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Perri v. Kisselbach

Decided: December 15, 1959.

FRANK PERRI, CONTESTANT,
v.
JACOB B. KISSELBACH, INCUMBENT



On petition to contest election.

Cafiero, J.s.c.

Cafiero

I find as a fact that at the last general election in November 1959, Mr. Henry Haker and Mr. Stephen Parker were patients in the Atlantic County Hospital for Tubercular Diseases at Northfield, suffering from pulmonary tuberculosis; that each of them was admitted in 1957 because of such affliction and for the purpose of receiving treatment which has been and is still being given.

Mr. Parker resided in the City of Atlantic City when he was admitted; and Mr. Haker resided with his then employer in the City of Linwood, which property, however, is no longer in existence and is now the site of the high school building.

Mr. Haker's condition is still active but is not infectious, and there was testimony that he could be discharged if suitable accommodations were available to him. However, he has not been discharged. He is a widower, 78 years of age, who in addition to his affliction is infirm and unable to care for himself. A daughter, who recently married, maintains a home in the nearby city of Cardiff and has offered her father a room in her home, but he prefers to remain at the hospital declaring that it is the only home he has; that he gets three meals a day; that they take good care of him, giving him medicine; that his room is near the dining room and on the same floor; that he can't do much walking and is "all in" when he does. He also testified that he often takes his meals in his room. His daughter takes him to her home occasionally for several hours by calling for him at the hospital and then returning him.

He has registered from the hospital and has voted an absentee ballot at the 1958 general election and in the primary and general elections in 1959.

It is argued that these declarations and manifestations are sufficient to qualify him to vote from that address.

Counsel concedes that Mr. Parker may come within the rule laid down in Brueckmann v. Frignoca , 9 N.J. Misc. 128 (Cir. Ct. 1931), but contends that Mr. Haker's position is to be distinguished, so that he is a duly qualified voter.

I cannot agree. Mr. Haker is likewise a patient and the distinguishing features are insufficient to establish domicile for voting purposes. His stay at the hospital is of a temporary nature, for a specific purpose, i.e. , treatment and care for the disease for which he was admitted and for which he is permitted to remain. Although the medical director has indicated that he could be discharged, the fact remains that he has not been discharged and is still being treated. His status has not thereby changed and he has not established a domicile within the intendment of the Election Law.

N.J.S.A. 19:4-1 provides in part that:

"Every person possessing the qualifications required * * * and having none of the disqualifications * * * shall be entitled to vote in the polling place assigned to the election district ...


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