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Wayne election board sends dispute to court;losing candidate in Hawley says he should fill seat

January 11, 2012

Hawley Borough Council candidate Orlando Marrero, who was on the losing side in the November elections, now says that he should take the place falsely won by Elaine Herzog.

It came to light recently that Herzog is not a valid resident of Hawley Borough, giving a street address of a commercial location with no apartments and a post office box in Greentown, a hamlet at a distance from Hawley.

Board of Elections Director Cindy Furman attested to the fact of the false address at the Election Board hearing on January 5. Hawley Attorney Randolph T. Borden represented Marrero, who was not present, at the hearing.

“This past November, there were six candidates for the position of borough councilor with only four positions to be filled,” Borden said. “My client was the fifth in line and lost the election. Since Marrero was the next in line in total votes, it is our contention that he should win the position now vacated by Ms. Herzog.”

Borden based his position on the fact that the voters were the source for the election of Marrero for the position and would have selected him if they knew that Herzog would be disqualified.

“The Board of Election staff should have disqualified her or certified her,” Borden said. He admitted that the board staff are hard pressed at the time of the elections and were doing their job as best as they could.

“The director of elections acted in good faith based on the information given by the candidate,” he said. “If a candidate is to be removed from the position by any reason, then the candidate who falls next in line in the voting should be selected.”

Wendell Kay, the chairman of the Wayne County Board of Elections who conducted the hearing, did not agree. “It is my understanding that such matters as not living in the borough should have been brought forward by the other candidates or any concerned citizen,” he said.

“The board should conduct an investigation into the allegation,” Borden said. “Then should claim the election was corrupt and select the next person in the line of candidates.”
Kay stated that someone should have petitioned the court to challenge Herzog’s right to fill the office and then give her the opportunity to answer the charges. “This should be done in the County Court of Common Pleas,” Kay said.

The other two commissioners—Brian Smith and Jonathan Fritz—seconded Kay’s decision, and they voted to make that the solution.