While Orange residents digest their city's leadership changes, Irvington voters are awaiting the Essex County Clerk's Office Election's call on a North Ward council race cliffhanger.
County Clerk Christopher Durkin and Deputy Clerk-Elections Division Eva Yanez told "Local Talk" at 10:23 p.m. May 8 that incumbent David Lyons holds a seven point lead on challenger Richard Williams. That lead may stay or change pending how the count of provisional and/or any emergency ballots go in the Newark Hall of Records May 11.
Counting provisional and/or emergency ballots is one reason why all the clerk's office-derived election result figures remain unofficial until May 21. That 14-day period allows for any recounts or other challenges prior to Durkin's certifying the results as officials.
All voting machines in all six towns that held non-partisan elections in Essex County May 8 will be impounded and watched over by the State Police as a standard procedure. Essex County Sheriff's Officers, according to Orange Council President Tency Eason May 2, were to also be deployed for monitoring at all polling stations May 8.
The re-formed mayor-council lineup is to be made official by their respective swearing in on or by July 1. Current and outgoing incumbents remain in leadership until then.
Former Irvington Board of Education member Paul Inman is poised to succeed the outgoing as the township's East Ward council member. Second-time candidate Charnette Orelien is to succeed departing Council President John Sowell as West Ward representative.
Sandra R. Jones retains her South Ward council seat against a write-in campaign by Ronald Alston.
The voters' mixing of new and returning mayor-council faces continued in Montclair and West Orange.
Newcomer Robert Jackson, at a current 47.94 percent of the vote, is likely Montclair's next mayor. Jackson is 1,362 votes ahead of Harvey Susswein with Karen Turner trailing.
Incumbent mayor Jerry Fried declined re-election after a single term in office. Respective incumbents Cary Africk of the Second Ward, Nick Lewis of the Third Ward and At-Large Councilman Roger Terry helped reshape Montclair's council dais by not running again.
Former Montclair mayor Robert Russo and challenger Rich McMahon received the most votes to take the township's two council seats from the outgoing Lewis and Deputy Mayor Kathryn Weller-Demming. First Ward voters heavily favored William Hurlock, however, over incumbent Rich Murnick.
Robin Schlager came out ahead of two other challengers for Africk's Second Ward seat. Sean Spiller similarly bested two others for Lewis' Third Ward seat. Renee Baskerville was virtually unchallenged in her Fourth Ward Council re-election.
West Orange voters changed their council lineup by re-electing Joe Krakoviak but favoring challenger Jerry Guraino over incumbent Sal M. Anderton in a seven-way race for two at-large council seats.
The statewide spotlight shone on Orange, Irvington, Montclair and West Orange in part because they were four of 22 New Jersey municipalities holding nonpartisan municipal elections May 8. Essex County, which also saw council elections in Belleville and Nutley, was a particular hotspot.
"There were concerns over one machine not functioning in Montclair and in getting results downloaded from another machine in Orange," said Durkin to "Local Talk" in his office 9:55 p.m. May 8. "In fact, we had a few more voters tonight than we had in 2008."
Comparing the unofficial May 8, 2012 results of all six towns' races with the official May 13, 2008 counts (including the latter's absentee/provisional/emergency ballots) actually shows a narrow decline.
Durkin's office recorded 29,901 votes May 13, 2008, which comes out to 23.93 percent of 124,921 countywide registered voters. May 8's figures so far counted 29,155 voters for 20.72 percent of a countywide 140,723 voting pool.
Durkin also said that Hawkins drew about the same percentage of voters May 8, 2012 as he had in his successful May 13, 2008 mayoral bid. "Local Talk," when comparing the two results, found that Hawkins actually drew more votes and a greater electoral percentage that he had four years ago.
Hawkins, on May 13, 2008, drew 1,061 votes or 30.46 percent of that vote in a six-way mayoral contest. Hawkins, Tuesday night, garnered 1,350 votes or 33.27 percent.
Janice Morrell, who also ran for mayor Tuesday and in 2008, also gained more voters and a greater percentage. Morrell received 700 votes and 17.25 percent to take third in the four-way contest May 8. She amassed 417 votes and 11.97 percent in 2008.
