Committeeman Prakash Santhana prevails and will remain in office
Prakash Santhana defeated Chiung-Yi Cheng Liu in the 2019 election for Holmdel Township Committee. The election, which was subject to a recount and legal contest was decided in a Court Order issued this morning, December 1, 2020, by Superior Court Judge Kathleen A. Sheedy.
Following the count of the provisional ballots in the November 5, 2019 election, Independent candidate Cathy Webber was the top vote getter in the four way race for two seats on the Township Committee with 2,164 votes. Republican Cheng Liu was leading Independent Santhana by 3 votes, 2,082-2,070 for the second seat on the committee. Incumbent Republican Eric Hines, then the mayor, was last with 2,063 votes.
A recount resulted in Santhana overtaking the lead for the second seat by two votes, 2,087-2,085. The election was certified.
Cheng Liu filed suit on December 12, 2019 to overturn the election, alleging that five voters whose ballots were counted did not reside in Holmdel and that two ballots that were rejected by the Monmouth County Board of Elections should have been counted.
A trial was held via zoom on September 21, 22 and 24 with testimony and documents presented by the disputed voters.
Judge Sheedy concluded that the 4 of the 5 voters whose residency was challenged by Cheng Liu were indeed Holmdel residents and their votes count. The fifth vote will not count as Cheng Liu provided sufficient proof that that voter had moved to Middletown.
Judge Sheedy ruled that the two votes disqualified by the Board of Election were rightfully rejected, leaving Santhana with a one vote victory.
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