Duarte Sends out Voting Rights Distress Call from Mendham

MENDHAM TOWNSHIP – Morris County Democrats have sent out the call for help.

“Voting rights are under attack right here in Morris County.”

So says Amalia Duarte, the county’s Democratic party chair, in a Christmas Week message to the party faithful.

The issue revolves around a lawsuit challenging the 2022 municipal election in which Democrat Lauren Spirig won by three votes.

But wait … Republican Tom Baio has refused to accept the results, which have been officially recounted.

He has filed suit, contending that 33 voters did so illegally because they were not genuine residents of the township. In most cases, this has to do with young voters who grew up in the township, but who are now away, perhaps temporarily.

“We need your help to defend against this outrageous legal action and protect voting rights,” Duarte wrote. “Please help by donating to the Mendham Township Democratic Committee today to help us fight back,.”

What’s more, a filing this week on Spirig’s behalf alleges that two presumably Democratic votes were improperly not counted.

Baio wants the court to prevent Spirig from taking the oath of office at the Jan. 5 township committee reorganization meeting and for him to be declared the winner.

When it comes to this case, Stuart Minkowitz, the assignment judge in state Superior Court, Morristown, seems to be a man in a hurry.

He has established a rather accelerated schedule.

All briefs and reply briefs must be filed by Jan. 13, exhibits submitted by Jan. 17, and a trial is set for Jan. 19.

“There shall be no adjournments of the trial date absent extraordinary circumstances,” he said.

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