Home>Campaigns>15 days befor Essex non-partisan elections, large number of VBMs remain unreturned

Candidates Sheena Collum, Summer Jones, Jen Greenberg, and Olivia Lewis-Chang with supporters at the Village Hall Restaurant and Beer Garden on March 12, 2023. (Photo: Joy Yagid).

15 days befor Essex non-partisan elections, large number of VBMs remain unreturned

By David Wildstein, April 24 2023 3:14 pm

In the race for two Verona Township Council seats, 23% of vote-by-mail ballots have been returned in advance of the May 9 non-partisan election.

In South Orange, where candidates for Village President and Trustee are unopposed, 20% of mail-in ballots have already been cast.    The VBM return rate in Cedar Grove, where there are also no competitive races, is at 14%.

None of the three Essex municipalities opted into early in-person voting for next month’s election.

Two incumbents in Verona, Christine McGrath and Alex Roman, face Christian Strumolo, who lost a bid for the Verona council in 2005 and the Bloomfield council in 2007.

A favorite among Essex County progressives and the leader of the local Moms Demand Action chapter, McGrath scored a huge win four years ago when she ousted incumbent Michael Nochimson by 493 votes.    In that race, Roman won his second term by just two votes against John Quattrocchi, 843 to 841; Nochimson finished 15 votes behind Quattrocchi.

There are still 1,377 unreturned ballots in Verona.

Sheena Collum has no opponent in her bid for a third term as South Orange Village President.  Village Trustee Summer Jones and her two running mates, Jennifer Greenberg and Olivia Lewis-Chang, also have no opponents.  Two incumbents, Donna Collier and Stephen Schnall, are not seeking re-election.

A majority of the seats on the Cedar Grove Township Council are up in the May 9 non-partisan municipal election, where Councilman Peter Tanella is retiring after eighteen years in local government.

Mayor Joseph Maceri is seeking his second term on a ticket with Councilman John Zazzali and former school board member Michele Mega.

Zazzali, the nephew of former Chief Justice James Zazzali, was appointed in February after Joseph Zichelli resigned to become township manager.  He is running for a four-year term with Maceri, while Mega will seek Zichelli’s unexpired term.

Mega is the daughter-in-law of former Mayor Ann Mega.  Maceri was elected in 2019, defeating incumbent Harry Kumburis by 28 votes.

There are 2,045 unreturned VBMs in South Orange and 1,210 in Cedar Grove.

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