ORANGE, NJ — According to Lillian Moore, Orange West Ward City Council candidate Michael Scott’s campaign manager, Scott answered all the residency questions City Clerk Joyce Lanier raised when she originally decided he was ineligible to run in the nonpartisan municipal election on Tuesday, May 8, and he is now officially on the ballot.
In fact, Moore said Scott settled his residency questions in time for him to participate in the ballot drawing that Lanier conducted Wednesday, March 14. Lanier confirmed Scott is 1A in the in the West Ward on the Tuesday, May 8, ballot, followed by: incumbent West Ward Harold L. Johnson at 2A and former West Ward Councilman Hassan Abdul-Rasheed at 3A. The other ballot positions are: Brandon Matthews at 1A and incumbent Councilwoman Jamie Summers-Johnson at 2A in the South Ward; incumbent Councilwoman Tency Eason 1A and challenger Sharief Williams 2A in the North Ward; and incumbent Councilman and city council President Kerry Coley at 1A and challenger Dawan Johnson at 2A in the East Ward.
Unlike Scott, current Orange Board of Education member Kyleesha Wingfield-Hill, who is attempting to run in the East Ward City Council race, did resolve her residency questions in time to participate in the ballot drawing. According to Lanier, Wingfield-Hill is still scheduled to appear before Newark Superior Court Judge Tom Vena for a show cause hearing Monday, April 2.
“According to my interpretation of the statute and with the advice of my election counsel, in order to run for an elected position in a ward, you need to live in that ward for one year before the election. That was the case with both, according to their voter registration profiles,” Lanier said.
Scott and Wingfield-Hill were among the 11 prospective candidates to turn in nominating petitions by the filing deadline of Monday, March 5, but both were disqualified because of residency questions and responded by challenging Lanier’s decision and filing legal complaints.
“Michael Scott has to bring in proof that resided at 308 Carteret Terrace by the end of today or else we’ll be back in court tomorrow,” said Lanier on Tuesday, March 13. “Kyleesha Wingfield-Hill was given a new court date for April 2. The ballot drawing is still being held tomorrow.”
Lanier previously said, “The requirements for running for one of the ward seats are the same as running for mayor or one of the at large council seats.” She said incumbent and prospective city council candidates “must be a citizen, resident and registered voter of the city of Orange Township for one year prior to the election.”
“The number of signed petitions needed to run for public office varies from ward to ward based on the number of registered voters in each ward,” said Lanier on Monday, Jan. 22. “For the North Ward, you need 37 valid signatures. For the East Ward, it’s 44 signatures. West Ward is 34 and South Ward is 47.”
Once the requisite number of petitions needed for each ward were turned in, Lanier said she had to check them to make sure that the numbers are correct and verify that the signatures actually belong to people qualified to sign them. Then she released an official list of fully certified candidates eligible to run in the May 8 election. Then Lanier conducted the official ballot drawing Wednesday, March 14, to determine the individual candidates’ ballot positions.