With Newark school board tallies updated, slate backed by mayor retains sweep

Published: Apr. 25, 2022

There was no change in the outcome of last week’s Newark school election after ballots from missing districts were counted on Monday, according to results posted by the Essex County Clerk’s Office. Officials still haven’t said why ballots were missing for six days.

A “Moving Newark Schools Forward” slate backed by Mayor Ras Baraka retained its lopsided margin of victory for the three open seats on the nine-member Newark Board of Education, according tallies updated on Monday afternoon.

Likewise, votes approving the district’s $1.2 billion budget for the 2022-23 school year overwhelmingly outnumbered no votes under the updated totals.

In addition, the election’s 2.35% turnout initially tabulated on election night remained a low 2.6%, with the additional votes counted on Monday.

Vote totals posted online by the clerk’s office ceased updating on Tuesday night about two hours after polls closed with the 30 districts still unreported. Those partial results remained unchanged the rest of the week. On Thursday, the clerk’s office filed a request in state Superior Court for a judge’s order unlocking the voting machines from the 30 unreported districts, said County Clerk Christopher Durkin.

Judge Thomas Vena granted the order on Friday, and the machines were opened to access the paper ballots and computer cartridges containing the accompanying digital data, Durkin said. He said those ballots were counted Monday and posted by his office Monday afternoon.

Durkin said he did not attend Friday’s hearing, where the Essex County Corporation Counsel’s office represented him. He said ballots are supposed to be taken directly from polling places to his office by workers for the county Board of Elections, a separate agency, and that he did not know why that didn’t happen on election night.

The board of elections secretary, Linda Von Nessi, did not respond to requests for comment on Monday. The corporation counsel’s office also did not respond.

Durkin said official results will not be certified until May 2. In the meantime, he said unofficial results had been posted with 100% of districts reporting and a small number of mail-in ballots still uncounted.

According to the county’s online results page, the three unofficial winners from the Baraka slate are: Crystal Williams, with 2,945 votes; A’Dorian Murray-Thomas, with 2,881; and Daniel Gonzalez, with 2,780. Murray-Thomas and Gonzalez are incumbents, while Williams is a newcomer to the board.

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published this page in News and Politics 2022-04-26 04:14:49 -0700