Despite signature of dead voter, judge leaves candidate on ballot
Evangeline Ugorji could remain on the ballot as the South Ward Trenton City Council seat even though up to two deceased people have signed her nomination petition, Superior Court Judge William Anklowitz ruled Monday after a hearing of four hours.
A challenge from rival Jenna Figueroa Kettenburg was withdrawn after Ugorji had 71 valid signatures – three more than the 68 needed to secure a ballot spot. The city clerk of Trenton is now authorized to hold a draw for the South Ward on Tuesday – which is just enough time to get the ballots printed before the September 24 deadline, when election officials must start sending out the ballots.
Ugorji said she personally obtained the signature of Desiree Clark, who died on August 5, 2016, but was unable to explain how a deceased voter’s signature appeared on her petition.
His attorney, Flavio Komuves, pushed back a copy of Clark’s death certificate.
“I don’t know what the providence of this is,” he told the judge.
But while Anklowitz refused to sign, he said the court found Ugorji to be “a credible witness”. With this, any challenge to the full petition based on a fraudulent signature was dismissed.
Ugorji, a Trenton Parking Authority commissioner, faces Kettenburg and Damian Malave for the South Ward seat. Longtime adviser George Muschal is not seeking re-election.