Tell It To The Judge: NJ Courts Handle Election Day Cases


[Image via mhpbooks]

Election Day typically centers on polling places and election offices across the nation – but in New Jersey, it’s also a busy day for special courts set up to hear last-minute requests from voters who wish to cast ballots. The Two River Times has more:

On Tuesday, new American citizen Eniko Piantanida pleaded her case – saying she had registered to vote by mail, sending the materials in to the state Division of Election days in advance of the Oct. 18 deadline.

But state Deputy Attorney General Alan Blanstein said the division did not receive Piantanida’s paperwork until Oct. 21, three days after the cutoff to be registered for the Nov. 8 General Election. State Superior Court Judge Kathleen A. Sheedy – sitting in a makeshift courtroom at the Monmouth County Special Services Complex in Freehold Township – listened and asked some questions.

Sheedy was one of several judges  working three- or four-hour shifts at the Special Services Complex, where the county’s three elections offices are based. This was the regular Election Day Court, and this year it was busier than usual because of the presidential election.

While making deliveries for work at a Long Branch office, Piantanida handed her registration papers to a postal carrier delivering mail to the office, she told the judge. It saved her a trip to a mailbox.

“One-stop shopping, how nice,” said Piantanida, 46.

But, apparently, the delivery of her voter registration paperwork got delayed in the mail.

“I’m going to allow you to vote,” Sheedy told Piantanida, who lives in Tinton Falls. “I do find your testimony credible.”

Outside of the courtroom, Piantanida said she grew up in rights-repressed Hungary. She came to the United States in the early 1990s and finally became an American citizen in April, the month before her husband died.

When asked how she felt about being able to vote, Piantanida said, “Excited, I guess. A lot of mixed emotions. I feel like I’m voting for my husband and myself.”

A trip to court is an alternative to a provisional ballot for voters who believe their name has been left off the rolls in error:

Voters have two ways to deal with being turned away from a voting machine at the polls. They can request a provisional, or paper, ballot or go in front of one of the Superior Court judges specially assigned to Election Day, when the courthouse in downtown Freehold is closed.

The judges set up in the Special Services Complex where space is available, perhaps in a conference room or, as was the case in recent years, in a closet.

Judge Sheedy came on duty at 1 p.m. and got a case about 15 minutes later, before she put her judicial robe on.

“Just give me one second to get dressed,” she said, before starting the proceeding.

While it is un-courtroom-like, it is a very official court. There is a judge in a robe, court staff, and a Sheriff’s officer providing security; the case is recorded, members of the state Attorney General’s office represent the county election offices, with lawyers from the Democrat and Republican parties monitoring – and sometimes commenting on – the cases. Also, all the pertinent election files are nearby in the three election offices:  Board of Elections, Clerk of Elections, and Superintendent of Elections/Commissioner of Registration.

Cases run the gamut from silly to sad:

Some of the cases are borderline ridiculous – a person admittedly not registered to vote who wants to now vote at the last minute. But some cases are emotionally charged, according to election officials, like a man seeking a walk-in ballot for his wife, who was dying of cancer and likely voting for the last time.

Jon Farber, 39, of Middletown and his wife, Melissa had registered to vote at the state Motor Vehicle Commission, when he had made an address change on his driver’s license, he said.

“When sample ballots came out, my wife got hers, I didn’t get mine,” Farber told Judge Angela White Dalton. Deputy Attorney General Rebecca Karol did not object to his request. The judge ruled in in Farber’s favor.

“I’m satisfied you made an effort and it was just an oversight,” Dalton said in her ruling. “I will grant you the ability to vote today.”

Farber, speaking outside the courtroom after the ruling, called his court appearance a “pretty painless” process.

Dalton also granted Sandra Wiley of Tinton Falls the right to vote. Wiley moved from Jackson in Ocean County to Tinton Falls in April and sent in her voter registration materials, but was not in the voting records, according to testimony.

“Welcome to Monmouth County,” Dalton said in granting Wiley the right to vote.

Wiley declined comment afterward.

The court is also able to intervene when voters make mistakes:

In a case before Judge Dennis R. O’Brien, Board of Elections Commissioner Allan Roth sought permission to accept a walk-in ballot from a man – not identified publicly in court – who was in the hospital. The issue was the man had reversed his voting envelopes, placing the outside one inside and the inside one outside.

Sherry Ramsey, a Democrat Party lawyer, was the courier of the man’s ballot.

“We stepped back so he could have his privacy to vote,” testified Ramsey, explaining how the mistake was not discovered until the envelopes were sealed.

O’Brien approved the vote, saying the chain of custody over the transporting of the vote was maintained.

But not everyone is successful:

O’Brien denied Yuk Wong, 44, of Hazlet from voting.

Wong testified she had filled out a voter registration form and given it to an acquaintance. Then, she said, she went to vote and her name was not in the books at the poll.

