Hand recount adds one vote so far to Democrat's lead in 2nd District Assembly race

Posted: Monday, December 2, 2013 2:00 pm

MAYS LANDING – A recount of three towns has widened the unofficial gap between Democratic Mayor Vince Mazzeo and Republican Assemblyman John Amodeo by one vote.

Mazzeo now unofficially leads by 39 votes after more than 101,000 votes were cast in the 2nd Legislative District Assembly race.

Republican Assemblyman Chris Brown, who won the other district Assembly seat, also picked up two votes and Democratic Longport Mayor Nick Russo also got one.

The Atlantic County Board of Elections started hand-recounting the thousands of vote-by-mail and provisional ballots cast in the 2nd Legislative District and Northfield races.

The board began the recount shortly after 10 a.m. in the Old Courthouse in Mays Landing. It is not clear when it will finish. The board addressed the smaller Northfield contest first.

There, Nick Piergiovanni remained a one-vote winner for an unexpired seat on Northfield’s governing body.

Piergiovanni, a Republican, beat David Devine, a Democrat, 639-638.

The recount started with Republicans and Democrats circling around the wooden table in Courtroom 2 and scrutinizing the individual ballots cast in Northfield.

It was unclear exactly how many ballots will be counted in the legislative race. The ballots have been sealed since the recount was ordered.

The board recounted the votes by having election staffers bring out the ballots, sealed in white cardboard boxes with clear packing tape.

Once unsealed, board chair Paula Dunn opened manila envelopes for the election districts, pulled out the sheaf of papers and thumbed through the vote-by-mail and provisional ballots.

Dunn, a Democrat, called out the name of who received a vote, and board Secretary, Mary Alyse Strother, a Republican, wrote it down.

Republicans and Democrats sitting at the table then looked at the ballot to verify the vote.

The recount follows a recheck of the voting machines last week in the county’s Northfield warehouse that left the results unchanged.

In the legislative race, the first count showed Democratic Northfield Mayor Vince Mazzeo edged out three-term incumbent Republican Assemblyman John Amodeo by 38 votes out of more than 101,000 votes cast.

The first count in the race for an unexpired seat in Northfield showed that Republican Nick Piergiovanni beat Democrat David Devine by all of one vote.

Northfield Republicans thanked the board as their count ended.

“Now we have to get on to the big job,” Dunn said.

“You want to stay and help us?” joked board member Robert Johnson.

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