Democrats in Burlington County have passed a deadline to fill a vacancy on the Board of Commissioners, a mistake that could leave a vacancy until next year unless a judge deems the charter replaceable.

The Democratic District Committee had 35 days to replace District Commissioner Linda Hines, who left her seat in January to become a Supreme Court judge, but Berlington County Democratic Party chairman Joe Endle never planned a special election convention to fill the vacancy.

Hines was sworn in on Jan. 15, meaning Democrats had to replace her no later than Feb. 19. The Senate confirmed her candidacy on January 10, and the Burlington County Council of Commissioners did not include Hines on the January 12 roll-call list.

Hines took office in November, and it appears the Burlington County Democrats have chosen Alison Eckel, a member of the Lenape Regional High School Education Council and a candidate for the 2021 Assembly, as their candidate. Eckel was the unanimous recommendation of the Democratic Verification Committee, according to the New Jersey Globe, although the decision to support it was not publicly announced.

Now Eckel, who was to fill Hines ’unfinished term, will have to beat Republican Jeff Fortune, a former member of the Moorstown School Board, to become county commissioner.

Andl is a little familiar with special election conventions.

In September 2018, Democrat George Youngkin withdrew from the race for Freeholder in Burlington County – a position now called county commissioner – but his name remained on the ballot and he won the Democratic Wave election that year. He was sworn in on January 1, 2019 and resigned a few minutes later.

Andl called Fr. special election congress in 18 dayswhose members of the district committee of the Democratic Party elected to replace Yangkin member of the Delran Council Daniel O’Connell.

Vacancies for most positions in party elections are held by the party that previously won the last election. Until 1989, vacancies in some positions necessitated special elections.

In 2013, Gov. Chris Christie called snap elections to the U.S. Senate in October after Frank R. Lawtenberg died in office.

Andl did not immediately respond to the text message at 8:09 p.m.

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