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Special election may decide outcome of Ward 4 council seat in Old Bridge because of ballot mixup

OLD BRIDGE – The election for the Ward 4 council seat will be decided in a special election in March, according to a Middlesex County Superior Court decision.

The seat will remain vacant until then.

Middlesex County Superior Court Judge Thomas Daniel McCloskey invalidated the Nov. 2 election results, citing 27 registered voters received the wrong ballot and were placed in Ward 2.

He scheduled a do-over election for March 22 in his decision on Dec. 29.

Seventeen of those 27 voters casted a vote in November. Ward redistricting maps had put voters from the odd numbered homes of Cymbeline Drive in Ward 2 and the even numbered homes in Ward 4, according to court documents.

In the election, Democrat Jill DeCaro, with 1,554 votes, appeared to have defeated Republican incumbent Mark Razzoli, who received 1,543 votes.

Razzoli, who is seeking his second term, filed a verified petition to contest the election results on Dec. 2.

The judge ruled Middlesex County Clerk Nancy Pinkin was not at fault, who relied on the Statewide Voter Registration System.

DeCaro filed an appeal, which is expected to be heard on Jan. 21. She also filed a motion to stay McCloskey’s order.

In the appeal, DeCaro, through her attorney Daniel Antonelli, disputes the court’s reliance on election wards and districts map. She said Razzoli’s “failure to seek a recount, or independently attempt to identify any of the alleged disenfranchised voters or to confirm the number of voters in question made his petition fatal upon filing.”

Razzoli was not able to be reached for a comment before press time.

In the meantime, DeCaro is continuing to serve as a board member for the Old Bridge Board of Education (BOE), which reorganized on Jan. 6.

Township Council

While Ward 4 is still pending, the Township Council reorganized on Jan. 4 with the other wards.

Kevin J. Garcia was sworn in to his first term as Ward 1 councilman; Erik DePalma was sworn in to his first full term as Ward 2 councilman after serving an unexpired term; Kiran Desai was sworn in to his first term as Ward 3 councilman; Anthony “Tony” Paskitti was sworn in to his second term as Ward 5 councilman; and John Murphy was sworn in to his second term as Ward 6 councilman.

Councilwoman-at-Large Mary Sohor remains the council president for 2022.

Old Bridge Board of Education

The Old Bridge BOE reorganized with new leadership. Frank Weber was sworn in as board president and Lisa Lent was sworn in as board vice president.

Lent was sworn in to her second term; and Leonardo Marchetta and Jay D. Slade were sworn in to their first terms on the board.

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