RECOUNT MAKES IT OFFICIAL: FERNANDES
By LINDA G. RASTELLI
On month after the polls closed, Maria Fernandes is still Sea Bright’s mayor-elect.
A recount of the results this morning yielded no change in outcome, an official at the Monmouth County Clerk’s office tells redbankgreen.
The final tally was 276 for Fernandes to 273 for incumbent Mayor Jo-Ann Kalaka-Adams, according to Leah Falk, chair of the county board of elections. Each candidate picked up two votes in the hand-recount, Falk said.
“I’m glad it’s over,” Fernandes said. “I didn’t expect the count to change, but you never know. Now we can move forward and conduct the business of government. We have a lot of work to do.”
Kalaka-Adams, a Republican now completing her first term, asked for today’s recount last week after weeks of avoiding comment on the initial results. She didn’t appear at the most recent borough council meeting on Nov. 19. Calls by redbankgreen to Kalaka-Adams were not returned.
“No one’s seen Jo-Ann since the election,” says Fernandes.
Kalaka-Adams, a political newcomer who is serving her first term as mayor, did attend the Matawan mayoral recount last week, Fernandes commented, and came out Sunday in the freezing rain to the borough’s childrens holiday party, but not to the last council meeting, or this mornings recount.
The county workers printed out the tape from the voting machine and compared it to last months printout, and they were identical, said Leah Falk, chair of the board of elections. Then they hand-counted the provisional and absentee ballots that had been previously machine-counted, Falk explained.
The machine did not pick up the votes because they had been checked, instead of blacked into the ovals on the ballots, as the directions request, Falk said. “Sometimes, the machine catches a check mark, but sometimes it doesn’t,” she said. This only applies to mail-in votes.
The borough council is scheduled to meet tonight at 7p.