WEST ORANGE, NJ — Essex County Clerk Christopher Durkin has released the certified the November election results for most of the county. The sole election in the county not certified as of press time was the Board of Education in Bloomfield, where a tie triggered a recount.
According to Durkin’s certified results, voter turnout was poor; however, Durkin has previously told the West Orange Chronicle that voter registration numbers are not wholly accurate as names are not removed from the registry unless requested. Therefore, if someone moves away, they are still listed as a registered voter. Essex County saw a voter turnout of 23.08 percent. West Orange had a voter turnout of 18.86 percent.
Election season in West Orange was fairly quiet, with just three challengers running for two open seats on the Board of Education. Jennifer Tunnicliffe won by a landslide, while Gary Rothstein came in just ahead of Jeremias Salinas. Townwide, with 6,826 ballots cast, Tunnicliffe received 4,144 votes, Rothstein received 2,887 votes and Salinas received 2,410; there were 39 write-in votes.
In three of West Orange’s five wards, Tunnicliffe came in first, Rothstein second and Salinas third; the exceptions were Wards 3 and 5, where Salinas came in second and Rothstein came in third. In Ward 1, out of 1,234 ballots cast, Tunnicliffe received 788 votes, Rothstein received 601 votes and Salinas received 405 votes; there were four write-in votes. In Ward 2, of 666 ballots cast, Tunnicliffe received 388 votes, Rothstein received 228 votes and Salinas received 220; there was one write-in vote. In Ward 3, of 215 ballots cast, Tunnicliffe received 133 votes, Salinas received 72 votes and Rothstein received 48; there were zero write-in votes. In Ward 4, of 2,783 ballots cast, Tunnicliffe received 1,690 votes, Rothstein received 1,209 votes and Salinas received 1,008; there were 12 write-in votes. In Ward 5, of 494 ballots cast, Tunnicliffe received 324 votes, Salinas received 217 votes and Rothstein received 126; there were two write-in votes.
Among the write-in votes, West Orange residents voted for former BOE candidate Adam Kraemer, who was at the time running for freeholder; Sue Freivald; Gary Sudol; and Meghan Bereza.
In the 27th Legislative District, incumbent Democrats John McKeon and Mila Jasey won re-election by landslides. Districtwide, which includes parts of Essex and Morris counties, McKeon and Jasey each took approximately 32 percent of the vote, while Republican challengers Michael Dailey and Mauro Tucci each took approximately 18 percent. In Essex County, of 28,368 ballots cast, McKeon received 20,178 votes and Jasey received 19,586, while Dailey received only 6,096 votes and Tucci received 6,110; there were 41 write-in votes.
In West Orange, out of 6,826 ballots cast, McKeon received 5,489 votes and Jasey received 5,155 votes, while Dailey received only 1,066 votes and Tucci received 1,057 votes; there were eight write-in votes. Among the write-in votes, one West Orange resident voted to make the Rev. Lanel Guyton, of Saint Matthew AME Church in Orange, an assemblyman for the 27th District.
There were two countywide elections, one for county register and one for freeholder at large. In both elections, the Democratic candidates won big.
For county register, out of 91,105 ballots cast, Democrat Juan Rivera Jr. received 58,640 votes, while Republican Kristina Christoforou received 16,378 and independent Joanne Miller received 3,030; there were 78 write-in votes. In this election, the towns of Belleville, Bloomfield, Caldwell, East Orange, Glen Ridge, Irvington, Livingston, Maplewood, Millburn, Montclair, Newark, Nutley, Orange, South Orange, Verona and West Orange went Democrat, while Cedar Grove, Essex Fells, Fairfield, North Caldwell, Roseland and West Caldwell went Republican.
In West Orange, out of 6,826 ballots cast, Rivera received 4,562 votes, Christoforou received 1,103 votes and Miller received 217; there were five write-in votes. Among the write-in votes, one West Orange resident voted for NJ 11th for Change activist Saily Avelenda to be register.
For freeholder, of the 91,105 ballots cast, Democratic incumbent Romaine Graham received 58,876 votes, while Republican Adam Kraemer received 16,794; there were 264 write-in votes. In this election, the towns of Belleville, Bloomfield, Caldwell, East Orange, Glen Ridge, Irvington, Livingston, Maplewood, Millburn, Montclair, Newark, Nutley, Orange, South Orange, Verona, West Caldwell and West Orange went Democrat, while Cedar Grove, Essex Fells, Fairfield and North Caldwell went Republican. Roseland was split, with each candidate receiving 620 votes. West Caldwell, which went Republic for county register, went Democrat for freeholder, but the totals were extremely close, with 1,091 for Graham and 1,086 for Kraemer.
In West Orange, out of 6,826 ballots cast, Graham received 4,473 votes and Kraemer received 1,262; there were 14 write-in votes. Among the write-in votes for freeholder, West Orange residents voted for activist Saily Avelenda, Mayor Robert Parisi and West Orange first lady Sheila Parisi.
There was also a statewide nonpartisan question for voters to contemplate. Public Question No. 1 asked if voters wanted to amend the state Constitution to allow eligible veterans in continuing care retirement communities to receive the value of the property tax deduction available to veterans who own homes. With this amendment, the continued care retirement community would receive the tax deduction and then pass the value of the deduction on to the residing eligible veterans as a payment or credit. New Jersey voters overwhelmingly supported the amendment, with approximately 76 percent voting in favor of it.
In Essex County, with 91,105 ballots cast, 51,695 voters supported the amendment and 9,022 did not. In West Orange, with 6,826 ballots cast, 4,302 voters supported the amendment and 747 did not.