Today’s Asbury Park Press reports that Democrats have dispatched four volunteer lawyers to oversee the handling and counting of an estimated 3,200 provisional ballots cast Tuesday in the Monmouth County Freeholder race.


There’s no official count yet of the ballots, nor of their contents, leaving the matter of who won — Amy Mallet of Fair Haven or John Curley of Middletown — unresolved.

From the Press:

According to unofficial results from the Monmouth County Clerk’s Office, Mallet has 135,688 votes, compared to 135,670 for Curley.

Mike Mangan, spokesman for the county Democrat organization, said he’s confident Mallet’s lead will hold up, in part because tallies of provisional votes “usually break for us.”

Party control of the freeholder board hangs in the balance. A victory by Mallet would give Democrats a majority for the first time in 23 years. Heading into the election, Republicans had a 3-2 majority. Both seats on the ballot are currently held by Republicans. Curley running mate Lillian Burry appears to have retained hers.

To watchdog the process, the Democrats have dispatched four volunteer attorneys to Freehold, Mangan told the Press.

“We just want to make sure everything is done properly,” Mangan said.

Victor Scudiery, the county Democratic party chairman, said the election attorneys were on the scene in part “to make sure there is no hanky-panky.”

Both Scudiery and Mangan said the concerns stem from the Republican-controlled freeholders approving a measure earlier this year taking control of some of the traditional Board of Elections commissioner duties, including hiring authority.

The freeholders moved to consolidate the election board with the county Superintendent of Elections Office. However, the state Attorney General’s Office successfully sued to undo the consolidation, contending that the two offices cannot be merged because state statutes and precedent cases don’t allow it. County government administrators had said an appeal is being prepared.
Information sought

Pat Politano, a consultant for the Democrats, said, “This is a Monmouth County election, not one in Cuba or Florida. The voters have a right to have their votes counted fairly. We have asked that all ballots are stored somewhere and guarded, and that we be allowed to have a witness there when they begin to inventory the ballots. Right now, we are being told the ballots are in a locked room in the superintendent’s office and won’t be inventoried until Monday. But we’d like more information about the process. It shouldn’t be overly complicated. I can understand it will be time-consuming, but we want to be certain that the people with the most votes won the election and that everybody’s vote counted.”

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