Whose Ward Is It, Anyway?

A bureaucratic bungle that may impact the outcome of Montclair’s local election has got residents and candidates perplexed and p-o’d. After weeks of campaigning, and just days before the May 13 vote, more than 160 registered “4th Ward” voters were emailed a notice this week telling them they actually reside in the 3rd Ward. Never mind that the ward lines were redrawn in 2000, and there was an election in 2004 – this is the first notice to be sent out, and they’re going to enforce it. From The Star Ledger:

“How the hell can you say that?” asked David Herron, who has called the 4th Ward home for a quarter-century and is the former president of the Montclair chapter of the NAACP. “You can’t disenfranchise people in the 11th hour.”
R√®nee Baskerville, one of four candidates vying for the 4th Ward seat on Montclair’s council in the May 13 municipal election, fired off a letter to Essex County officials saying the realignment will cause “irreparable harm” to the voters and the candidates.

“That can actually swing an election when it’s this close,” said Baskerville, who said she thinks she had lined up about 30 votes in an apartment house no longer counted as part of the 4th Ward. “To me, the reasonable thing would be to say, ‘We’ll correct this for the next election.’ … Why now?”

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20 COMMENTS

  1. From what I read Mr. Herron is now in the 3rd ward.
    Hey david, there’s nothing wrong with being a 3rd warder!
    Is Herron a public figure? I sure think so and it looks like the Baristas think so. On the Watercooler he’s claiming to be a private person.
    You can’t have it both ways David.
    I guess we’ll see another lawsuit from the “Lawsuit King”.

  2. That certainly does seem to be the tact you moderators are taking, i.e. it is OK to attack him on the Watercooler because he is a public figure. He no longer holds the public position and the post here and on the watercooler have nothing to do with the post he once held.
    Are the mods now coming here to post what they can’t on the watercooler?

  3. So, if he hold no public position he’s not a public person.
    Tell that to Yogi.
    What is it that can’t be posted on the Watercooler about Herron. Are you offering up the dirt on your friend?

  4. moderator! I didn’t moderate the League of Women voters debate where Ted pounded his fist.
    Note to Teddy–use your shoe next time
    Don’t you remember I admitted my affiliation with the Thrive campaign here
    https://www.baristanetnew.wpengine.com/2008/04/baristanet_interviews_mayoral.php
    Thank you complainerpuss!
    Yes you are correct. I am working for Ted Mattox on his campaign.
    I thought that this was a great way of Viral marketing but now that you’ve outed me I’ll have to stop.
    Sorry Ted.
    Posted by Belletones | April 19, 2008 12:13 PM

  5. Wait, did I hear my name mentioned? Oh, its you two again! Didn’t your mother already send you both to your rooms and tell you no more internet until you stop acting like children?

  6. “He no longer holds the public position and the post here and on the watercoooler have nothing to do with the post he once held. ”
    Posted by SoccerMom08 | May 1, 2008 11:06 AM
    I guess he’s not the man he once was. What has changed? Does he deny his past or wish that people forget who he once was?

  7. big_patti, how about sticking with one posting name, makes it easier.
    So if you are working for a campaign as you mention, how can you continue to hold the cooler mod position?

  8. I thought this was an election thread.
    Oh it is. The Thrive people are here and posting big_time

  9. I’d like to moderate the next forum. I’d be a cooler mod than the mods that did.
    How do I become a moderator for the next forum?
    SoccerMom08 seems to know a lot about moderating. Maybe she can tell me.
    Are you a moderator SoccerMom08? Are you a cooler moderator than me SoccerMom08?

  10. That must be a learned thang. Is it like waterboarding?
    So you are a moderator, I knew it. Are you rejecting posts right now?

  11. sorry but I’m not attached to them or psrt of them. Can you roll over and ask the candidate to log in?

  12. I’m not sure why the member of the Thrive campaign is trying to lump me in with other posters.
    I’d be glad to talk about labbies and/or quantum physics.

  13. How ridiculous. Two weeks before the elections too. I am glad to see that Sen. Gill is taking act.

  14. This article by Phill Read was in yesterday’s Star Ledger –
    Friday, May 02, 2008
    BY PHILIP READ
    Star-Ledger Staff
    “Gill asks state A.G. to probe redistricting ‘error’
    164 voters told of shift to new ward just weeks before Montclair election”
    “State Sen. Nia H. Gill yesterday called on the state attorney general to launch an investigation into a years-old “mistake” whose discovery resulted in the shift of 164 vot ers out of Montclair’s 4th Ward just two weeks before an election.
    The voters in the largely African-American 4th Ward were noti fied by postcard this week that a boundary-line shift, a redistricting necessitated by the last Census, had “moved” them to the neighboring 3rd Ward.
    The ward maps had been re- drawn, but the voters were never informed — until now.
    “It is unacceptable that this ‘error’ was not discovered until eight years after the 2000 Census and almost 2 weeks before Mont clair municipal elections,” Gill, a Democrat whose district includes Montclair, wrote in a letter to At torney General Anne Milgram.
    The arrival of the postcard noti fications drew a protest from R?nee Baskerville, one of four candidates for the 4th Ward council seat. In a letter to Essex County election officials, she said the late realignment would cause “irreparable harm” to the voters and the candidates.
    David Herron, a former head of the Montclair chapter of the NAACP who lives in the affected neighborhood, was incensed.
    “You can’t disenfranchise people in the 11th hour,” he said. “Now I’m in the 3rd Ward. I haven’t been paying attention to any of the 3rd Ward candidates. It was not my ward.”
    All the 4th Ward candidates are African-American. All the 3rd Ward candidates are white.
    The affected voters live on parts of Bloomfield Avenue, Elm and Union streets and Gates and Haw thorne avenues.
    Essex County election officials were at a loss to explain the “mistake,” saying it might have been the result of a software glitch that didn’t “move” the voters from one list to another. It even went unnoticed in Montclair’s last municipal election four years ago.
    Back then, those voters received 4th Ward ballots and no doubt voted for 4th Ward candi dates, ballots that were in fact counted even if they were technically in the 3rd Ward.
    “You have municipal elections that can turn on 20, 10 votes, and they have,” Gill said by phone late yesterday. “Is this happening across the state?”
    On Wednesday, the Essex County board of elections contacted the Attorney General’s Office. “Once the error was found, the vot ers have to be moved,” Linda Von Nessi, the board’s clerk, said of the legal opinion.
    In her letter to Milgram, Gill said: “If you are unwilling or unable to immediately investigate this matter, I will request that the Senate Legislative Oversight Commit tee undertake the inquiry.”
    State Senate President Richard Codey, who is to meet with the at torney general this morning, said the whole thing defies the imagination.
    “What’s amazing was there was an election in Montclair four years ago,” Codey said yesterday. “How could this not be picked up? It’s just mind-boggling.”

  15. May 12, 2008
    As of this afternoon, the Superior Court of New Jersey has nullified a
    notice given two weeks ago to certain voters in the 4th Ward that they
    had been moved to the 3rd Ward. As a result, these voters will
    continue to vote in the 4th Ward. This order affects only
    approximately 164 voters residing at the following locations:
    62-292 Bloomfield Avenue (even numbers)
    2-58 Elm Street (even numbers)
    2-48 Gates Avenue (even numbers)
    1-17 Hawthorne Avenue (odd numbers)
    1-15 (odd numbers) and 2-16 Union Street (even numbers)

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