It’s Raining Votes At Essex County Clerk Office, Montclair Voter Turnout at 10,011 and Counting

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?

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  1. All we needed to do was grab a pen, check off our favorite candidate and either leave the postage free ballot in our mail slots for the carrier to take or bring it to a mail box and still only 10,000+ people voted. That’s beyond disappointing. It shows that no matter how easy we make voting, most people just can’t be bothered.

    Of course, those same non-voters will be loudly complaining about all kinds of Township things that the new mayor does/doesn’t do.

  2. Caphilly, Recognize that some conservative, limited-government voters would not have been able to vote for many of the candidates on principle and might have sat this one out. Believe it or not, a candidate who calls fellow & sister council members ‘comrade,’ or who doesn’t perceive conflicts of interest, is not attractive to many conservative Republican Americanist voters.

    Further, many of the ‘registered’ voters – likely many thousands – no longer reside in town. (It’s important to return those ballots to the County Board of Elections so that the individuals can be taken off the voter rolls, and show a truer number of registered resident voters in the future.)

    When weighing those two factors, 10,000+ votes can be perceived as pretty good, especially compared with prior years. One can measure it at about 1 per Montclair household, which is a glass-half full perception.

  3. It is more than a little disheartening that the Clerk is making a hard stop on ballot delivery by May 14, unless he can guarantee that all the ballots cast will make it there on time.

    What if the mail processor got sick and the ballots didn’t make it into the Clerk’s office until Monday? With such a close race, every vote counts and it should be counted.

  4. Selma,

    We got our ballot hand-delivered to our doors on 4/22. There were no debates. Maybe there is a voter that was swayed by Spiller’s 22nd mail flyer or Yaccobelli’s 10th text that had a Star Wars endorsement. All someone had to do is fill in some little circles, seal the envelope and post it. No stamp necessary.

    Seriously, how hard is it to submit your ballot in timely way?

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