HOWELL – A Monmouth County judge has ordered election officials to recount ballots from the Howell council race.
Ballots were called for recount after the Democrat challenger and the Republican incumbent were only separated by 320 votes.
Democrat candidate Andre De Garmeaux requested to recount the results of the November general election and was granted approval by State Superior Court Judge Linda Jones.
De Garmeaux was 320 votes behind Councilwoman Evelyn Malsbury-O’Donnell after more than 30,500 ballots were counted. Malsbury-O’Donnell received 15,415 votes in comparison to the 15,095 De Garmeaux received.
According to the lawsuit filed on November 19 seeking the recount, De Garmeaux’s lawyers testified that 317 ballots were rejected and could be enough to impact the results.
According to the Monmouth County Clerk’s Office, Mayor Therea Berger, who was De Garmeaux’s running mate, won re-election by a vote of 16,615 to 14,392 over Republican challenger Suzanne M. Brennan.
Out of 39,289 registered voters, 32,418 ballots were cast in Howell, resulting in an 82.5 percent voter turnout for Howell.
Not only were Howell Township ballots ordered to be recounted, but two other towns in Monmouth County also were called for recounts.
In Eatontown, Democrat candidate Mariel S. Hufnagel and Republican Mark Regan Jr. were only separated by 10 votes for a seat on the borough council. Regan led Hufnagel by 3,228 to 3,218 votes. Democrat Danielle M. Jones appears to have won a seat on the council after garnering the most votes at 3,250.
The municipal Republican Party in Neptune City requested a recount of votes after only nine votes separated the candidates to fill an unexpired term. Democrat John J. Pietrunti led Republican Brian Sullivan by 1,315 to 1,306 votes. Only 15 votes separated candidates for two full-term seats on Neptune City Borough Council. Others that were leading the race included Democrat Pamela Renee with 1,349 votes, Democrat Glen Kocsis with 1,319 votes, Republican Robert R. Burr with 1,304 votes and Republican Michaela O’Brien with 1,262 votes.
It is currently unknown when and how long it will take to recount votes, with the campaigns presently waiting for a date for the recount to be set.