Arguments by a group of property owners to overturn the Election Day vote that rejected their rent-control ballot initiative will be heard in Superior Court in Hudson County.
The initiative, which was voted down, 8,248-to-8,196, in November, would have exempted buildings with four or fewer units, as well as all condo units, from rent control guidelines. The group of 15 property owners, represented by attorneys Charles Gormally and Sean Smith of Brach Eichler, filed a challenge to the Nov. 6 election result in early December. The court will hear their challenge on Jan. 22.
Cheryl Fallic, a spokeswoman for the rent control advocacy group Hoboken Fair Housing Association, appeared at a hearing Friday with two motions aimed at quashing the property owners’ request to allow votes that weren’t counted in the election. Both motions were denied.
The votes which Gormally and Smith claim were wrongfully rejected include 92 absentee ballots that would be more than enough to change the outcome of the ballot initiative, which was decided by 52 votes.
“I can’t believe they denied (the two motions),” said Fallic after the hearing.
Fallic described the plaintiff’s case as “flimsy” adding that while she and her supporters were still digesting the news, an appeal of Friday’s ruling wasn’t out of the question.
Gormally understood Fallic’s concern, but felt that due to situations surrounding the election, specifically Superstorm Sandy, taking another look at votes that weren’t counted is “common sense.”
Gormally pointed out that a group of ballots postmarked before Election Day weren’t counted, even though the deadline to vote had been extended to Nov. 9 due to the storm.
He also cited hundreds of people who did not receive absentee ballots until Nov. 9 due to the storm.
“The confusion surrounding the whole process merits consideration,” said Gormally.