Salem BOE candidate wants a new election
Wednesday, April 27, 2005
By PHILIP SEAN CURRAN
SALEM A city woman who narrowly lost her race for the Salem Board of Education said that she would ask a state judge to order a new election.
Barbara A. Chrisden declared that at least nine supporters of hers went to polls at the Liberty Fire Hall, finding them closed before they should have been.
If that's the case, those voters would have made the difference in a race that Chrisden lost by six votes. She was one of four candidates running last week, with the top three finishers winning a seat on the board of education.
Her tally of 151 votes left her in fourth behind Daffonie Moore's 157.
"Voters' rights have been violated," said Chrisden, who plans to hire a lawyer and go to court soon.
Elections officials admit that voting machines were turned off an hour early. Officials said a district worker mistakenly believed polls closed at 8 p.m. rather than at 9 p.m.
They dispute, however, that people were denied the right to vote.
Two voters who came after machines were turned off were allowed to vote by provisional ballot.
Election officials said they saw no need for a second election.
Joseph J. Dyer Sr., chairman of the Salem County Board of Elections, pointed to his statements in a letter that he sent to Chrisden last week.
In the letter, he wrote: "The fire house bay doors were fully open and there were firefighters present in the firehouse. Access to the poll location was never a fact."
"How can he know when he wasn't there?" Chrisden asked.
For her part, Moore said if the shoe were on the other foot, she'd probably feel like Chrisden did.
Moore added she'd support having a second election.