Morris County: Provisional ballots will be counted Nov. 10 in close Morris Township race

Republican Louise Johnson holds a 17-vote lead over Democratic incumbent Jeff Grayzel. Provisional ballots will be counted on Monday. Montage by Kevin Coughlin
Republican Louise Johnson holds a 17-vote lead over Democratic incumbent Jeff Grayzel. Provisional ballots will be counted on Monday. Montage by Kevin Coughlin
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Republican Louise Wilson holds a 17-vote lead over Democratic incumbent Jeff Grayzel. Provisional ballots will be counted on Monday. Montage by Kevin Coughlin
Republican Louise Johnson holds a 17-vote lead over Democratic incumbent Jeff Grayzel. Provisional ballots will be counted on Monday. Montage by Kevin Coughlin

Who won Tuesday’s Morris Township Committee election?

A more definitive answer may be coming on Monday, Nov. 10, 2014, when Morris County election officials plan to count provisional ballots.

Right now, Republican newcomer Louise Johnson holds a 17-vote lead over incumbent Democrat Jeff Grayzel, according to figures from the office of Morris County Clerk Ann Grossi.

Grayzel said he lost the voting machine tally by 11 votes, and trailed among mailed-in ballots by another six votes.

But 40 provisional ballots also were cast in Morris Township.  County officials now must determine the validity of those ballots, which were among 540 provisional votes across Morris County.

Those provisional ballots that are deemed legitimate will be opened in Morristown on Monday and counted, said Dale Kramer, administrator of the county board of elections.

That might not be the end of it, however.

“At this point, we do not know the best course of action, but a recount request is a possibility,” Grayzel said via email.

“I don’t know what there would be to recount other than the provisionals,” Johnson said, also via email. “The polls are closed and the mail-ins have been fully counted.”

‘DEJA VU ALL OVER AGAIN’?

Provisional ballots are cast when there is a discrepancy at the polling place.  If someone’s residency or voter registration is in question, the person submits a sealed ballot. The disputed issue will be resolved–and the vote may be counted–only for close races where the vote might affect the outcome.

On election night, leaders of the county GOP and Democratic organizations both predicted a recount is likely in the Johnson-Grayzel race.

Any request to recount machine- or absentee ballots must be made to Superior Court Assignment Judge Thomas Weisenbeck, Kramer said.

A recount would be “deja vu all over again,” Grayzel said, noting that his first election to the committee followed a recount in 2006.  The committee’s lone Democrat was seeking his third term.

During the campaign, Johnson stressed her business background with a Fortune 500 company, and Republicans tried to blame Grayzel for driving Honeywell’s corporate headquarters from the township. Grayzel countered that the GOP majority should have been more proactive in addressing residents’ concerns.

Republican incumbent Dan Caffrey won re-election this week to his third three-year term, as top vote-getter in a four-person race for two seats. Cathy Wilson, a Democrat, finished fourth. It was her second campaign for the committee.

 

 

 

 

Provisional ballots will be counted on Monday, Nov. 10, 2014

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