Losing Sayreville mayoral candidate demands new election due to irregularities
A defeated Sayreville mayoral candidate is demanding a new election due to what he is calling a series of irregularities in the process.
Sayreville's mayoral election was one of the tightest in the state. Out of over 7,600 votes cast, Republican Arthur Rittenhouse lost to Democratic Councilwoman Victoria Kilpatrick by three votes. A recount Rittenhouse asked for earlier this month increased Kilpatrick's lead to six votes.
But Rittenhouse says that there were many issues with the election. He says that vote-by-mail scanners jammed, there were potential conflicts of interest and that a bag of 41 provisional ballots went uncounted. But those ballots were not secured in the right bags, so a judge ordered they not be tallied.
“Those votes could go either way, but it's a matter of principle at this point in time,” says Rittenhouse
Rittenhouse says that if those ballots are not counted, then a new election should be held.
Kilpatrick’s attorney says that she has been certified as Sayreville’s mayor-elect.
“If we were in the position of Mr. Rittenhouse, we would probably feel the same way. The fact is, however, that every time Mr. Rittenhouse has asked for the ballots to be rechecked or recounted my client's margin of victory has increased,” says attorney Michael Baker.
Baker and Kilpatrick took no position on if the 41 provisional ballots should be counted. Baker says he wants to find out more.
“What was the chain of custody? How were the bags sealed? Were they observed the entire way? Before we make a determination as to what position to take,” Baker says.
Rittenhouse wants Kilpatrick's scheduled Jan. 1 swearing-in to be delayed. And he says that if it means Sayreville is without a mayor until the issue is resolved, so be it.
The delay would also allow for a new election, likely in January. But none of this will happen without a judge signing off on Rittenhouse's legal arguments.
“Do you think Victoria has the argument that you're raining on her parade?” News 12 reporter Alex Zdan asked Rittenhouse.
“It's possible. But it also could be an argument that due to all the irregularities, it could be raining on mine,” Rittenhouse answered.
Republican Mayor Kennedy O'Brien has served five terms as mayor but opted not to run for re-election this year.