Call for new elections in Trenton, NJ

Even though Mercer County election officials say all votes have now been counted and local election results will be confirmed before the Nov. 26 deadline, a group of Trenton city council candidates want a complete realignment.

Trenton City Council President Kathy McBride blew up what she described as a “failed election”. McBride was accompanied in a video posted to Facebook by council candidates Alex Bethea, Waldemar Ronquillo, Divine Allah and mayoral candidate Cherie Garrette.

McBride is asking the Murphy administration to order another election.

Garrette called for the December 16 snap election to be held “to have a free and fair election by allowing all candidates to get back on the ballot and to be overseen and monitored by officials outside of Mercer County.” The group says a runoff “should be off the table.”

All of the new voting machines purchased by Mercer County could not read pre-printed ballots on Election Day. All ballots must be collected by hand and scanned by machines in the district election offices.

On Monday, Superintendent of Elections Nathaniel Walker said all votes, including provisional and mail-in ballots, had been counted and final votes would be authenticated by his office.

Council candidate Divine Allah, who posted the video on her Facebook page, questioned the findings. She urged state and federal officials to investigate and “take a closer look at how the Election Commissioner handled this election, how the Election Committee handled this election, and the County Clerk’s Office. Something has to be done.”

All candidates say Walker failed Trenton voters. They also claimed ballots had been thrown in the trash and residents were unaware of the redistribution and change of polling stations, further compounding voter disenfranchisement.

Despite the candidates’ harsh rhetoric, it’s unclear if they hired a lawyer to formally challenge the election results. Aside from the video’s release, no one answered questions from reporters, according to The Trentonian.

Mayor Reed Gusciora, who has been at odds with McBride and members of the council for years, has dismissed calls for a new election. He told The Trentonian it was further evidence of her disability. The dominant message from voters was rejection of their inability to move the city forward,” Gusciora said.

Eric Scott is Senior Political Director and Moderator for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at [email protected]

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