Former councilman William McKoy, who lost by a razor-thin margin to ex-councilman Alex Mendez, filed for a recount on Friday.
Mendez won the City Council seat by nine votes.
Mendez received 3,769 and McKoy received 3,760 votes, according to official Passaic County election results.
Mendez has been certified as the winner of the November 3 election, says the petition. Election officials finished counting the votes on November 19.
McKoy’s filing states he believes “errors committed by the arbiters of the election process resulted in an inaccurate overall count, which resulted in Mr. Mendez erroneously being declared the winner of the Election.” He claims tabulation errors were committed in the “counting of the votes from each district” in the 3rd Ward.
State law allows any losing candidate to file for a recount within 15 days after an election. Recounts rarely change the outcome of an election.
However, in May, former councilman Shahin Khalique enjoyed an 8-vote lead over his opponent Mohammed Akhtaruzzaman in the 2nd Ward race that was reduced to zero after several recounts. The tie outcome led to a fresh election in which Khalique secured a victory.
Mendez won the 3rd Ward seat in May in an election that was marred by voter fraud. McKoy challenged the outcome citing voter fraud, including criminal charges against Mendez, to obtain an order that barred Mendez from taking office. A judge later ordered a fresh election with the same five candidates.
Some have said McKoy lost the 3rd Ward race both times because of three spoiler candidates, who divided the Black vote. Sharrieff Bugg received 758, Robyn Spencer received 480, and Chauncey Brown received 237 votes in the November 3rd election. All three are Black and likely pulled votes away from McKoy, according to political observers, delivering a defeat to the 20-year veteran of the City Council. Brown, a convicted felon, couldn’t even take office had he won. Mendez was the sole Hispanic candidate in the race.
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