Elections.
Although the board was asked to review whether Peterson was eligible to vote, it was not asked by the court to establish whether she is eligible to serve on Borough Council. That’s a separate question that will be decided by the court if it decides to consider a second challenge filed by Gorman, Brewer and Tilly.
Also unknown is the status of the Democrats who received write-in votes. Former Councilman Joey Novick, who received nine votes, has said he won't run, but will "preserve the vacancy" for another Democrat to seek election in November.