BLOOMFIELD, NJ — On Nov. 20, Essex County Clerk Chris Durkin released the certified results of the Nov. 6 general elections. Ten candidates for the Bloomfield Board of Education had vied for three three-year seats, and one one-year seat. For the township council, there was an uncontested one-year seat on the ballot.
With the certified results recorded, the positions of the winning candidates were not altered although their certified tallies were greater than the uncertified tallies. This was because the preliminary Election Day counts, which come from the Bloomfield Municipal Clerk’s Office, do not contain provisional, emergency or absentee votes. The municipal clerk is Louise Palagano.
Comparing the preliminary municipal tally to the certified county tally, for the three-year seats, Michael Heller’s votes increased from 4,792 to 5,411; Ralph Walker’s increased from 4,126 to 4,511; and Shane Berger’s increased from 3,482 to 3,922. For the one-year BOE seat, Ben Morse’s vote count went from 3,081 to 3,758. The totals of Councilman Richard Rockwell, a Democrat, increased from 10,518 to 12,043.
Similar to the county results, the preliminary municipal count provided the number of the write-in candidates, but it also provided the names of the write-ins or what voters typed down. For the three-year, BOE seats, there were 57 write-in votes; for the one-year term, 14 write-ins; and for the uncontested council seat, 45 write-ins.
Looking at these results showed that TV personalities had a presence in the voting booth. Although officially unopposed, Rockwell did receive some competition from write-ins. One vote each went to perennial candidates Mickey Mouse, Bart Simpson and Moe Howard, of Three Stooges fame. A Republican finally came forward in the 2018 Bloomfield campaign with “Donald J. Trump” garnering a vote. Nate Jones, possibly the Chicago White Sox pitcher, was given a write-in as was F. J. Choloski. A search of this name found someone living in Bloomfield. Other township notables who received write-in votes for the council were Patricia Gilleran and Luis Linares, who received two.
There were also write-ins for council that did not make much sense: Rokwell; Other; A (two votes); JA DOE; and Rochenel. The name “Richard Rockwell” was also written-in, but Palagano said any name officially on the ballot is not counted when also a write-in. And how it was determined if the same name was written-in more than once by the same voter, that it was not counted more than once, was answered by Durkin.
“At the bottom of each results strip it lists voters write-in choices,” he said in an email. “To the left of the write-in choice it has a code. Each vote has a code. If the same code appears again we know it’s the same voter writing in a name twice. We only count that vote once.”
But Interestingly, some voters were not thinking of flesh-and-blood alternatives and used their write-in as an opportunity to express an issue. Against the unopposed Rockwell, someone wrote-in, “NEED — — OPPOSITION.” Another BOE protest was “NO — — GUNS,” certainly a reference to armed school guard issue that erupted earlier this year. And “School Sucks” received two votes. BOE gobbledygook received votes: MHTOM (three votes); B; Deez-Nutz, and Deez-Nutz, Jr., probably in reference to the satirical 2016 presidential candidate portrayed by Brady C. Olson; SENDAO; and PISANUVICHIT.
Two BOE candidate already on the ballot received write-ins: Shane Berger (1); and Ralph Walker (2). Bob Saget, the TV personality, received a BOE vote, as did the unaffiliated Mickey Mouse. Former BOE member Emily Smith showed up with two votes and Scott Nicastro Jr., whose name appeared in a search as an Independent Bloomfield candidate last year, also received two write-ins. Djanna Hill-Tall, a former BOE candidate, had a vote cast for her and two former BOE members receiving votes were Joe Lopez (2) and Susan Wolf. Sharondmingo and Sharon-D-Mingo were also BOE write-ins. Bloomfield High School teacher Lenore Imhoff received a vote, but so did Zombie-Moutin, which may be a reference to a “Game of Thrones” entity.
And there were write-ins that sounded all-American, as if should these people ever decide to run for office, if elected, they would serve with distinction. Among those named were Matthew Burns; Stephanie Smith; Glenn Hart; Kristal Langford; Jordan Milne; Erin Parker; Patrick Burns; Eric Lovelace; Stanley Rogacki, Jeffrey Pribor Jr., Al Greig; Ronald Castro; Olga Gonzalez Gorelick; and yes, Abraham Lincoln.