Democrats Prevail in Springfield Recount Lawsuit
In judge's ruling on case, Margaret Bandrowski wins election by three votes.
The lawsuit over Springfield's 2012 election has ended with Democratic candidate Margaret Bandrowski for Township Committee holding her seat by a three-vote margin.
James Foerst, the attorney for Republican candidate Jerry Fernandez, argued that because of the extraordinary circumstances surrounding the election—namely the consequences of tropical storm sandy—the results were unrepresentative of the will of the people.
"There was a superstorm," he said during the case. "It was unprecedented. It's clear we have a unique circumstance."
After alleging that people were voting illegally, he said the election in Springfield had either an "incorrect" or "indeterminate" vote.
Attorney Bob Renauld, representing Bandrowski, argued against the case on several grounds, but particularly chafed against Foerst's characterization of the election as a miscarriage of electoral intent.
"He's here for a defeated candidate who wants an office he wasn't elected to," Renauld said.
While Foerst was able to reduce Bandrowski's already slim margin of victory from four to three, he ultimately could not persuade Union County Judge Lisa Chrystal to order a second election. One vote previously thrown out for having non-matching signatures was reinstated after testimony proved that the voter's signature changed because she suffered from the degenerative medical condition Multiple sclerosis. His arguments concerning non-residents voting illegally in Springfield were not successful, however.
Speaking after the verdict was read on Thursday, Jan. 31, Fernandez said that while he would not seek to appeal the verdict he believed the court case was necessary.
"Im ok with it," Fernandez told Patch. "I think that under the circumstance of the elction, it had to be done. At the end the difference turned out to be only three votes. We owed it to both sides to be done correctly."
Bandrowski said she was happy the court action was over.
"I am very, very relieved and very exhausted," Bandrowski told Patch. "The minute the judge gave the ruling I realized I was holding my breath.