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Reinhart v. Miller

Decided: November 15, 1985.

MARY ANNE REINHART, PETITIONER,
v.
CLEMENT MILLER AND THE BURLINGTON COUNTY BOARD OF ELECTIONS, RESPONDENTS. JEAN DWANE, PETITIONER, V. JOSEPH GOODWIN AND THE BURLINGTON COUNTY BOARD OF ELECTIONS, RESPONDENTS



Haines, A.j.s.c.

Haines

OPINION

Mary Anne Reinhart, of Shamong Township, and Jean Dwane, of Pemberton Township, both in Burlington County,

were candidates in the November 1985 General Election, seeking membership on their respective Township Committees. Both lost by narrow margins. They have filed petitions for a recheck of the voting machines and a recount of the absentee and emergency ballots in their election districts. They raise questions as to the amount of fees they are required to pay in order to have their petitions granted.

N.J.S.A. 19:28-1 provides:

When any candidate at any election shall have reason to believe that any error has been made . . . in counting the vote . . . he may . . . apply to a judge of the Superior Court . . . for a recount of the votes cast at the election in any district or districts.

N.J.S.A. 19:28-2 provides:

Any applicant . . . for such recount, upon applying therefor, shall deposit with the county clerk or such other public officer or officers as such judge shall direct, such sum of money proportioned to the number of votes to be counted but not exceeding twenty-five dollars ($25.00) for any one district recount of which is asked, as the judge shall order as security for the payment of the costs and expenses of the recount in case the original count be confirmed. Such judge shall fix and determine the amount of compensation to be paid for making the recount, and the costs and expenses thereof. . . .

N.J.S.A. 19:52-6 provides:

[U]pon written request of any defeated candidate . . . (a Superior Court) judge shall, at a cost of $2.00 per district to the candidate . . . order the (voting) machines in question opened and the registering counters rechecked against the election officers' returns.

N.J.S.A. 19:28-1 makes no distinction between machine votes and other votes. N.J.S.A. 19:52-6 mentions machines specifically and is part of a separate chapter of our election laws dealing primarily with machine voting. The specific normally prevails over the general. Sheeran v. Nationwide Mutual Ins. Co., 159 N.J. Super. 417 (Ch.Div.1978), aff'd, 163 N.J. Super. 40 (App.Div.1978). Nevertheless, the two statutes should be read together, Axtell v. Caputo, 85 N.J. Super. 80 (App.Div.1964), for the purpose of furthering the Legislature's objective. Property Owners Ass'n of No. Bergen v. No. Bergen Tp., 74 N.J. 327, 338 (1977). Recounts protect the ...


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