If work makes the day go faster, it’s been a long, slow day for poll workers around Montclair working the polls for Montclair’s Municipal Election. We should say “election” because with the exception of one race in the Third Ward, there are no choices for Montclair residents for any of the other council seats.
There is the option to write-in a candidate for any of the seats — Mayor, two At-Large seats and four Ward seats (provided the write-in lives in the corresponding ward). According to Linda Wanat, a write-in candidate can win, adding that they have to “agree to accept the position before they can be confirmed as the successful candidate.”
You have until 8 p.m. to vote. Montclair TV34 will broadcast real time results as they come in from the Municipal Clerk’s office. Tune in on Comcast/FiOS 34 or on the TV34 streaming website: https://montclair.peg.tv
In 2012, the township spent about $51,000 on the municipal election, a cost that included the new council’s swearing in and reception. That year, just 29.9% of Montclair’s roughly 28,000 registered voters came out to the polls. This year, with an uncontested election, expect to see much lower numbers, as our informal exit polls seem to indicate.
At 2 p.m. today less than 50 people had come to Mount Hebron school to cast votes in the First Ward.
At 10:45 am, there had been only 10 voters. Baristanet spoke to the 10th voter who said she did a write-in for mayor and left others blank. “I don’t want to vote for the same Mayor and Council members, but I voted today on principal.”
Another 2nd Ward resident spoke to Baristanet before voting. “I may write in some votes, and they will probably be locals I find interesting and entertaining.”
One woman volunteer at the desk said she thought having open polling places in non-contested wards was a waste of tax payers’ money.
At 9:45 am, there had been around 60 voters total in the 3 districts of the 3rd ward, the only ward with a choice —incumbent Sean Spiller or Maureen Edelson.
Baristanet spoke with two voters in the 3rd ward, who shared their choices:
“I have not voted yet. But when I do vote later on today (with my son helping me in the booth, a teachable moment!) at the United Way Building, I will be voting for Maureen Edelson. I am not at all pleased with the lack of opposition and debate in this election and more importantly in how the town is running. It’s very peculiar and not at all what is needed. Discourse is not really being had at the governing level of our town,” sayd a Montclair resident, preferring to remain anonymous.
“I’m heading over in 10 to vote for Sean Spiller. He has always come through for my block, such as pushing the Township to deal with a foreclosure the bank had allowed to deteriorate without consequences. My parents were both public school teachers and I appreciate his commitment to public education and work as a teacher.” ~ Elizabeth Reubman, 3rd Ward
Baristanet spoke to a 4th Ward resident who hadn’t gone to the polls yet. “I’m planning to vote but to be honest it’s a lower priority than most years. So if, for example my kids are really cranky or I get too busy I might miss it. But more likely than not I’ll vote.” When we asked him if he had any plans to Write-In a candidate, he said no.
We caught up with a resident in the 4th Ward who had just voted at Ward 4 District 5. “A 6% voter turnout is predicted for the municipal election. Whether or not your ward had a contested race, you lost your right to complain and criticize for the next four years if you sit this one out.”
On Twitter and Facebook, many residents seemed surprised to learn that a) there was an election today and b) that most candidates were running unopposed.
@baristanet I don't understand elections happening when no one is paying attention. Why isn't this occurring in November?
— Patrick Del Negro (@BoredofSunshine) May 10, 2016