A day after Mayor Alex D. Blanco and his ticket of four City Council incumbents cruised to victory, challenger Jose Sandoval contends the electronic voting machines were rigged against him and he’s demanding a recount. Sandoval said he had 500 get-out-the-vote volunteers Tuesday and had expected to get at least 3,000 votes. But he polled just 1,880 and was crushed by Blanco, who received 4,377 votes and carried all 30 polling districts. “I had 3,000 votes in the bank,” Sandoval said Wednesday. “They stole this election from me. The machines must have been tampered with.” Sandoval wants to hire his own expert to check the electronic Sequoia brand voting machines used on Tuesday. And he plans to go to Superior Court this week to ask for a recount.
Turnout was low in Tuesday’s election, despite the fact that there were five people running for mayor and 10 seeking City Council seats.
Only 24 percent of the city’s registered voters turned out – 6,886 out of 28,128 – down from 35 percent in the mayor’s race in 2009.
Another mayoral candidate who fared poorly on Tuesday, Pablo J. Plaza, is thinking of joining the lawsuit. Plaza’s campaign manager, Michael Arce, said he knows of four instances where technicians from the Passaic County Superintendent of Elections visited polling places to work on the machines after the balloting had begun. Arce didn’t know for sure what the technicians did, but said that anytime a voting machine is opened after the balloting has begun, it raises suspicions.