Saying they will likely refuse to pay the $2.4 million costs associated with the special election to fill the U.S. Senate seat left vacant by the death of Frank Lautenberg, the Hudson County Board of Freeholders said at its July 11 meeting that they may force the state to take the county to court. The county is expected to use funds dedicated to the November regular election to cover the cost of the August primary and then inform the state it does not have the revenue to cover the remaining elections that include a special election in October, and a number of state and local elections in November. Freeholder Bill O’Dea said the county will explore its options, but will likely withhold payment for additional elections now that the budget for the year has been depleted by the cost of the August primary. Representatives from various county departments dealing with the election said the primary and the special election would cost about $1.2 million each.
“We’re using the November election money for the August primary,” said County Clerk Barbara Nechert. “If the state does not agree to reimburse us, then we will have to come back to the Freeholders to ask for additional revenue for the special election and regular election in November.”
Freeholder Jeff Dublin, who currently serves as chairman of the New Jersey Association of Counties, said his organization is planning to file a class-action lawsuit against the state to get funding for additional elections—which the state has not yet set aside.
“Hopefully, we’ll get a response within the next two weeks,” Dublin said.