‘All avenues of due process should be exhausted’ — A-Team candidate responds to Jacobson column

dan harris VERT CROPPEDOn this website last week, I published a triCityNews column I wrote about the procedural mistakes I claim were made by the A-Team candidates in the May Asbury Park city council election — specifically about the use of vote by mail ballots.

A-Team candidate Dan Harris [right] sent a response. Harris is the plaintiff in a lawsuit seeking to open 327 disqualified ballots.

Here’s Dan’s response:

Your follow up on the election court challenge has been both in-depth and helpful.

You have managed to express how you felt about both sides of this controversy. You wrote about the judge’s decision and the A-Team’s approach to the election. Very seldom are both sides of the discussion expressed by one reporter. You are to be commended for showing responsible journalism.

But understand that all avenues of due process should be exhausted. This is not just for the candidates but for those voters whose votes were not counted. Somewhere in those ballots there are votes that should be counted. While this might not change the results of the election, it would give voters the chance to have their votes counted.

I find it hard to believe that all of the messenger ballots were incorrect and voters were denied their constitutional rights. I stated previously that the process is flawed. Judge O’Brien said that much during his summation. So what I see is a flawed process which has definitely adversely effected good intentions by the A-Team.

The West Side of Asbury Park is under represented on the city council. While there are plans for more housing on the east side and the beach front; only the Springwood Avenue section is ever spoken of by the past and present councils. More efficient use of RCA funds should be required by the council. While ads are run in the paper for residents and landlords to apply; the response has been minimal. At what point does the city realize that a door to door campaign needs to be put into place.

As a citizen, I have gone to houses and informed residents and landlords about the program. Couldn’t city workers take that approach if present forms of advertising are failing? This is a hands on approach.

I say that to emphasize that the use Vote by Mail [VBM] ballots represents a hands on approach. The A Team rented vans to take voters to the polls. That was not as effective as the VBM method of voting. So to afford our residents of the West Side equal representation, VBM ballots are necessary.

So understand that while the outcome of our case lies in the future; the effort has to take place now. Therefore due process must be played out to the fullest extent. The people deserve that.

Dan Harris, A-Team candidate