Recount upholds Monroe Twp. vote

Monroe Township Councilman Ron Garbowski, left, reviews provisional ballots at a Democratic primary recount Wednesday morning. The two-term councilman lost the June 3 election to opponent Bob Heffner by five, not six, votes.
Monroe Township Councilman Ron Garbowski, left, reviews provisional ballots at a Democratic primary recount Wednesday morning. The two-term councilman lost the June 3 election to opponent Bob Heffner by five, not six, votes.
Posted: June 27, 2014

A recount Wednesday morning in the Monroe Township Democratic primary largely affirmed the results, but left open the possibility of further challenges.

During the recount of more than 600 mail-in and 10 provisional ballots at county election offices in West Deptford, Councilman Ron Garbowski's loss to newcomer Bob Heffner was reduced from six votes to five. Garbowski sought the recount after the June 3 primary, and Superior Court Judge Kevin T. Smith ordered it last week.

Although Garbowski's additional vote still left him and his council running mates, Paul Craig and Brent Salvadori, off the November ballot, he said he was considering requesting a hand count of the mail-in ballots.

Garbowski and Councilman Rich DiLucia, a supporter, said three ballots in Garbowski's favor were likely rejected because voters had selected all the candidates before crossing off Heffner and his running mates.

"I think, if I take it back to the judge, he'll award me those votes," Garbowski said. "I have to discuss it."

DiLucia added: "As close as it is . . . it's enough to have a hand recount."

Chris Powell, chairman of the county Board of Elections, said a manual recount would have to be court-ordered.

Three at-large seats are open on the seven-member council, as is the mayor's job. The Garbowski slate's mayoral candidate, Councilman Bill Sebastian Jr., lost to Councilman Daniel Teefy, Heffner's running mate. Teefy's slate also includes Bart McIlvaine and Cody Miller.

Teefy and Heffner, both at the recount, were also considering a legal challenge, saying they questioned the validity of some mail-in ballots.

"We've had a lot of calls about ballots not being sealed," Teefy said. "People being coerced into voting a certain way."

The two, with campaign manager Carole Lackore, reviewed mail-in documentation after the recount. Teefy said any action would likely depend on Garbowski's next step.

"If they want to move forward," Teefy said, "we're going to move forward."


afichera@philly.com

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@AJFichera

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