Passaic County assignment judge Ernest Caposela on Wednesday morning ordered a new election to be held on November 3 for the 3rd Ward City Council seat.
Caposela will restrict the ballot to the five candidates – William McKoy, Alex Mendez, Chauncey Brown, Robyn Spencer, and Sharrieff Bugg — that ran in the May municipal election. This means the candidates do not have to go through the process of collecting signatures to run for the 3rd Ward seat.
McKoy, who lost in May, challenged the outcome of the election citing widespread irregularities and voter fraud. His attorney, Scott Salmon, convinced Caposela in June to block Mendez from taking office on July 1.
Mendez has been charged with election and voter fraud in the May election. That case is still pending.
Salmon asked to have an independent monitor for the 3rd Ward race at the Passaic County Board of Elections.
Deputy attorney general George N. Cohen pushed back. He said maybe the campaigns should have monitors in their offices to make sure they are not harvesting mail-in ballots. He suggested there were no issue at the Board of Elections.
“The board made a lot of its decisions based on innuendos and hearsay,” added Mendez’s attorney Gregg Paster.
Paster opposed having monitors in campaign offices.
Salmon appeared to agree with Paster. He said the Board of Election rejected a lot of mail-in ballots.
The judge said he’s not appointing a monitor.
Caposela’s decision to invalidate the election results means the 3rd Ward vacancy can be filled by the City Council.
“It’s up to the council,” said Caposela. “They’d have to find someone who is not going to run.”
Caposela said the appointment should not be a family member, relative, or a campaign worker of any of the candidates.
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