MAYS LANDING – Democrat Assemblymen Vince Mazzeo and John Armato could be going back to Trenton for another two years as yesterday’s count of nearly 5,000 mail-in ballots put them ahead of Republic challengers Phil Guenther and John Risley, who won at the polls.
According to the Atlantic County Clerk’s office, machine totals put Guenther, who is superintdendent of the Atlantic County Special Services and Institute of Technology school districts, and Risley, an Atlantic County freeholder, ahead by a very slim margin. However, a count of mail-ins held while voters were casting their ballots at machines located throughout the county, showed the Mazzeo-Armato team garnered more than twice as many mail-in votes.
Machine totals showed Guenther with 17,952 votes, or 25.98%; Risley 17,906 votes, or 25.91%; Mazzeo with 17,137 votes or 24.80%; and Armato with 16,101 votes or 23.30%.
According to a representative at the Board of Elections, Mazzeo, received 4,723 mail-ins, Armato 4,503, Guenther 2,217 and Risley 2,263, with more ballots yet to be counted.
There are currently about 500 mail-ins and provisional ballots to be counted, and more are expected to arrive in the next day or two as the deadline to returned mailed ballots was extended. Any ballots postmarked Nov. 5 will be counted. Results won’t be certified until all votes are counted, the representative stated.The final count won’t be available for about a week.
However, it is likely that the additional numbers won’t change the outcome.
On the county level, Republican Atlantic County Executive Dennis Levinson pulled in 61.51% of the machine votes for a total of 28,187, over Democrat Susan Korngut’s 38.49% for a total of 17,635 votes.
In the freeholder-at-large race, Freeholder Chairwoman Amy Gatto garnered 26,572 votes or 58.74%, while her challenger Nick Polito received 18,662 votes, or 41.26%. The counting of mail-ins and provisional ballots is not expected to change the outcome of the county races.
Overall, nearly 30%, or 48,372 of Atlantic County’s 164,065 registered voters turned out for the election.