One of the legendary lines about New Jersey politics came from the late Gov. Brendan Byrne, who often said he wanted to be buried in Hudson County so that he could “remain active in politics” – a tip of the hat to the myth that party bosses used to cast votes from cemeteries in Jersey City.
Sometimes New Jersey isn’t quite that bad and one action by Essex County election officials last week dispelled such fables.
Two Nutley residents died after casting their vote-by-mail ballots for the May 12 non-partisan municipal elections.
In New Jersey, a voter must be alive on Election Day for their vote to count.
The process worked the way it was supposed to and election worker pulled the ballots before they were counted. Had the ballots been separated from their envelopes, it would have been impossible to go back and readjust the results.
At least one of those votes could have been crucial to the outcome of the race for mayor, where incumbent Joseph Scarpelli and Commissioner Mauro Tucci ended the election tied – the one cast by James Battaglino, 77, who died on April 14.
Nobody really knows how Battaglino voted, but there is a belief that the ballot cast by Dr. Michael Giuliano, who died at age 64 on April 18, wouldn’t have affected the outcome of the Scarpelli vs. Tucci contest.
“We were both his patients,” Scarpelli told the New Jersey Globe.