“I want to vote,” said Wong, a Hong Kong immigrant who became an American citizen in 2014. “I truly believe I’m already registered. Today, I went to the voting booths. My name was not there.”

“You’re not registered,” O’Brien told Wong. “It’s not that we don’t want you to vote.”

These courts may seem like an unnecessary step given the availability of a provisional ballot, but for voters willing to make the trip and plead their case, it can mean the chance to cast a valid ballot without waiting for verification. I’ll be curious to see how many voters make the trip – and how many of those are actually successful – but regardless “election court” sounds like another exciting place to be on Election Day.

Stay tuned …

1 Comment on "Tell It To The Judge: NJ Courts Handle Election Day Cases"

  1. To judge Dalton Hello .
    i am still in total shock from the hearing on the 11-17-2016.
    to call it a hearing is wrong because you did not hear nothing from me .
    you had asked me a very important question and did not let me give you my answer .
    if you were listening to my answer you may have not ruled against me .
    you asked me what kind of relationships i had with nelle and odelia along the years ?
    well my answer to that question can not be short but i will do my best to bring to your attention some facts that would show in a very clear way that the letter you got from dilania bargeron was just one big lie from the beginig till the end of it . and unfortunately you chosen wrongly to except her lies and to dismiss my last attempt after 15 years of fighting with dilania bargeron to gain back my stolen fatherhood that was taken from me by force and without my consent !!!
    lets start from the facts that we all know now .
    frank bargeron is not the girls father .
    frank bargeron and dilania bargeron never had sex life !!!
    frankbargeron and dilania bargeron got married long time ago for one reason , to get the american citizenship to dilania they never intended to be married for very long time . they had no sex life and frank was constantly used prostitutes to satisfy his sex needs !!!
    dilania cought him in her house with two prostitutes and right after that she left him and came to america with a fake passport who was given to her by another person who she paid him money for it .
    she met me on 01-05-1999 and not on the year 2000 . !!!!!
    we started dating and shortly after that we moved in together in a room i was renting from an owner of a house on west new york .
    at that time dilania told me all that happend between her and frank and i believed her story .
    she also told me that she will never go back with him ever again !!!!
    we were in love at that time and when she got pregnant on the year 2000 we were planing to have it together and she told me that she will divorce him and get married with me so we can live together and rase the baby born later together . but little after when she was only 3 months pregnant she changed her mined and she met me on 86 st and Broadway and gaved me the worst news . she told me that she is forced to go back to santo domingo because her husband frank is puting pressure on all her family and her to go back with him and he offers her a lot of money and good life if she will go back with him . so it is a lie to say that i left her when she was 8 months pregnant !!!!! i left back to israel right after she told me that she is going back to frank and she is finishing her relationships with me . she lied when she saying that i deserted her !!!! i never deserted her !!!! she left me crying on the side walk that day i loved her back then and it was hard for me to hear that she is leaving me pregnant with my first baby ever .
    frank did not live with her in new york not even for one day and at that time he was not in the usa at all . she lies about that fact too . on 2000 he was living in santo domingo and she was at her sister nelsa house . he was not in the usa at that time and he was not suporting her the way she wrote on her letter .
    she went back to him till she was 8 moths pregnant . she went back to new york and had nelle on the metropolitan hospital on 07-26-2001 . 4 days later she called me to my house in israel and told me that nelle was born . i was asking her a lot of questions about her and the new born baby and she explained me the situation . frank was not there at that time too . she was alone with it because she chosen to do it like that . i was asking her if she will put my name on the birth certificate ? her answer was NO !!! i asked why wouldn’t you do it i was the father ? she said that she will not put no one name on it . i was in shock when she told me that . but she lied again to me because she did put franks name as the father . why ? because it was part of her plan to use it in the emigration to kosher her false marriage with frank who was older then her in 34 years and really was not her husband like other people are . no one would believe her if she would not show emigration a baby as a proof that she has a real marriage with him .
    right after having the baby in the usa she went back to her country and lived with him and at times with her parents .
    all that time she was in a telephonic connection with me . i was sending her money every month for the baby girl via westren union . if you check with them you will fined out that i am telling the truth .all along the years i was sending her money and giving her money cash and checks and bank deposits !!!! all these years that she chosen to spend with him i was waiting for her to finish her relationships with him and she was asking me to wait for her every year she told me that next year she will be with me and she never done it . then she told me that she is coming to live with me in new york and i took an apartment in washington hights on 172 st and Amsterdam ave . and this wasn’t so easy for me to do because i had no papers , but i done it so i can be with her and with my girl . she came over and after one day she left to new jersy telling me that she can not live in new yrk and she wants to live in freehold with her friend Eva .
    again she run away from being with me and all that time she was asking from me to pay her money for the girl and i was doing it . What she was hiding from me was that on the same time she and frank were planing to shear an apartment in freehold he will pay the rent and all the bills and she will live with nelle .
