NJ judge orders recount in Trenton City Council runoff won by 1 vote
TRENTON — A "hand-to-eye" count of ballots in a runoff election that was won by a single vote was not unexpected by the winner who hopes this will put the troubled 2022 general election in the rearview mirror.
After an Election Day vote was overshadowed by problems with Mercer County voting machines, a judge ordered a runoff election in Trenton's North Ward between Democrat Algernon Ward and Republican Jennifer Williams. Despite Ward filing for a recount after the election was certified, Williams was sworn into office.
NJ Globe first reported that Superior Court Judge William Anklowitz ordered a "hand-to-eye" recount of the runoff, which will start on Friday.
Mercer County Superintendent of Elections Nathaniel Walker told New Jersey 101.5 the recount will start at 9 a.m. Friday at the Superintendent of Elections warehouse in Hamilton. It will continue Saturday at the Board of Elections office in Lawrenceville.
"We did expect that to occur it being as close as it is and we're looking forward to hopefully putting this issue to rest on Saturday, maintaining our lead, and continually serving the residents of the North Ward and the rest of the city," Williams told New Jersey 101.5.
The candidates and members of the Board of Elections will be allowed to look at the ballots, the registry books, examine the machines and their repair records and other parts of the voting process before or after the count. They may also observe the recount.
Solving Mercer County's voting issues
Williams is the first transgender person to be elected to Trenton City Council. She believes the recount will be the first step in restoring confidence in Mercer County's voting process.
"I think we really need to have a serious conversation about how elections are being conducted in the future and make sure that there are redundancies already ahead of time," Williams said. "We also want to make sure that there's full transparency and that the voters and our county and across the state can be confident that when elections occur that it's a good clean election so we don't have a lot of crazy conspiracy theories. We need to stop that."
Williams has enjoyed her first 11 days on the City Council and said her first two meetings have been "quick and efficient" with none of the rancor that came to define the previous council.
"I think people were very, very much glad to see that there's no yelling, there's no screaming. There's no nasty comments towards anyone. And we're getting the people's business done," Williams said.
Four of the seven seats on the city council are filled, which is enough to make a quorum. A runoff election on Jan. 24 between the at-large candidates will fill the remaining seats.