Hey Montclair, we actually voted this time!
Montclair votes came in like a microburst Wednesday at the Essex County Clerk’s office, mailing in more than 1500 votes, bringing the new total number of ballots returned to 10,011. These last-minute votes as well as votes that were postmarked earlier but just received are being counted.
Ballots can still be received and counted by the Board of Elections up to today, Thursday May 14th, as long as the ballot was postmarked on Election Day (May 12th) or earlier.
“Those are all the voters so far that have submitted ballots to be counted,” says Essex County Clerk Chris Durkin, of the 10,011 number. “Not all will be qualified, but it’s very impressive. That has to be a record, at least for a long time for Montclair voters.”
The ballots received yesterday, as well as votes that are received today, and deemed qualified, are then run through an optical scanner to be counted. Any questionable ballots need to validated by the Board of Elections who will meet Friday at 11 a.m. to make a determination of all ballots in question. Then, any ballots from that group that become qualified will be also be run through the optical scanner. Also on Friday, and continuing on Saturday and possibly Sunday, the counting of write-in votes for the election will take place.
All votes have to be counted before an election can be certified and that’s always the case, says Durkin. “This is no different than any other election in terms of the time it takes to certify results,” he adds.
Back in 2012, days after unofficial winners were called based on the Election Day results and the victory parties had happened, the official vote count was released.
On Monday, the results will be certified and the final results will be uploaded to Essex County Clerk website.
Durkin says at 8:35 p.m. Tuesday, when a report was ran from the optical scanner and uploaded to the website, was the first anyone had the unofficial results. The same will be the case on Monday when a new report is generated to get final results.
So what does it all mean for the races in Montclair?
Montclair’s race is not anywhere near as close as other Essex County towns. In Orange, two candidates are only one vote apart for the councilor at large seat.
Montclair’s councilor at large race – the closest contest – has Peter Yacobellis in the lead with 3,728 votes, Bob Russo with 3,640 and Roger Terry with 3,381, per the unofficial results.
Will the unofficial results hold?
Matt Krayton of Publitics, the team for Sean Spiller’s campaign, says they expect new votes to follow the same patterns that they have in each ward, and for the lead Spiller has to hold.
Stay tuned. And what do you think about the whole vote by mail experience — should it become the new way to vote?