The Mess in Mendham


The ongoing election dispute in Mendham Township has found the former governor.

A court filing this week on behalf of Democrat Lauren Spirig alleges that two of Chris Christie’s adult children voted illegally in last month’s election. Christie is a long-time resident of Mendham Township.

The former governor declined comment.

The court battle stems from last fall’s municipal election.

After losing his reelection bid to Spirig by three votes, Republican Thomas Baio filed suit, contending his loss was caused by non-residents voting illegally in the township.

A brief filed this week by Baio’s lawyer, W. Timothy Howes, referred to a “group of nineteen (19) individuals who share four common characteristics. Each was registered to vote at an address in Mendham Township. Each is domiciled somewhere other than Mendham Township. Each is affiliated with the Democratic Party. Each voted by mail-in ballot in the election.”

The brief identified some of the alleged illegal voters as living in Kinnelon, Hamden, Conn, New York, N.Y., Brooklyn, Cardondale, Pa., Knoxville, Tenn. and, in a bit of international intrigue, Milan, Italy.

Spirig filed her reply brief on Wednesday through her attorney, Brett Pugach.

And in a case of “two can play the same game,” the Democrat identified 10 individuals as having voted in the fall election despite not living in the township.

Two of them are the former governor’s adult son and daughter. And all of them, presumably, are registered Republicans.

Aside from the just surfaced connection to Christie, the latest filings change the case’s dynamics.

Originally, Judge Stuart Minkowitz was being asked to decide if a bloc of registered Democrats voted illegally.

Now he is also being asked to decide if a bloc of presumed registered Republicans voted illegally as well.

And given the fact the candidates were separated by three votes, the disqualification of even a small number of voters could impact the outcome.

The case hinges on residency law.

As Howes’ brief puts it:

“As will be argued in this point, voters may have more than one residence, but they can only vote at one residence and there must be objective facts that support a voter’s decision to vote using a particular residence.”

A trial is set for Jan. 19 in state Superior Court, Morristown.

Amid the legal skirmishing, Spirig took the oath last week, cutting (at least for now) the Republicans’ advantage on the committee to 3-2.

This case is only about one suburban town in a state with more than 500 municipalities. However, its impact on how voting is done in New Jersey may reverberate throughout the state.

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One response to “The Mess in Mendham”

  1. IIRC at least one if not both of the former Governor’s children are college-age….most college students retain their parent’s address as their “home of record” as do active-duty military members (who rarely vote where they are stationed). Could they still be in college? Doesn’t sound like we got the entire story here…

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