The Pernell precedent

In the wake of Secretary of State Kim Guadagno’s decision today concluding that Carl Lewis does not constitutionally meet the state’s residency requirement, Newark insiders started buzzing about a local case that could be pertinent precedent. 

Two months ago, Newark School Advisory Board candidate Dr. Chris Pernell stared down a judge on the residency issue and remained a candidate in the race in spite of a challenge filed by her opponents, who said she did not legally reside in Newark.

“I’m a Newark home owner since 2006,” Pernell told at the time. “I am not dropping put of the race. Emphatically: I did not and will not drop out of the race. The only reason this challenge was issued is because people are perceiving me as a threat. I am new Newark.”

On the ballot in tomorrow’s much anticipated school board races in Newark, Pernell is a member of the For Our Kids ticket backed by North Ward Democratic leader Steve Adubato. Her opponents, the South Ward Councilman Ras Baraka-backed Children First, filed the challenge to her voting record as it relates to residency.

While she could produce no physical evidence to rebut documentation showing she had recently lived and voted in Piscataway, Pernell argued that she was a resident and the judge in the case decided in her favor based on his belief that the voters – and not himself – should be the final arbiter. 

The Pernell precedent