Roselle recount is a second victory for off-line candidates

ROSELLE, NJ — After a vote recount on June 28, in the aftermath of the June 6 primary elections in the Borough of Roselle, Democratic candidates Cynthia Johnson and Denise Wilkerson are celebrating their surprise primary wins over Roselle Democratic Committee-backed candidates Andrea Staten and Richard Villeda.

The recount at the Union County Board of Elections facility in Scotch Plains showed that the two, running in Ward 3 and Ward 1 respectively, will be the candidates in the upcoming general election in November.

In the June 6 Democratic primary, Wilkerson beat out Villeda, 256-240, and Johnson beat out Andrea Staten, 251-227. After the June 28 recount, Johnson actually came out with one extra provisional vote, for a total of 252 votes to Staten’s 227. Wilkerson’s tally remains unchanged.

Both Johnson and Wilkerson were present at the recount, as were several of their supporters, Roselle Municipal Chairman and Councilman-at-Large Reginald Atkins and Kraig Dowd, attorney for Staten and Villeda.

Staten, who lost to Johnson and who currently serves as 3rd Ward councilwoman, along with Villeda, a Roselle Board of Education member who lost his bid for 1st Ward councilman, filed an Application for Recount and Recheck on June 20 in Superior Court. The complaint was served to county Clerk Joanne Rajoppi, the Union County Board of Elections and the Union County Board of Canvassers.

According to the complaint, Staten and Villeda believed that an error had been made when counting the votes.

“Petitioners have reason to believe, and do believe, that errors were made in the counting of the votes from each district within both the First Ward and Third Ward in the Borough of Roselle, its tabulation by each District Board and by the Union County Board of Elections/Board of Canvassers, and in declaring the results of the subject Election,” the complaint read. “Upon information and belief such errors resulted in an error in the overall tabulation resulting in Ms. Wilkerson in the First Ward and Ms. Johnson in the Third Ward being declared the winners of the Democratic Primary Election.”

Neither Staten nor Villeda responded to LocalSource’s request for comment.
Rajoppi confirmed that the results remain unchanged.

“We conducted the recount and recheck, which included the voting machines, vote-by-mail ballots and provisional ballots,” Rajoppi told LocalSource in a recent phone interview. “The winners remain the same. There has been no change since I certified the election.”

Johnson told LocalSource she was not surprised by the results.
“But I was surprised that I picked up another vote,” Johnson said in a recent phone interview. “I want to conduct the business for the borough and represent the Third Ward. We won off-line and we won in the recount. We had a victory on the streets and a victory in the court.”