SOUTH ORANGE, NJ — Less than a week after the May 11 election, South Orange Trustee Karen Hartshorn Hilton was sworn into her second term on the board on May 17, alongside her running mates and newcomer Trustees Bill Haskins and Braynard “Bobby” Brown.
The election last Tuesday saw poor turnout from villagers, according to the election results sent to the News-Record by Essex County Clerk Chris Durkin on May 17. Despite South Orange having 14,220 residents registered to vote, only 1,240 people, or 8.7 percent, actually voted. South Orange’s 10th voting district had the highest turnout, at 7.7 percent, and the 1st voting district had the lowest, at 2.65 percent. There were also 417 mail-in ballots and 37 provisional ballots, which weren’t assigned to a voting district.
According to the results from Durkin, Brown led the way with 1,120 votes, followed closely by Hilton with 1,099 and Haskins with 1,081. Challenger Neil Chambers, who ran a solo campaign, lost by a wide margin with only 197 votes.
There were seven write-in votes as well. Emily Wilner, Scott Greenstone, Gregory Busch and Gregg Brown each received one write-in vote. The remaining three write-in votes were illegible.
At the May 17 South Orange Board of Trustees meeting, Brown assured all residents that he will serve as a trustee for everyone who voted for him, as well as for those who did not.
“We are all a part of South Orange,” Brown said at the meeting, adding that he is “looking forward to the challenges and the opportunities as a trustee.”
Having been reelected, Hilton said she is most looking forward to continuing her work to enhance the South Orange Public Library building.
“It feels completely marvelous to be reelected. I’m proud of the work I’ve done over the past four years and know that, along with my running mates and colleagues on the Board of Trustees, we can keep making improvements in our village,” Hilton told the News-Record. “I hope the residents will participate in our upcoming work reforming our broken recycling program, engaging with our many committees and, the next time a local election comes around, will vote in our local elections!”
Haskins said he is most looking forward to completing the next phase of the River Greenway project, which will create a biking and walking path through nature to connect South Orange and Maplewood.
“I’m feeling thankful for the opportunity to serve and thankful for all the support I received during the campaign,” Haskins told the News-Record. “Thank you to all who voted, and now is the time for all of us to engage with our municipal government. Pick a meeting that interests you on the calendar of the village website (https://www.southorange.org) and attend. We need to hear from you!”