Nutley takes its local politics seriously, and in today’s non-partisan race for all five town commissioner seats, it’s clear that voters are adapting to a municipal election conducted entirely through vote-by-mail ballots.
According to local election officials, 2,242 of a possible 22,192 VBM ballots are already in – a 33% turnout so far — with more expected today and likely through Thursday.
Twelve candidates are running for the five seats, including four incumbents: Mauro Tucci, Al Petracco, Thomas Evans and Mayor Joseph Scarpelli.
By tradition, the top vote-getter becomes the mayor.
The fifth incumbent, Steve Rogers, is not seeking re-election. Rogers, who sought the Republican nomination for governor in 2017, is following his own term-limits pledge.
One of the candidates is John V. Kelly III, the grandson of the late Nutley mayor and assemblyman. Kelly finished sixth in 2016, 587 votes behind Rogers.
Essex County races
Turnout is less in three other Essex municipalities with elections today.
In Orange, where Mayor Dwayne Warren is seeking re-election, 15% of VBM ballots have been returned. Turnout is also 15 in Belleville, where Mayor Michael Melham is looking to expand his council majority. In Irvington, one of two towns in the state with council and school board races, turnout is at 13% so far.
A relatively non-competitive race for the Newark Board of Education has a light turnout, with just 5% of ballots already in.