This coming Tuesday, Nov. 6, residents of the 4th Ward will be asked for the third time in seven months to select who their council representative will be for the next four years.
The choice is between Dawn Zimmer, a 39-year-old mother of two who works in marketing and moved to Hoboken in 2002 from New York City, and Christopher Campos, a single, 30-year-old attorney who lives with a roommate and was born and raised in Hoboken's Housing Authority projects.
Both candidates have spent time on the council. Zimmer spent a little less than three months on the council, and Campos held the same seat for six years.
The election will be held in conjunction with the state legislative election, through which residents will determine who their State Senator, Assemblypersons and County Executive will be for the next two or four years, depending on the office. Residents will also vote on a number of issues, from authorizing the state to issue bonds in the amount of $450 million for stem cell research, to a municipal tax of two cents of every $100 of assessed property value to be used for the acquisition and development of lands for recreation and conservation purposes.
The tax is modeled after the Open Space Trust Fund for Hudson County. Since its creation in 2005, the fund has accrued over $5.2 million for open space initiatives across the county. If it is passed, it will go back before the council for final approval.
Depending on his or her district, 4th ward voters can cast their ballot at one of four polling stations set up throughout the ward. The polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.
If you do not know which district you live in, or have any problems when you attempt to vote, you may contact the Hudson County Board of Elections at (201) 795-6555. Voters are expected to bring photo identification with them in case their residency is challenged at the station.
A recap of the 4th Ward race
Campos, who entered the May 8 City Council election as the sitting incumbent for the 4th Ward, finished first in the initial four-candidate race, receiving approximately 47 percent of the overall vote. He got 137 more votes than Zimmer, who was the first runner-up.
Zimmer, however, went on to defeat Campos by eight votes in the July 12 runoff.
In August, Campos challenged the results in a complaint filed with the state Superior Court, alleging over 200 counts of voting irregularities and voting fraud committed by Zimmer and/or people in her campaign.
Zimmer countered by filing her own petition that cited similar challenges against Campos and individuals in his campaign.
In September, both Zimmer and Campos agreed to a third election "so that the people, rather than a court, [would] make the final decision," according to a joint statement.
The runoff election results were nullified by the candidates' agreement to hold a third election, which resulted in Judge Maurice Gallipoli telling Zimmer to vacate her seat on the council.
In addition to allegations against one another, both candidates recently experienced unpleasant encounters with residents who have ties to their opponents.
In August, a paid Zimmer campaign worker filed a harassment complaint against Campos, alleging that he had yelled something at her from a car (though she did not say exactly what was said in the official report to the court).
Last month, Zimmer was accused of allegedly grabbing an 18-year-old's wrist during an attempt to allegedly wrestle a camera off of him as he took pictures of her while she walked her dog. The teen, whose brother was a paid campaign worker for Campos, subsequently filed a simple assault complaint against Zimmer, who countered with a harassment complaint against the teen.
Since they are both former council members, both Zimmer and Campos' cases were relocated to different venues, the dates of which have not yet been set.
Michael Mullins can be reached at email@example.com. Fred Frazier confronts challenge
Former 4th Ward candidate Freddy Frazier, who received 108 votes in the May 8 election, was recently the subject of an investigation by the Hudson County Superintendent of Elections Office as a result of a challenge to his residency by Campos' supporter and former Jersey City Mayor Gerard "Jerry" McCann.
Frazier was eliminated from the July runoff due to the large amount of votes that Zimmer and Campos received.
In a letter sent out late last week, Superintendent of Elections Marie Borace informed McCann that Investigator Roberto Alvarez was sent to the address Frazier had listed in his registration. Borace wrote in the letter that Alvarez found several discrepancies, such as: Frazier did not reside in the apartment listed in his registration, nor was his name found on any mailbox or bell at the residence. In addition, the individual currently residing in the apartment said that she did "not know anybody by that name in the building," according to the report.
When asked if he actually lived at that address, Frazier said that he did, but said it was at a different apartment number than what was listed with the Board of Elections.
On Monday, Frazier invited this reporter to the apartment where his roommate Fernanda Gonzalez affirmed that he had lived for the past six years. Frazier also presented a New Jersey State Driver's License with the address on it, as well as several letters mailed to the address with his name on it.
"I have no idea how this happened," Frazier said. "I've voted at this address every election since moving to Hoboken and I've never had this problem before."
Frazier added that he was not aware he was registered under the wrong address until the discrepancy was brought to his attention.
According to an employee at the office of Superintendent of Election, Frazier would be permitted to vote on election day as along as he presented photo identification at the polling station and filled out a change-of-address form. - MDM