Lyons currently holds 329 or 33.23 percent of Irvington's North Ward Council vote. Williams holds 322 votes or 32.53 percent.
Independents Jameson Vincent and Thecy M. Faustin are ranked third and fourth. Vincent drew 178 votes for 17.98 percent; Faustin 112 votes for 11.31 percent.
Eric Dixon rounded out the official candidate field with 47 votes or 4.75 percent. There were two write-in votes for .2 percent.
Jones, at 542 votes, drew 93.93 percent of South Ward voters. How many of the 35 write-in votes, comprising 6.07 percent, were for Alston.
Inman, in the East Ward, garnered 518 votes for 79.69 percent. Quadir A. Selby, who challenged Mayor Wayne Smith in 2010, received 128 votes for 19.69 percent. There were four write-ins.
Orelien received 456 West Ward votes for 48.20 percent. Newark Fire Capt. John Brown mustered 291 for 30.76 percent.
Independent runner Linda Vann-Dupree amassed 198 votes for 20.93 percent. There was one write-in for .11 percent.
While there were no officially named slates in Irvington, like "Team Irvington," there were candidates sharing the same poster styles. Inman and Orelien, for example, placed their single head photos to the right side of posters that shared a central white horizontal band. Dixon and Selby's posters sported a stylized torch.
One of Inman's campaign workers handed a "Local Talk" staff member a palm card before the Irvington Public Library at about 6 p.m. May 8. The staff member was headed to the library, whose basement doubled as a North Ward polling station, for research and not to vote.
On one side of the palm card had President Barack Obama's picture; the other was of the candidate and "Democrat" above it. The May 8 elections were ostensibly nonpartisan elections with party primaries set for June.
Montclair voters meanwhile chose from among three teams - "For Montclair," "Montclair 2012" and "Real Progress Montclair" - plus four independent runners.
Montclair 2012 leader Jackson led the mayoral race with 3,878 votes or 47.94 percent. RPM ticket leader Karen Turner took second at 2,516 or 31.10. FM poleman Harvey Susswein took third at 1,682 or 20.79. There were 13 write-ins.
Montclair 2012 running mates Russo and McMahon ran on Jackson's coattails into the two at-large seats. Russo amassed 3,488 or 23.34; McMahon followed with 2,720 or 18.20.
RPM's Lee Ann Carlson and Peter Zorich took third and fourth. Carlson tallied 2,488 or 16.65. Zorich nabbed 2,456 or 16.44.
FM's Barr roubnded out the top five with 1,927 or 12.90 percent. Independent incumbent Weller-Demming drew 1,240 or 8.3. Independent Patricia Hurt tallied 603 or 4.04 and there were 21 write-ins.
First Ward voters enabled FM's Hurlock to get 1,233 or 56.43. Montclair 2012's Murnick mustered 941 or 43.15. There were seven write-ins.
Second Ward voters gave Montclair 2012's Schlager 1,168 or 54.43. FM's Walter Springer, at 592 or 27.59, was second and independent Selma Avdicevic tallied 378 or 17.61. There were eight write-ins.
Montclair 2012's Spiller, 716 or 44.86, was the Third Ward's top vote-getter. RPM's Chris Swenson (586 or 36.72), Jeff Jacobson (288 or 18.05) and six write-ins followed.
Fourth Ward incumbent Dr. Baskerville, who faced three opponents in 2008, tallied 1,190 votes for 98.10 percent. The remainder went to 23 write-ins.
West Orange voters made Krakoviak (2,452 or 18.25) the top vote-getter among the seven at-large candidates. Jerry Guarino (2,268 or 16.89) locked up the other at-large seat. Patty Spagno (2,122 or 15.80) took third and ousted incumbent Anderton (2,022 or 15.05) held fourth.
Claire Silvestri (1,646 or 12.25), Jake Freivald (1,583 or 11.79) and Rodolfo "Stop Taxes" Rodriguez (1,312 or 16.89) rounded out the official field. There were 27 write-ins.