2010 Election for Mayor of South Amboy

On December 16, 2010, the ACLU-NJ filed an amicus curiae brief to defend the rights of voters. The case involves a local election in Middlesex County that was decided by a one-vote margin. The defeated candidate for the position of Mayor of South Amboy, Mary O'Connor, claimed in a lawsuit that a number of election irregularities cost her the election. The brief does not advocate for either O'Connor or her opponent, Fred Henry, to win the election, but rather focuses on the rights of individual voters. The judge hearing the case decided that the ACLU-NJ possesses special interest involvement and expertise in the area of voting rights and allowed the ACLU-NJ to file a friend-of-the-court brief. Contained in the brief are claims that one voter, who registered to vote during a recent visit to a motor vehicle agency was denied the right to have her vote counted because her registration had been lost or mishandled. Another man, who was assured in writing by county election officials that his mail-in ballot would be accepted if it was returned to county election officials in an envelope, found himself disenfranchised when the county election officials changed their mind, saying he used a wrong envelope. And another voter, who lived and paid taxes to South Amboy for six years, found that county officials mistakenly registered him to vote in the neighboring town of Sayreville, and denied him the right to vote in the town where he lived. The brief argued that an individual's right to vote is a fundamental one, which cannot be denied except for compelling reasons, and especially not when a government mistake is responsible for disenfranchising voters. In January, 2011, the trial judge determined that voters were not disenfranchised resulting in the decision of Mary O'Connot to appeal. On November 23, 2011 a panel of three Appellate Division judges ruled that there was no abuse of discretion and that there was nothing to show the failure of the Middlesex County Board of Elections to account for the three provisional ballots.

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