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Late Garfield school board member Kenneth Conte

Garfield School Board member dies during re-election bid

Dr. Kenneth Conte dead at 75

By Nikita Biryukov, April 24 2020 12:00 am

Dr. Kenneth Conte, who is seeking re-election to the Garfield Board of Education in the May 12 election, has died.  He had been battling coronavirus at Hackensack University Medical Center at the time of his passing.

He was 75.

Conte was leading a slate of three candidates that included incumbent Julio Angel Quiles and newcomer Evelyn Scott.  They faced incumbent Frank Barber Jr., who is running with Carmin Breonte and Dane Lio on the All Children Matter Slate.

The election was originally scheduled for April 21 but the date was moved to an all-VBM election next month.

There is no mechanism to drop Conte’s name from the ballot or to replace him. County clerks began sending out vote by mail ballots on March 28.

If voters decide to re-elect Conte posthumously, the remaining school board members can appoint someone to serve until a special election can be held.

Deceased candidates have won elections before.

Assemblyman Donald Tucker (D-Newark) died 22 days before the 2005 general election and still won re-election in a landslide.

Tucker, who had also been a Newark City Councilman for 31 years, passed away on October 17, 2005.  He represented the heavily Democratic 28th district, and his name remained on the ballot for the November 8 general election.  Republicans made no effort to remove his name from the ballot.

In September 2019, Francesco Fasolo was appointed to fill a vacancy on the Elmwood Park Borough Council and was picked to run as the Democratic candidate in the November general election.

Fasolo also remained on the November ballot for a school board seat.  He was unopposed and the deadline to replace him on the ballot has passed.  After the election, he declined to take the Board of Education position.

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