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Somerset County Superior Court judge rejects bid for vote recount for Hillsborough Township Committee’s unexpired seat

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The Hillsborough Township Democratic Organization expressed disappointment over a Somerset County Superior Court judge’s rejection of the organization’s bid for a recount of votes for the unexpired seat for Township Committee that was on the ballot in the general election Nov. 8.

Superior Court Judge Kevin Shanahan ruled Dec. 19 that Hillsborough Democrats had failed to provide sufficient evidence to show that a hand recount would change the results of the election in which Democrat Erynn Murray lost to Republican Robert Britting, who currently serves in the seat, by 46 votes, 7,427 votes to 7,473 votes, according to a press release through the Hillsborough Township Democratic Organization.

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Hillsborough Democratic Chairwoman Michele Kidd said, “Obviously, this is not the outcome we had hoped for. At a time when it is increasingly important to make sure every vote is counted, we believed that a recount in a race with a difference of less than one percent would produce a result in our favor.”

Kidd and Hillsborough Democratic Campaign Chairman Michael Goldberg said in a joint statement that there was no need to pursue the matter further.

“Although Judge Shanahan ruled against a recount, we respect his decision,” Kidd said, “and we honor the election outcome.”

Murray, in a separate statement, thanked everyone who supported her campaign as well the voters who brought her within 46 votes of a victory in her first run for public office.

The Hillsborough Democratic Organization filed a motion in Somerset Superior Court on Nov. 28 for a vote recount.

Somerset County Clerk Steve Peter convened the County’s Board of Canvassers to certify the winners of the general election on Nov. 21. The certification completes the counting of ballots by the Board of Elections, and the final results were submitted to the New Jersey Secretary of State on Nov. 23.

In the motion, the Hillsborough Township Democratic Organization noted two specific items: “one, a voting machine malfunction in District 23 that caused confusion in the voting process and two, a problem collecting data from the early voting machines. Additionally, there were a significant number of provisional ballots cast that needed to be hand counted.”

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