EATONTOWN, NJ –– Former Eatontown Councilwoman Jasmine Story won her lawsuit to be listed on the Primary Ballot as a mayoral candidate. Monmouth County Superior Court Judge Kathleen Sheedy rendered the decision today, saying election law is notdeprive the voters of a choice, which is the essence of a democratic society. Sheedy found the actions of Eatontown Borough Clerk Julie Martin to be “capricious and arbitrary,” in rejecting Story’s candidate petition because it was filed jointly with candidates for council though not meant with ill will.
“This decision is to the benefit of voters everywhere. Were it to have gone the other way, voters would have been denied choice as to the direction they would like our town to take,” said Story.
The lawsuit asked the court to have the defendants “show cause” for denying Story’s petition. Christine Hanlon, Monmouth County Clerk, and Cassandra Achille, Assistant Supervisor for Elections, on whose advice Martin relied were also named as defendants in the complaint.
Story’s candidate petition was joined with fellow Democratic candidates Todd Miller and Angela Brunelli, who are running for Eatontown Borough Council. Previous filings for joint offices in Eatontown, as well as other jurisdictions, historically have been accepted. Story said she had to remove her name from the joint petition in order for the council candidates’ petition to be accepted. The Eatontown Republicans filed in a similar manner, and their joint petition for mayoral and council candidates was also rejected, but they declined joining Story in the lawsuit.
Story had tried to “cure” the rejected petition by getting affidavits from 27 of the 29 signers swearing they fully knew and intended to sign a joint petition for Story for mayor and Miller and Brunelli for council. That petition was rejected by Martin as well. As a result of the lawsuit’s outcome, all three will be running on the Primary Ballot as “Eatontown Democrats”.
Ballot preparation will resume after being temporarily restrained by the lawsuit. The Primary Election takes place on June 7, 2022.