WEST ORANGE, NJ — The New Jersey gubernatorial election went as had been expected, but elections at the local level did offer some surprises in Essex County. A few weeks after the election, Essex County Clerk Christopher J. Durkin certified the results, making official the winners reported in the News-Record/West Orange Chronicle.
In addition to the winners, Durkin released the data on the percentage of voters who turned out to vote and how each district voted Nov. 7.
For the West Orange Board of Education, challenger Ken Alper defeated challenger Chris Diaz; Alper will take the seat previously held by Laura Lab, who opted not to run for re-election.
According to the certified results, 12,696 West Orange residents cast ballots, although 33,582 were registered to vote; this makes for a voter turnout of just 37.81 percent. However, these numbers can be misleading because when residents move away or die, they are not automatically taken off the voting registry. According to the 2010 Census, West Orange had 35,264 residents older than 18, though this does not denote which were registered to vote; were all these residents registered to vote, which is highly unlikely, West Orange’s voter turnout decreases to 36 percent.
West Orange is divided into five wards, which are then divided into 37 districts. Ward 1 had the highest voter turnout with 39.31 percent, while Ward 3 had the lowest with 27.26. By district, District 12 in Ward 4 had the highest voter turnout with 46.77 percent, while District 2 in Ward 3 had the lowest with 22.61 percent.
In the Board of Education election, including mail-in ballots and provisional ballots, Alper garnered the most votes with a total of 4,748. Diaz, who did not succeed in gaining a seat on the BOE, received 3,980 votes. However, Alper did not carry every ward — 1, 2 and 4 favored Alper, while 3 and 5 favored Diaz.
There were 20 write-in votes, including one apiece for: Lanel Guyton, Emanuel Perez, Joseph Bomba, Jennifer Kaywork, Aaron Marcos, Owillan Kehoe, Mark Sofer Fisch, Aaron Williams, Ryan Westman, Winston McLaughlin, Paul Cunningham, Arrahom Rosenberg, Peter Acevedo and Sharon Sherman, who ran unsuccessfully for the board last year.
Additionally, some West Orange write-ins for governor included: West Orange Councilman Joe Krakoviak, state Sen. Richard Codey and West Orange resident Bob Hoatson, who had been running for that office earlier in the campaign season, before dropping out. Also, for the District 4 seat on the Essex County Board of Chosen Freeholders, write-in votes were recorded for Sheila Parisi, wife of Mayor Robert Parisi; Roz Moskovitz Bielski, a leading member of the West Orange Pedestrian Safety Advisory Board; senior advocate Rosary Morelli; former Board of Education attorney Steven Christiano; township attorney Richard Trenk; and retiring BOE member Laura Lab. For the state Senate election for the 27th Legislative District, someone wrote in West Orange resident Akil Khalfani.