    she lied to me again .
    then later on she and me kept seeing each other from time to time and i was visiting the girl when he was not home .
    she got pregnant again and this time she promised me that she will get divorce from him and move in with me .
    but again she cheated me and had the baby in nj hospital and put frank as the father and kept asking from me to pay for the girls if i like to see them . so i paid all these years for the girls and saw them when ever she was letting me see them .
    the girls called frank by his name and not father or dady because they knew i was their father all that time .
    i spent time with them and traveled with them to different places and paid for it all .
    i used to buy them things take them out to the movies out of freehold because dilania did not wanted to upset frank .
    all this time and all these years i had massive arguments with her about the fact that she is living a lie and she is not letting me be with her and the kids normally .
    she used to hide me from her family and friends because she did not like to let them know me and she lied to them about the fact that i was their father and not frank .
    i was going with the girls to a lot of doctors appointments and the doctors will confirm every ward i say . frank was not there at non of those cases . and the doctor was told that i am their father by dilania and by me !!!!!!!!!!!
    it is a lie to say that i did not care about my kids . i left my work many times and rushed to the hospital when ever they needed me . i dont recall seeing frank over there !!!!!!! dilania describe him in a way that is not even close to the truth and she is totally erasing me and eliminating me totally .i was there all the time not just with money but with my heart because these were my girls and i was loving them a lot and felt that i should have been there and i was . i can prove it too . but dilania is writing that i was never been there for her and the girls .
    when finelly dilania got divorced from frank the girls was so happy to be with me and to live with me and i found them a house and helped dilania with getting the mortgage and helped her to keep the house nice and clean and helped her with the bills too . but she was not happy because i was asking her to do the DNA test and to change the birth certificate to my name . she refused to do it . why ? because she was receiving $1500 from frank social security every month that is why she refused to give me my fatherhood back and even now days she is not letting me get it because of the money she gets from him . he does not realy spend any money from his pockets on them it is all comming from those checks . for dilania frank bargeron is an ATM !!!!!!! she does not care about him and she has a lot of arguments and fights with him mostly about money that she wants from him all the time . so because i was asking so many times to do the right thing she kicked me out of the house to the streets not before she hit and bit me up in front of the girls several times . on july 2014 she was attacking me brutally and kicked me out of the house . i was in the street and she told me that if i dont go away she will call police and she done it , i left to new york and never went back to her house again . right after that she brought frank back to house charged him $1000 for the room she gave him and told the girls not to let me know nothing about that . all of that is crazy and you were asking from me to go threw a psychological evaluation ????? she should be going for it much before me . !!!!!! but you gaved her the castudy and dumped me and all the years i fought and built relationships with my girls to the bin !!!! yes judge you were very wrong this time and god will judge you one day for what you done to me and the girls . sorry to say that but you killed the hope we had me and the girls to be together . i know that its hard for you to read what i am telling you but dont forget that you are a human no more or less then me with all do respect you made here a very big mistake that costed me and the girls dearly!!!!
    you gave her to win over me and the girls . she lied to you all along the way and she used her black magic and wooddoo powers to win this case . yes she is doing these things too . i saw it and she told me that at one point .
    you handed over these girls to the wrong person .
    you may not agree with me but i am telling you the truth . i am not telling lies like her . lets dont forget how she lied in your court room a few times before about who is the father . rank was never been the father and will never be .
    now as of what left for me to do now ?
    since she put a false report against me with her policemen boyfriend in new york right now i can not go back to new york . or the usa . she used dirty tricks to scare me and she win in court this time . you gaved her the girls and left me with nothing and did not even wanted to listen to me .
    i am going to think now what to do but there is not much left for me to do because you helped her now to kill totaly my connection to my girls . again judge i am so sorry to tell you that you were very very wrong .
    i will consider legal actions to repeal this wrong judgment and get this fixed but it is not possible for me at the moment you had done it now realy hard for me to fix it and time is not working on our side . the girls are turned against me big time and they would need a psychological help to over come the trauma !!!! you did not let me say these words so i wrote them to you . if i was you i would have read this letter careful and try to understand what went wrong here ? we are talking here about odelia bargeron who may need a kidney transplant if her urine issues will not be fixed . i heard it in person from her neurologist and from her neufrologist too . i am the only blood related relative that could donate her a kidney in case that she will need it . but you and dilania and her lawyer dont want to hear it so if she ever needs one maby you or dilanias lawyer will donate one for her . you have no idea what your wrong decisions made to that poor girl who truthfully love and loved me so much . if she will not get it on time she will die and you and dilania will be responsible for it . yes judge dalton !!! you and dilania will give answers to god one day !!!!
    you been wrong big time and god will judge you for it one day .

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.