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Sharrock v. Borough of Keansburg

Decided: August 9, 1951.

CLIFFORD JOHN SHARROCK, ET AL., AS RESIDENTS AND LEGAL VOTERS, ETC., PLAINTIFFS-APPELLANTS,
v.
BOROUGH OF KEANSBURG, A MUNICIPAL CORPORATION, ETC., ET AL., DEFENDANTS-RESPONDENTS



Jayne, Wm. J. Brennan, Jr., and Vanderwart. The opinion of the court was delivered by Jayne, J.A.D.

Jayne

[15 NJSuper Page 13] A precursory narrative of the significant events which have been productive of this litigation is essential. The information is acquired from the stipulation of counsel.

At a regular meeting of the municipal council of the Borough of Keansburg convened on June 26, 1950, a petition signed by the requisite number of qualified electors of the municipality and in all other respects in conformity with the provisions of R.S. 33:1-47.1 was presented requesting the submission of a referendum to the voters of the following questions at the next ensuing general election.

"Shall sales of alcoholic beverages at retail be permitted in this municipality on week days between the hours of 6 A.M. and 2 A.M. of the following morning?

Shall sales of alcoholic beverages at retail be permitted in this municipality on Sundays between the hours of midnight Saturday and 2 A.M., and between the hour of noon and 2 A.M. of the following morning?"

In recognition of the petition the borough council on July 5, 1950, adopted a resolution directing the county clerk to print the questions upon the official ballots to be used at the election. A certified copy of the resolution was dispatched to the county clerk on July 20, 1950, and to the office of the Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control on October 1, 1950.

On October 4, 1950, the assistant deputy director of the Division acknowledged the receipt of the copy of the resolution and in his communication stated:

"We suggest that you remind the Monmouth County Clerk of the Explanatory Statement which he is required to print upon the official ballot immediately below the Public Questions at a referendum to be held, as here, under Revised Statutes, 33:1-47.1.

It is to be understood that if a majority vote Yes on both Questions, the only hours of permitted sale in the Borough will be those fixed by the referendum; that if a majority vote Yes on one Question and No on the other, the hours fixed in the Question voted Yes will be the only permitted hours of sale (weekdays or Sundays, as the case may be), and there will be no change effected by referendum on the Question voted No; and that if a majority vote No on both Questions, the referendum will have effected no change at all in the Borough's present hours regulations."

On October 5, 1950, the borough clerk addressed a letter to the county clerk in which he acquainted the latter, verbatim et literatim , with the observations of the deputy director expressed in his communication of October 4, 1950.

Sample ballots were prepared and mailed to the qualified voters by the district boards of elections on October 31, 1950, and on November 1, 1950. An "Explanatory Statement" appeared in its appropriate position on the sample and official ballots but read as follows:

"It is to be understood that if a majority vote Yes on both Questions, the only hours of permitted sale in the Borough will be those fixed by the referendum; that if a majority vote Yes on one question and No on the other, the hours fixed in the Question voted Yes will be the only permitted hours of sale (weekdays and Sundays, as the case may be), and there will be no change effected by the referendum on the question voted No; and that if a majority vote No on both Questions, the referendum will have effected no change at all in the Borough's present hours regulations."

Of the 3,095 registered voters in the borough, 2,097 voters cast ballots at the election. Of those who voted on the propositions, 1,363 voted "yes" on the first question and 658 voted "no." On the second question 1,325 voted "yes" and 680 voted "no." It is significant to notice that of the 2,097 ballots cast, 2,021 voters expressed their wishes on the first question and 2,005 on the second ...


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