Outcome of Gloucester County freeholder race unchanged by recount

Stephanie Salvatore, elections chief, did find mail-in gaffes.
Stephanie Salvatore, elections chief, did find mail-in gaffes.
Posted: December 03, 2010

The outcome of the Gloucester County freeholder race was unchanged by a recount that required checking all paper ballots and voting machines, officials announced Thursday.

"We still won," said Larry Wallace, a Republican.

Wallace and running mate Vince Nestore Jr. were the first Republicans elected to the seven-member freeholder board in 15 years.

Wallace was the top vote-getter, while Nestore beat Democrats Heather Simmons and Robert Zimmerman for the second spot.

The three-day recount, which ended Thursday, produced only a slight change in the final tally, and the discrepancy was blamed on voter error.

Stephanie Salvatore, superintendent of elections, said several voters who submitted mail-in ballots had disregarded instructions to use blue or black ink and instead used red ink, which scanners rejected. Others, she said, put a check mark next to the candidates' names instead of filling in empty circles on the ballot.

Wallace, of Woolwich, gained 11 votes; Zimmerman, a Mantua resident, got eight; and Nestore and Simmons each picked up 12 votes. In the end, Simmons lost by 119 votes - the same number reported shortly after the election. Zimmerman, who trailed Nestore by 165 votes after the election, lost by 169 after the recount.

Simmons, of Glassboro, said she wasn't surprised at the outcome. But she wanted "to put closure" on an election where more than 81,000 ballots were cast. The recount, she said, showed "respect for everyone's votes" by making sure there were no mistakes.

Zimmerman said there was "always a possibility there could be an error somewhere, especially in mail-in ballots."

Nestore, of Deptford, could not be reached for comment.

The Democrats paid roughly $500 for the recount, under the orders of state Superior Court Judge Richard Hoffman, while the county paid the salaries of the election workers.

"I think the election workers do a very good job," Wallace said, after touring the West Deptford warehouse that holds the county's 460 voting machines. "They're very conscientious about all the votes."

Contact staff writer Jan Hefler

at 856-779-3224 or jhefler@phillynews.com.

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