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Taxpayers lose in District 3 special election, Levinson says

Taxpayers lose in District 3 special election, Levinson says

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Members of the National Guard helped vetted 9,000 provisional ballots for the November general election. They delivered the ballots to the Atlantic County Board of Elections offices so the votes can be counted.

Republican Atlantic County Executive Dennis Levinson said Wednesday the costs of a new election for District 3 county commissioner should not be borne by county taxpayers.

On Monday, Superior Court Judge Joseph Marczyk said 328 voters in the district — which includes parts of Hamilton and Egg Harbor townships — were disenfranchised because county Clerk Ed McGettigan sent them incorrect ballots that did not include the District 3 race but should have.

Since the margin of victory for Democrat Thelma Witherspoon, of Hamilton Township, over Republican Andrew Parker, of Egg Harbor Township, was 286 votes, Marczyk decertified her win and ruled a new election must be held.

Levinson said the state has oversight of the 21 county clerks and the county clerks oversee preparing and mailing out the ballots, suggesting the state should pay for the new election.

“Atlantic County voters exercised their right and did as they were instructed. Through no fault of their own, the District 3 election was flawed,” Levinson said. “You may disagree about whether this was an error of the state or the county clerk, but other than those two parties, does anyone believe the burden should fall on the county taxpayers? They are the true victims in this unfortunate situation.”

McGettigan, a Democrat, has said the mistake happened because the State Voter Registration System provided his office incorrect information.

“The Democratic county clerk blames the Democratic-run state government for providing bad data while the state says the clerk should have done a thorough check of ballots rather than only a spot check,” Levinson said. “There’s a lot of finger pointing, but no one stepping up to accept responsibility.”

He said the mistake could end up costing taxpayers an estimated $100,000.

Contact: 609-272-7219

Twitter @MichelleBPost

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A Superior Court judge on Monday revoked the election of Democrat Thelma Witherspoon as District 3 Atlantic County Commissioner and ordered a new election be held to fill the position because the county clerk sent 554 voters the wrong vote-by-mail ballots — affecting only the District 3 race.

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