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Judge Calls For Re-Vote In Embattled Ramapo

Judge Calls For Re-Vote In Embattled Ramapo

Cites ‘egregious’ ballot errors, confusion at polls in suburb known for large chasidic Jewish population; town to appeal

Amy Sara Clark writes about politics and education. A Columbia Journalism School graduate, she's worked at CBS News, The Journal News, The Jersey Journal, Mom365, JTA and Prospect Heights Patch. She comes to journalism from academia where she earned a master's degree in European History with a focus on Vichy France.

Last week, the suburban town of Ramapo held a referendum aimed at lessening the political influence of the town’s growing contingent of Orthodox and chasidic Jews. This week a judge invalidated the ballots and called for a new election.

In her decision, issued Tuesday, State Supreme Court Justice Margaret Garvey said that confusion over who could vote and when absentee ballots had to be turned in was so great that the results couldn’t be considered valid, The Journal News reported.

Garvey wrote in her decision that mistakes made by Ramapo Town Clerk Christian Sampson regarding absentee ballot instructions were "so egregious and fundamental to the special town election process that it cannot be rectified" without having a new election, according to The Journal News.

On Wednesday, the town board voted unanimously to appeal the decision. No election can be held until the appeal has been ruled upon.

The referendum proposed dividing Ramapo, a town of 126,000 people, into six regions, called “wards,” with each electing their own councilmember. Currently the board is made up of four at-large councilmembers and a town supervisor, all of whom are chosen by the entire electorate. It also proposed increasing the number of councilmembers from four to six.

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