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Wednesday, July 24, 2024

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Board Opposes Exclusive Use of Mail-in Ballots for November Election

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By Al Campbell

CREST HAVEN – Cape May County freeholders oppose the state’s planned exclusive use of mail-in ballots for the Nov. 3 general election. 
In a resolution passed Aug. 11 at their meeting, held via the internet, the board cited the exclusive use of such ballots in the July primary election, and noted that use “caused concerns for voter fraud in mail-in elections and significant delays in counting ballots.”
The document further cited the state attorney general’s charges against individuals, in Paterson, for “illegally collecting or processing ballots…”
In that city, the resolution noted that two winning city council candidates were among those charged for allegedly casting votes “in the names of deceased individuals and residents who indicated they had not even received a vote-by-mail ballot.”
In Paterson, election officials stated that more than 3,000 votes cast by mail ballots, 19% of the total, were disqualified.
The resolution also cited complaints, filed in federal district court by the League of Women Voters of New Jersey, the NAACP New Jersey State Conference, and a disabled voter against state Secretary of State Tahesha Way, that the current law regarding verification of vote-by-mail ballots violates the First and 14th Amendments of the U.S. Constitution. 
Hentges Memorialized
Freeholder Vice-Director Leonard Desiderio offered a resolution in memory of W. Robert Hentges, a surrogate of Cape May County for 40 years, who died June 29 at age 82. 
“He’s someone that we should all look up to as someone that was a true elected official who represented the people and did an excellent job,” said Desiderio.
“He worked very, very hard and he was diligent in his duties,” said Director Gerald Thornton, who added that Hentges was a long-time personal friend. 
Hentges, as surrogate, was responsible for the probate of wills, appointments of administrators of estates and guardians for minors and incapacitated persons, and all adoption matters.
He retired, in 2012, after 40 years, the longest-serving surrogate in the state. In May 2019, Hentges was honored when a conference room in the new third-floor Surrogate’s Office was named for him. 
Pierson New Chair of CG Community Foundation
Freeholder Jeffrey Pierson, of Marmora, was recently elected to chair the Coast Guard Community Foundation. Freeholder Will Morey, the first chairman, held the post since 2015. 
Morey cited Pierson’s military background as a retired National Guard brigadier general, as well as his “passion for the people and mission of the Coast Guard.”
Recently, Pierson oversaw the recertification packet of documents to continue the county’s designation as a Coast Guard Community. It shares that distinction with one other county in the nation. 
Pierson added that Morey was the “spirit for this organization from the inception in 2013” to get the motion underway for a Coast Guard Community designation. “He was the guy that really put it forward and made things happen,” Pierson said.
Pierson said he looked forward to “taking the helm” of the organization. In jest, Morey commented, “You’re not used to a helm though, right? The Army doesn’t have a lot of helms.”
“In the Army, we have our own navy,” said Pierson.
In other business the board:
* Passed a resolution urging Gov. Phil Murphy to reimburse counties with populations of 500,000 or less with federal money from the Coronavirus Relief Fund to pay for essential public services to fight the virus. 
* Approved a memorandum of understanding with Middle Township for the redevelopment plan for the former Kmart mall, in Rio Grande, as the County Commons.
* Passed a resolution for the state Office of Emergency Management to reimburse the county for COVID-19 testing and expenses.

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