In Nutley, where 105 votes separate John V. Kelly III and Maria Hamlin for the fifth Town Commissioner seat, 389 additional vote-by-mail ballots were delivered to the Essex County Board of Elections on Thursday, bringing the total number of new ballots arriving since the last count to 778.
The big race to watch is for mayor, where in a strictly enforced local tradition, the top vote-getter gets the job.
The current mayor, Joseph Scarpelli, leads Mauro Tucci by 19 votes. Al Petracco could still be in the running for mayor. He trails Scarpelli by 48 votes.
Tucci served briefly as mayor following Joanne Cocchiola’s resignation in 2012, but his time in office was short-lived; he ended up in fourth place in the May municipal election after Nutley voters punished him for leapfrogging over others to fill the vacancy.
He was replaced by Petracco, who was outpolled four years later by Scarpelli, a former Essex County freeholder.
Nutley voters returned 7,448 ballots as of Tuesday. Of those, 7,134 were counted, and 314 were rejected for technical defects or remain uncounted. The total pool of ballots after Thursday was 8,225.
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.