Paterson Top Stories

In Election Eve Court Battle, Judge Decides Against Impounding Absentee Ballots

Photos of protest provided by Pascrell campaign


PATERSON, NJ - Amid a flurry of last-minute mudslinging, a state judge late Monday night overturned the Passaic County Superintendent of Elections’ decision to impound about 2,000 absentee ballots, the majority of them apparently filed in Paterson.

The decision, hailed by Bill Pascrell’s campaign as a major victory, seems to require county election officials to count the ballots Tuesday and to include them in the tallies issued after the polls close.

Sign Up for E-News

“This frivolous legal action at taxpayer expense is the cherry on top of Steve Rothman's entire campaign strategy and tonight's court decision to prevent the Rothman campaign's efforts to suppress the vote in Paterson represents another huge victory,’’ said Pascrell campaign manager Justin Myers.  

Steve Rothman’s campaign had asked that the ballots be impounded and that their counting be delayed over suspicions about the integrity of absentee ballots.  Rothman’s campaign argued that 300 absentee ballots already had been rejected and it raised concerns about what it called an “unorthodox” Paterson storefront operation that had sign saying “Vote By Mail Here” with its windows covered from public view.

The Rothman camp also maintained that 650 letters mailed to newly registered voters in Paterson came back “undeliverable.’’

“The Rothman Campaign wants a fair and transparent campaign, and we wonder why the Pascrell Campaign does not want the same,” said Rothman spokesman Paul Swibinski. 

But Pascrell’s people asserted that the Rothman attempt to impound the absentee ballots was an attempt to suppress the turnout in Paterson and would unfairly target voters from the Silk City. “This is the exact same tactic employed by Republicans in 1981 when they stole the election from Jim Florio,’’ said Pascrell spokesman Sean Darcy.

In a four-page letter announcing his decision on Monday afternoon to impound the absentee ballots, county elections superintendent Robert DeMers Jr. said there had been concerns whether there would be enough time on Tuesday to fully and adequately examine all 2,000 of them. Impounding the ballots, he said, would have no impact on the “essential mechanism of democracy,’’ but would allow time to ensure the ballots are reviewed in a secure manner.

The Pascrell campaign quickly filed a court challenge, setting up an Election Eve hearing that began at 9:30 pm.

As Superior Court Judge Ernest Caposella heard arguments in the case, a crowd of Pascrell supporters protested outside.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


City Council Candidate to Voters: Let Your Voice Be Heard

February 20, 2018

Dear Editor:

It is very important for the citizens of Paterson to participate in local city-wide elections because elected officials can help determine the economic, educational and social well-being of entire communities. For example, two very important tasks of city council members include making laws and allocating money.

Elected officials are the gatekeepers for millions of dollars in ...

Dreams for Service Dog for Autistic Montville Resident Become Reality

February 22, 2018

MONTVILLE, NJ - Faith Stanley, a Towaco resident and a single mother of four boys, sought help for her youngest son, Joey, who is almost three years old and diagnosed with autism. Amazingly enough, Faith found the help she needed!

Due to the generosity and help of so many people, Faith has managed to reach her goal of raising ...

Paterson Hosts Statewide Event as National El Sistema Leader

February 22, 2018

PATERSON—On March 10, nearly 300 students from seven New Jersey immersive ensemble music learning programs will converge in Paterson for the 4th annual Fiddlefest and Falala Festival. A day of music making and a celebration of culture and community for both the students and their families, the festival features the Paterson-based program Paterson Music Project (PMP), in addition to the New ...

How to Talk with Kids About the Florida Shooting

February 15, 2018

The tragedy of the Florida school shooting is devastating, leaving 17 killed and 15 injured. Our children can easily identify with what occurred yesterday. It will be the topic of conversation today in schools everywhere. School administrators are doing all they can to provide support and guidance. The shootings affect children, teachers, and school personnel. The school shooting ...