In Belleville, 1st Ward Councilwoman Marie Strumolo Burke leads labor leader Carmine A. Mattia by 76 votes with an additional 171 ballots being returned since Tuesday.
Voters in the 1st Ward returned 1,141 ballots as of Tuesday, but just 846 were counted. Another 72 ballots came back on Thursday and 99 more today.
Mattia, the business agent for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 827 in Essex County, has the backing of Mayor Michael Melham.
Strumolo Burke ran for mayor in 2014 in a bid marked by allegations that she used a racial slur in a voicemail.
“This is terrible. This is terrible. This is gonna be a (expletive) (N-word) town,” she said in a voicemail message left for Kevin Kennedy, a councilman at the time.
Incumbent Raymond Kimble defeated her by 413 votes that year. She was re-elected to her council seat in 2016 with 72% of the vote.
The Board of Elections was set to certify results this evening, but postponed their meeting until tomorrow in order to process the large number of VBM ballots across the county.
State law sets close of business today as the deadline for ballots to come in, as long as they are postmarked by 8 PM on May 12.
It’s not immediately clear how many of the ballots that arrived today were mailed after the deadline.
There have been multiple reports of ballots taking a week or more to be delivered by the U.S. Postal Service.
The Board of Elections will not count any ballots that come in after today, and it would be up to a candidate to challenge the certification of the election.