Howes & Howes, Attorneys at Law

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Election Law Success Stories

While making every vote count and stopping voter fraud are very important policies in America, winning an election is also very important to the candidate and his or her political party.  On rare occasions, winning the election also involves winning a court case.  In those rare cases, you need an election law attorney who is not only experienced, but also has a track record of success.  This article sets forth some of our success stories.

Candidate substitution, Sayreville, Hudson County (2010) One of the Sayreville GOP candidates for borough council withdrew from the election for personal reasons after the ballot had been designed and printed.  We represented the Sayreville GOP and obtained a court order allowing a new candidate on the ballot, and compelling the County Clerk to re-print the ballot to show the new candidate, and ordering the Board of Elections to re-tool the voting machines to reflect the new ballot.

Candidate disqualification, Jersey City, Hudson County (2009) Our client was a candidate for City Council in Ward “F” of Jersey City.  After he qualified for the run-off election, one of his defeated opponents sued him and the city clerk, claiming that he was not a resident of Ward “F”.  The Superior Court held a hearing and ruled in our client’s favor.

Ballot Position Litigation, Hillside, Union County (2009) Our client was a candidate for Mayor of Hillside in a “non-partisan” municipal election.  The Township Clerk designed the ballot in a manner that denied our client his constitutional right to be “bracketed” with his town council running mates.  After a contentious hearing, the Superior Court ruled in our favor.  The client, Joe Menza, went on to win the mayor’s race by ten votes.

Petition Challenge, Little Ferry, Bergen County (2008) Our client was a former member of the Borough Council.  Once a Democrat, she petitioned to run as an independent.  The local machine tried to foil her by filing a petition challenge.  A hearing was held before a special hearing officer, who, after hearling testimony and legal argument, allowed our client on the ballot.

Election Recount, Matawan, Monmouth County (2007) Our client was behind by one vote on Election Day.  He filed for a recount.  At the recount, he gained one vote, producing a tie.  The court ordered a new election, which our client won.

Ballot Position Challenge, Hunterdon County (2007) Our clients were candidates for the Republican nomination for freeholder.  The county clerk proposed a ballot for the primary election that, if it had been used, would not have allowed our candidates to affiliate with candidates for state and municipal offices.  We challenged the Clerk’s proposed ballot in court and prevailed.  Our clients went on to win both the primary and the general election.

Election Challenge, Elizabeth School Board Election (2007) Our client was one of the victors in the school board election.  One of the losing candidates filed an election challenge, alleging that five absentee voters voted illegally.  We produced affidavits from the voters and defeated the challenge.

Election Recount/Challenge, Flemington Borough, Hunterdon County (2006): Our client was a borough council candidate.  She was one vote behind when the votes were counted on election day.  Howes & Howes represented her at the recount, we discovered that there were five disputed provisional ballots that may have been for our client.  Therefore, we filed a court challenge to the election.  At the conclusion of the one-day trial, the court threw out the original election results, and ordered a new election. 

Voter fraud challenge, United States Senate Race, Passaic County (2006): Our client was the Republican nominee for one of New Jersey’s United States Senate seats.  Early in the day, voters reported to our headquarters that they were trying to vote for the Republican candidates, but that the machines were showing votes for the opponent.  We determined that the poll workers were “pre-voting” the machines.  Our team took affidavits from the voters and alerted the U.S. Attorney and the N.J. Attorney General.  Election monitors were sent to the polling places to deter ongoing fraud.

Election Intimidation Litigation, Jersey City Mayor’s Race, Hudson County (2004): Our client was a candidate for mayor of one of New Jersey’s largest cities in a non-partisan race.  Our challengers reported that one of the opposition’s challengers was intimidating poll workers and voters.  We prepared affidavits and took them before a Superior Court Judge, who held that the offending challenger was illegally intimidating voters, and barred him from all polling places in the city for the remainder of the day.

Petition Challenge, Bergen County Clerk/Freeholder Race (2004): A slate of purported independent candidates filed nominating petitions to run under the slogan “Pro-Life Conservative”.  Our clients were a slate of Republican candidates who believed that the petitions were (1) fraudulent and (2) filed by the Democrats in order to syphon off conservative Republican votes.  A special master held a fact-finding hearing, the the case proceeded to court.  We demanded that the candidates themselves appear in court.  The court granted our request, and the petitions were then withdrawn.  As a result two of the three candidates won their races.

Petition Challenge, 36th Legislative District, Passaic County (2003): Our client was an independent candidate for the State Assembly.  He had submitted a perfectly legal and adequate nominating petition.  However, one of the major party candidates challenged the validity of the petition, and our client’s right to be on the ballot.  After a full day hearing, the Administrative Law Judge ruled that our client had submitted more than enough valid signatures, and was entitled to be on the ballot.

Election Day Litigation, United States Senate Race (2002): Our client was the Republican nominee for one of New Jersey’s United States Senate seats.  Early on Election Day, there was an application to keep the polling places open past the legally mandated closing hour.  The application was made in a county controlled by the opposing party to keep the polling places open late in a city in which the opposing party was strong and our candidate weak.  Our team submitted legal papers and the court correctly ruled that the polls should close at 8:00 pm.  The opposition appealed.  We prepared papers for the appellate division in less than two hours.  The Appellate Division upheld the trial court’s ruling.

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