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Woodcliff Lake councilwoman satisfied with recount

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot File Photo

YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: It turns out Woodcliff Lake Councilwoman Jean Bae didn’t lose the election last month by two votes.

She lost by five.

After first losing, then being told she won by four votes before it was changed to a two-vote loss — all in the same day — Bae ( above ) sought a recount on Nov. 28.

More than 50 provisional and four absentee ballots figured in the decision, the results of which CLIFFVIEW PILOT discovered the early this afternoon.

The Woodcliff Lake Republican Party has until Wednesday to appeal the results, which give the council seat to Democrat Jacqueline Gadaleta. However, Bae, for one, says she’s satisfied.

“The recount process went smoothly,” Bae told CLIFFVIEW PILOT early this evening. “You had county officials overseeing the ballot reading and tallying of votes…. As a former accounting auditor, I was satisfied with the internal controls and re-counting process today.”

However, she offered some advice: “If there’s a difference of five votes or [fewer], there should be an automatic recount established by the county,” Bae said. “I don’t believe the business day is over until you’ve confirmed two exact total counts of all ballots.”

Bae – the first Korean-American female Republican to serve on a council in Bergen County – was named in September to finish out the term of former Councilman Ken Baum at the end of next year.

However, she and Gadaleta were vying for Republican Councilman John Glaser’s seat, which expires Dec. 31.

The final tally:

Jacqueline Gadaleta : 1461
Jean Bae: 1456

As CLIFFVIEW PILOT reported exclusively, some ballots were tearing in the tallying machine the night of the election, as confirmed by three separate sources confirmed.

“The crease in the ballot is getting jammed in the machine, and the workers have to manually tape them together and run them back through,” a source told CLIFFVIEW PILOT .

There was also a discrepancy discovered this Saturday between the number of voters who were certified and those who signed in at the polls. Problems also resulted from the combined tallying of mail-in, email, federal, and provisional ballots.

“Had it been counted effectively in the same manner from the beginning,” Bae said, “we would have saved ourselves time and money, from doing a re-count.”

That said, she quickly added: “The re-count was done, validated, and certified.  I’m pleased with the results and happy to close this chapter and to move on with business.”

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