Did the recent municipal tax hike come at the worst possible time? Can’t find work in Hoboken? Don’t know where to park?
You are not alone. These are the issues many Hobokenites face. So what can you do to make a change?
Six people are running in Tuesday’s election to be mayor, and 12 are running for three council-at-large seats representing the entire town.
The election will be held May 12 from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. at 36 polling stations across the town.
If there are runoffs
There can be runoff elections in both the mayoral and the council elections. For the council race, it’s a bit more complicated than for the mayor’s race.
For the mayoral election, if none of the six mayoral candidates achieves more than 50 percent of the vote, then the top two vote-getters will be forced into a runoff on Tuesday, June 9.
For the council race, if no council candidate receives more than 50 percent of the vote on Tuesday, then the six top vote-getters will enter a June runoff.
However, if just one council candidate achieves more than 50 percent of the vote, then all three top vote-getters take their seats without a runoff.
This is different from the ward elections two years ago, in which a runoff could be held in each ward. Since all of the candidates are competing for at-large seats, they would all enter the same runoff.
City Clerk Jim Farina said more than 11,000 people voted in the 2005 municipal election for mayor and three council-at-large members, and that number grew by 1,000 when June runoffs were held.
The six mayoral candidates are Councilman Peter Cammarano, a young election and government law specialist; Councilwoman Beth Mason, a management and organizational consultant; business and financial consultant Ryn Melberg; commercial mortgage broker Frank Orsini; database and work-flow designer Tom Vincent; and Councilwoman Dawn Zimmer, who has experience in crisis communications.
Cammarano, Mason, and Zimmer are the frontrunners and are all sitting council people. Each one is running with a slate of three council candidates.
For council, the following people are running:
Cammarano slate: Angel Alicea, Mike Novak, and Frances Rhodes-Kearns.
Mason slate: Vinnie Addeo, Raul Morales II, and Anthony Pasquale.
Zimmer slate: Ravi Bhalla, Carol Marsh, and Dave Mello.
Independents (not on any slate): Christopher Carbine, Timothy Occhipinti, and Patricia Waiters.
Voters can choose any three, and they do not have to be from the same group.
The council seats
The City Council has nine members. Six of them represent wards of the city. Those seats were elected in 2007. The other three seats are for at-large representatives of the city and are elected simultaneously with the mayor.
The outgoing at-large councilpersons are Cammarano, Terry LaBruno, and Ruben Ramos. LaBruno has chosen not to run for re-election and Ramos will forgo re-election on the council to concentrate on his June re-election campaign for the state Assembly.
The city will pay for the services of five board workers at each of the 36 polling places across Hoboken. Each polling place will have either three Republican workers and two Democratic workers, or vice versa. These workers are employed by the county Board of Elections, but they will be paid $200 by the city for working the election, with additional pay for picking up and dropping off ballot boxes before and after the election.
Farina said these are all computerized ballots. The city reads a tally printout from each polling place on election night.
Absentee ballots – ballots filled out in advance by voters who will be unable to vote on Election Day – will be counted on Tuesday, most likely by 9 p.m., Farina said. Voters can submit an Absentee Ballot Application to the Hudson County Clerk until 3 p.m. on Monday the day before the election. The Hudson County Clerk’s office is located at 583 Newark Ave., the Brennan Courthouse.
Farina expects provisional ballots to be counted by Friday, but the city will know how many there are on election night. Provisional voting means a provisional ballot is filled out at the polling place by a voter who for some reason is not on the voting rolls. It may be due to a clerical error. Those ballots are reviewed by county election officials in the days after the election to determine if they are valid.
If the amount of provisional ballots is less than the amount of votes needed by one candidate to reach more than 50 percent, then they will be moot in determining whether there is a runoff, so candidates will know by Tuesday night that they are in a runoff. If there are a lot of provisional ballots, the candidates may need to wait until Friday to find out the results.
If voters have any questions on Election Day, they can call the City Clerk’s Office at (201) 420-2074.
Anyone who has problems with conduct at the polls or malfunctioning voting machines can call the Hudson County Supervisor of Elections office at (201) 795-6555. Anyone with problems with polling stations not opening on time can call the Hudson County Board of Elections Clerk’s office at (201) 795-6030. And those who feel their voting rights are being threatened can call the New Jersey Division of Elections 24-hour hotline at 1-877-NJVOTER.
Timothy J. Carroll may be reached at email@example.com.