Judge rules in favor of Fall River election certification

On March 12, an effort in Fall River, Massachusetts, to recall Mayor Jasiel Correia II was approved. On the same night, Correia was elected to serve as mayor again on a separate ballot.
Following the election, a group of 10 voters involved in the recall process filed a lawsuit seeking to block the certification of the results. The lawsuit alleged that the city charter approved in 2017 should have prohibited Correia from running for re-election as a part of the recall vote. On March 22, New Bedford Superior Court Judge Thomas J. Perrino ruled against the lawsuit. He said, “while the 2017 charter no longer expressly permits the officeholder who is the subject of a recall from also being a candidate, the plaintiff has not shown that the 2017 charter expressly excludes a recalled candidate from succeeding himself.”
On the first portion of the ballot, Correia was recalled with 7,829 votes cast in favor of the recall and 4,911 votes cast in opposition to the recall. The second portion of the ballot allowed voters to choose who should serve as mayor if the recall vote succeeded. Correia received more votes than his four opponents, allowing him to retain his position. He won by a plurality with 4,808 (35.4%) of the total votes cast. Runner-up Paul Coogan received 4,567 votes (33.6%), Joe Camara received 1,971 votes (14.5%), Kyle Riley received 1,460 votes (10.8%), and Erica Scott-Pacheo received 740 votes (5.5%).
Petitioners began the recall process after Correia was arrested on October 11, 2018, on 13 charges of wire and tax fraud related to his company SnoOwl. In a press conference following the indictment, Correia said he was innocent of the charges and that he would not resign from office. He said the voters of Fall River should let him continue to serve or recall him.
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