FREEHOLD-Republican Councilman-elect Michael Whelan increased his lead over incumbent Democratic Councilman Michael DuPont after the ballots were recounted this morning by the Monmouth County Board of Elections. Whelan now leads DuPont by 3 votes, a net pick up of one vote from the unofficial count on November 9 when the provisional ballots were counted by the Board.
All four candidates for the two Red Bank Council seats picked up votes as a result of the hand counting of Vote-By-Mail and Provisional Ballots, which prior to today have been tabulated electronically by a scanner. The results, which are expected to be certified my Monmouth County Clerk Christine Giordano Hanlon today are: Michael Ballard- 937, Michael Dupont 968, Mark Taylor 1038, Michael Whelan,971. Republicans Taylor and Whelan have thus far maintained their victory and are on track to join Republican Councilwomen Cindy Burnham and Linda Schwabenbauer in partisan control of Red Bank’s local government for the first time in two decades.
Leah Falk, Chairwoman of the Election Commissioners, explained that the scanners will sometimes not count votes with boxes that have not been filled in completely, but that upon hand examination, the Commissioners can determine the intent of the voter who may have checked a box on a ballot but not filled it in fully. That is what happened today as Ballard and Dupont picked up three votes each, Taylor picked up five and Whelan increased his total vote count by four.
DuPont was not present for the recount. He was represented by attorney Rajvir S. Goomer of Hoagland Longo, New Brunswick.
Goomer said that he was satisfied that the recount and recheck of the votes was conducted properly. He said a decision on whether or not to contest the election has yet to be determined. A contest would include re-examining VBM and provisional ballots that were disqualified by the Board of Election Commissioners. A contest must be filed within 10 days of an election being certified and no later than December 3.
Robin Major, Administrator of the Board of Elections told MMM earlier this week that there are 11 VBM ballots and 6 provisional ballots that were disqualified.
Red Bank Republican Chairman Sean DiSomma said, “The votes have now been counted four times and each time Mr. Whelan has won. Mr. DuPont has a clear choic. He can either bow out gracefully and respect the will of the voters and help Taylor and Whelan move Red Bank forward or he can challenge the election and once again be known as a crybaby who doesn’t know when to quit.
“We look forward to a unity breakfast over the next month or so and we look forward to moving on and leading Red Bank in a bi-partisan fashion.”