Winning an election is tough enough, but when your victory is by a slim margin, expect even more challenges. In Dover’s Democratic Primary for the Fourth Ward Board of Alderman, challenger Carlos Valencia beat incumbent Ronald Camacho by 12 votes (following a recount of machine, vote-by-mail, and provisional ballots). Alderman Camacho claimed that the win arose from voter fraud and illegal votes, alleging electioneering at the polls, voting by non-Fourth District residents, and undisclosed assistance to some voters who filled out vote-by-mail and provisional ballots.
After a four-day trial before Morris Superior Court Assignment Judge Stuart Minkowitz, Jardim, Meisner & Susser, P.C.’s election law attorney, Scott Salmon, was able to demonstrate that the election results were valid and should be upheld. No less than 19 witnesses testified.
Judge Minkowitz was convinced that, “[t]here has been no indication throughout the entirety of this trial that any voter was forced to vote or compelled to vote for any particular candidate,” nor had there been any “evidence that there was an effort to fraudulently construct or produce votes.”
Ultimately, Judge Minkowitz invalidated only one vote because the voter didn’t recognize a signature on his vote-by-mail documents, but validated four other voters’ ballots based on their testimony. Judge Minkowitz saw no basis to toss the votes of seven other testifying voters.
Mr. Valencia faces no Republican opposition in the general election, so this primary win will likely turn into a general election win.
Below are two press accounts of this trial. Congratulations to Scott!
The Daily Record
Judge: No fraud in Dover’s 4th Ward primary election; Valencia wins
The New Jersey Globe
No evidence of fraud in Dover, Judge says
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