Passaic County assignment judge Ernest Caposela ordered a recount of vote tallies in the Paterson school board election on Friday.
Caposela’s order anticipates the recount to be completed and the new tallies announced on Tuesday.
School board candidate Dania Martinez had sued for the recount and recheck last Wednesday after losing by just eight votes.
Martinez is trailing incumbent Emanuel Capers in the seven-person race. Three school board seats were up for grabs in the November race. Top three contenders, out of the seven people, get seats on the Board of Education.
Capers finished third place.
Martinez had been behind Capers by more than 115 votes on election night; however, she closed the gap after the mail-in and provisional ballots were counted.
“We ran an honest campaign,” said Capers. “We’re not backing down from a recount.”
Capers suggested there were “fraudulent stuff” that took place as it relates to a large number of mail-in ballots that were cast in the election.
Martinez was the biggest beneficiary of mail-in votes. She had 992 mail-in ballots, according to official election results. Her running mate Jeyss Abreu received the second biggest mail-in vote count with 796 ballots.
“We didn’t pay anybody for vote by mails,” stated Capers.
Capers said law enforcement officials need to investigate the use of mail-in ballots in Paterson elections.
“It’s killing our election and our democracy. It’s hurting our election process here,” said Capers. His campaign has sent a letter to the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office to look into mail-in voting, he said.
Martinez did not respond to a call for comment on Monday morning.
Martinez has to pay $1,836 for the recount and recheck, according to the order issued by the Caposela (pictured). This amount does not include legal expenses for filing the suit.
Besides Capers, other winners in the race were former school board members Vincent Arrington and Corey Teague.