Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Holiday Delays Recount in 38th Dist

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Holiday Delays Recount in 38th Dist

Article excerpt

The recount of a close race for an Assembly seat in the 38th District could take a few days and likely will not be completed until early December, a Bergen County elections official said.

County Board of Elections Chairwoman Eileen DeBari said the recount will not start until after the Thanksgiving holiday weekend and scheduling issues could push it into the first week of December.

If the recount involves checking all the voting machine results, the process could take two to three days, DeBari said on Friday.

The official results of the Nov. 5 election have Assemblyman Tim Eustace, D-Maywood, winning by 54 votes over his closest GOP challenger, Rochelle Park Mayor Joseph Scarpa.

Scarpa last week requested the recount of the nearly 52,000 votes cast in the district, which includes 12 central Bergen County towns plus Hawthorne in Passaic County.

W. Timothy Howes, a Raritan attorney representing Scarpa, said the thin margin and a large number of absentee and provisional ballots prompted the decision to seek a recount.

"We have other concerns that I'm not ready to talk about yet," he added.

State election law requires the candidate seeking the recount to place a deposit of no more than $25 per election district to be counted. If all 147 districts are recounted, that would mean a maximum deposit of $3,675.

Howes said the next step would be for the judges in each county to order a date for a recount.

DeBari said if the recount involves the voting machines, elections officials would go to a warehouse in Carlstadt where the machines are stored.

Typically there are two machines per district, she said. Officials would activate those machines and obtain the tally strips, which display how many voters cast ballots on that machine and the totals for each candidate.

The next step would take place at the Election Board offices in Hackensack, where officials would check by hand all of the approximately 2,500 absentee or mail-in ballots that were cast in the district. …

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