KIYC: New Brunswick school board election questioned

Did political officials and school administrators in New Brunswick improperly influence the outcome of January's historic school election? Some community activists think so, and a

Did political officials and school administrators in New Brunswick improperly influence the outcome of January's historic school election? Some community activists think so, and a Kane In Your Corner investigation finds several irregularities in the way the election was conducted.

Did political officials and school administrators in New Brunswick improperly influence the outcome of January's historic school election? Some community activists think so, and a Kane In Your Corner investigation finds several irregularities in the way the election was conducted. (4/9/13)

NEW BRUNSWICK - Did political officials and school administrators in New Brunswick improperly influence the outcome of January's historic school election? Some community activists think so, and a Kane In Your Corner investigation finds several irregularities in the way the election was conducted.

New Brunswick's school board was appointed until voters won a referendum last year giving them the choice. But January's special election was won by candidates backed by the administration, which had opposed a vote. Cedrick Goodman, one of the losing candidates, says election irregularities "placed the establishment at a huge advantage."

For one thing, New Brunswick's school board voted on Dec. 18 to hold the election 41 days later. State election law calls for 60 days notice in the event of a special election. "We weren't able to campaign long enough to get the word out," Goodman says.

School board attorney George Hendricks claims the law may not apply in cases where a school board is switching from appointed to elected, but he was unable to point to a statute that clearly supports his position.

Other irregularities include the legal notice of the election published in local newspapers. It was headlined as a notice of a "special school board meeting". Only the fine print underneath mentioned a special election.

"I would say that was for the purpose of minimizing voter turnout," says Charlie Kratovil, a community activist who runs a website called New Brunswick Today. "It basically made it so they were able to get their candidates to win."

Kratovil also complains the winning candidates were given three "extra" days to submit their nominating petitions because the forms, printed by the Middlesex County clerk, said the deadline was Dec. 21, instead of the actual deadline of Dec. 24.

"The entire city was led to believe that the deadline was one day while a select group of people were able to find out that it wasn't that day," Kratovil complains.

Hendricks repeatedly insisted the forms were correct, even after News 12 New Jersey's Walt Kane informed him he'd obtained copies and verified the mistake. Middlesex County Clerk Elaine Flynn took the blame for the mistake, saying the nominating deadline fell over a weekend, and someone in her office was confused about how to handle that.

Like Hendricks, Flynn insists the irregularities didn't matter because the final vote was not close. "The voters were given a choice, the voters made the choice, and perhaps (the losers) are not happy with the choice," she said.

Opponents say that's not the point. "They probably would have won if they hadn't cheated," Kratovil acknowledges. "But they cheated."
 

advertisement | advertise on News 12

Trending Video

Here is the latest weather forecast in your 1 Westchester Weather Forecast
Three men are wanted for the brutal beating 2 VIDEO: 83-year-old man attacked, robbed in the Bronx
News 12 the Bronx hit the streets to 3 Word on the Street: Paying for reserved parking
4 New Jersey Sportscast, March 28
VIDEO: Defense closing arguments in Mall at Short 5 VIDEO: Defense closing arguments in Mall at Short Hills murder trial

advertisement | advertise on News 12

Features

It's good to know you have Walt Kane Kane in Your Corner

It's good to know you have Walt Kane in your corner.

News 12 takes a look at the hottest Tech Check

Eric Landskroner has a look at the latest gadgets and biggest stories in tech.

News 12 On the Scene

Check out these exclusive videos from New Jersey celebs!

Sorry to interrupt...

Your first 5 are free

Access to News12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Time Warner® and Service Electric℠ video customers.

Please enjoy 5 complimentary views to articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.

LOGIN SUBSCRIBE