TRENTON — The run-on run-off in the Capital City continues.
Friday morning, Judge Robert Lougy released an opinion siding with the runners-up for City Council At-Large who argued that the city should hold a run-off election for the at-large seats.
They successfully contended that Trenton City Clerk Brandon Garcia improperly calculated a majority for the three open at-large council seats.
Judge Lougy stated that the run-off for Trenton’s North and South wards would also need to be shifted to accommodate the addition of the at-large run-off. The run-off is now planned for January 24, having been delayed from December 6 to December 13 by an executive order from the Governor.
In a hearing held on Friday afternoon, the decision to relocate the North and Southward runoffs was questioned. Voting has already begun for these contests, as mail-in ballots are currently in the hands of voters.
Mercer County Clerk Paula Sollami-Covello and her colleagues scrambled to fulfill the state-mandated deadline of Monday, November 28 for the printing of run-off ballots. The legal challenge was also filed on Monday.
Sollami-Covello announced Friday evening that the county has halted preparations for the Dec. 13 run-offs until a hearing scheduled for Sunday at which the judge and the state will decide whether or not the ward elections will be rescheduled.
The City Clerk must now conduct a ballot position drawing for the top six candidates at-large.
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The top six candidates from the election on November 8 will now compete again for the three available seats.
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Yazminelly Gonzalez, Crystal Feliciano, Jasi Edwards, Alex Bethea, Taiwanda Terry-Wilson, and Kadja Manuel will all make a second attempt in the new year to persuade voters that they are the best candidate for the city council.
Manuel, who submitted the lawsuit that led Judge Lougy to order the re-election, stated, “This is monumental for the campaign, but much more so for the citizens of Trenton.
It demonstrates to them that there are genuine advocates in Trenton who are prepared to battle for them even when it is controversial. Trentonians will no longer be at risk of losing their voting rights because we took action and united on the basis of principle.