IRVINGTON, NJ —
Irvington Municipal Clerk Harold Wiener held a drawing to determine ballot positions for the seven candidates running for the four available ward seats in his office in the Municipal Building on Monday, March 14.
“With the exception of Mr. Pinkney in the East Ward — he was short in the number of petitions that he filed, so he did not make the cut — everybody else that filed did (have enough petitions),” said Wiener on Monday, March 14. “The ballot positions have been drawn. Everybody in a ward election gets Line A on the ballot — the first card that we draw out is 1A and the second is 2A. There were only two candidates in the three wards that are contested and there’s only one candidate in the East Ward because Mr. Pinkney was disqualified.”
According to Wiener, the lineup Irvington voters will see on the official ballot May 10 will be: 1A, Cathy Southerland, and 2A, incumbent Councilman David Lyons, in the North Ward; 1A, Sandy Jones, and 2A, Al-Tariq Shabazz, in the South Ward; 1A, incumbent Councilman Paul Inman, in the East Ward; and 1A, incumbent Councilman Vern Cox, and 2A, NAACP President Merrick Harris, in the West Ward.
“What happens now is we get the numbers and the candidates’ names and their slogans to the printer. The printer prints out proof of the sample ballot that has to be published within 10 days of the drawing or by Thursday, March 24. And from there, the ballots get printed; the county clerk takes the steps necessary to make sure that the mail-in ballots are printed; and the provisional ballots are printed, and the county election officials get involved with the conduct of the election from that standpoint.”
Wiener said the May 10 municipal election is local, but since 2016 is a presidential election year, his office will be busy.
“This will be a busy presidential election year,” said Wiener. “We got the primary election coming up and the general election in November. Everybody is encouraged to vote. This is an important election because (it’s) a two-term president that can’t serve any longer, so we’re going to have somebody new as president. So, as always, we encourage everybody to come out and vote. It’s very, very important to exercise your right to vote. Go to your polling places. If you have any questions, give us a call.”
Wiener wasn’t the only one in Irvington excited for the upcoming 2016 election season.
“I have turned in a sufficient amount of petitions to be a candidate in the 2016 South Ward Election,” said Shabazz on Tuesday, March 8. “We believe that we had to run again. The amount of support we received from the community in the last election is proof that our message of change and progressive ideas resonated with a large segment of Irvington’s residents.”
Shabazz said he is running against Jones because he feels there are some voters in town who would like a legitimate alternative to the dominant Team Irvington Strong social and political machine with which all the incumbent candidates are affiliated.
“We also see our campaign as necessary,” said Shabazz. ”Right now, the South Ward lacks an independent and progressive leader with new ideas. We feel that our campaign brings that to the political landscape here in Irvington. Please watch the video below … our campaign announcement, which was held on Dr. King Day, Jan. 18. Please feel free to reach out, if you have any questions.”
Cox said he is a proud member of Team Irvington Strong, and the majority of people in town are supportive of what Mayor Tony Vauss and the team have done since he was sworn into office in 2014; the plan is for the team to continue doing all they can to make Irvington as clean and safe and prosperous as possible.
“The drawing went very well; I am 1A in the West Ward,” said Cox on Monday, March 14. “Actually, it is Team Irvington Strong all the way. I’m just looking forward to the race and winning and continuing to make progress like we’re making right now in building the town.”
Based on the petitions filed by the March 7 deadline, Inman is the only incumbent council member running uncontested. He is a former Irvington Board of Education president and member of the Team Irvington social and political organization that former Municipal Council President and Essex County Freeholder D. Bilal Beasley founded with Freeholder Lebby Jones.
Although Inman has not stated for the record that he is a member of Tony Vauss’ new Team Irvington Strong, he does appear to be in their good graces as, months ago, the mayor said he was supporting Inman, Jones, Lyons and Cox for re-election.
Southerland and Harris could not be reached for comment by press time this week.