Would-be Third Ward candidate Jeffery Dunn made no challenge by Monday to his petitions being found "null and void" last week, so ballot preparation for the June 7 primary can now proceed.
Dunn said in a hearing last week that he only changed his driver's license and voter registration to a Third Ward address on the morning of April 4, the same day petitions were due. In a hearing on April 11, documents showed he had voted in November 2014 and 2015 in the First Ward, using his office address at 320 Park Avenue. He said his reason for using that address was for privacy regarding details of his divorce while living in his parents' home at 1038 Central Avenue.
The city's special charter requires a council candidate to be a legal voter and to have lived one year in the ward or wards to be represented. Based on the documentation and testimony Dunn presented at the hearing, attorney Robert Renaud declared his petitions "null and void."
On Monday, City Clerk AJ Jalloh said he had not received word of any challenge to the April 11 decision and that Union County Clerk Joanne Rajoppi had asked him to proof information for the June 7 ballot.
"Absent a challenge, we're moving forward," Jalloh said.
Mayor Adrian O. Mapp, who is chairman of the Plainfield Democratic City Committee and was the objector to Dunn's petitions, said late Monday, "Jeff Dunn made a wise decision not to appeal the Clerk’s ruling. One may get away with admitting voter fraud to the Municipal Clerk but not to a Superior Court judge."
Two Democrats filed successfully for the Third Ward seat and two more for the Citywide at-large seat. In a Feb. 27 meeting of the Democratic City Committee, members chose Charles McRae to run on the party line in the Third Ward and Rebecca Williams to run for the Citywide at-large seat. McRae faces a challenge from Alma Blanco and Williams, currently representing the Second & Third Wards at-large, will run against incumbent Citywide at-large Councilwoman Tracey Brown.
No Republicans filed for either council seat. The winners of the Democratic primary contests will be on the November 8 ballot along with any independents who file on June 7. If Dunn continues to live in the Third Ward, his next chance to run for council will be in 2018, when the Second & Third Ward seat will be up for election.