Morris County officials are not going to recount rejected provisional ballots that William “Bud” Ravitz believes could reverse his defeat in last month’s Morris Township committee election.
Not without a court order, anyway.
Ravitz has until Thursday to decide whether to seek such an order.
This week his lawyer unsuccessfully pressed state Deputy Attorney General George Cohen to direct county Board of Elections Commissioners to review 42 ballots rejected at the polls because they were not sealed as required by law.
“George said they made the decision, and that they have discretion to accept them or not,” attorney Scott Salmon said on Tuesday.
Ravitz, a Democrat, trailed the committee’s lone Republican, Peter Mancuso, by 15 votes after a recount of other ballots just before Thanksgiving. County officials declined to include the disputed provisional ballots in that recount.
Salmon said Ravitz and Township Democratic leaders now must decide if they are willing to shoulder the attorney fees and court costs of a legal battle. Thursday’s deadline reflects a state law that requires legal challenges to be filed within 10 days of a recount, Salmon explained.
The requirement for sealed provisional ballots generally makes sense, as a protection against electoral fraud, Salmon acknowledged.
But he said has 17 affidavits from voters who contend they followed proper procedures, or instructions from poll workers, and they want their ballots counted. Ravitz calls the situation “Gluegate,” suggesting bad glue on the ballots may have prevented them from sealing properly.
If the outcome holds, Mancuso will serve his seventh term on the Township’s governing body.