RAMAPO, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A judge on Tuesday threw out a pair of referenda that set up a ward system and added two new town board members in Ramapo.

New York State Judge Margaret Garvey invalidated the election, held last week, on the grounds of “confusion over improperly written absentee ballots,” and conflicting instructions for potential voters that may have affected turnout.

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The ruling came in response to a petition by residents Michael Parietti and Robert Romanowski.

The judge suggested that town Clerk Christian Samson seek help from the Rockland County Board of Elections.

Judge Garvey did not issue any ruling about allegations of fraud due to lack of evidence.

The vote was controversial from the beginning, with critics – including Parietti – claiming the idea was to reduce the power of the diverse town’s Jewish community.

“Because of the political clout that the Orthodox and the ultra-Orthodox and Hasidic community have … they don’t really have to communicate with us,” Parietti said. “They don’t have to get our input.”

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The Jewish lobbying group Agudath Israel said in a statement last week that “efforts to inhibit the voting power of any minority group are simply intolerable.”

And Brendel Charles, the only African-American on the board, said last week that she feels caught in the crossfire.

“As a casualty of this small victory that they’re trying to claim, the minorities could, in fact, possibly, lose representation,” she said.

Parietti said Charles has got it reversed.

“We think that would provide African-Americans their fair share of representation,” he said.

Judge Garvey ordered that a new election be held, but issued no timetable.

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