Slightly more than 25% of Montclair voters have returned their vote-by-mail ballots for today’s non-partisan municipal races, a 310% increase over the 2016 elections for mayor and township council.
As of late afternoon, 8,460 ballots had been returned out of Montclair’s 33,292 registered voters. Ballots postmarked by 8 PM this evening that arrive at the Essex County Board of Elections by close of business on Thursday will be counted.
In 2016, 2,036 votes were cast in an election where Mayor Robert Jackson and five of six council seats were unopposed. Turnout was at 6%.
Two members of the township council, Sean M. Spiller and Renee Baskerville, are running for mayor and heading slates of council candidates for all six seats.
Spiller is a rising star in New Jersey politics. He is the vice president of the New Jersey Education Association and could be on a path to lead the state’s largest public employee union at some point.
Running for township council on Spiller’s ticket are three incumbents: at-large Councilor (and former mayor) Robert Russo; 1st Ward Councilor William Hurlock, the lone registered Republican in local government; and 2nd Ward Councilor Robin Schlager. He’s joined on the ticket by at-large candidate Roger Terry and Lori Price Abrams, who is seeking Spiller’s 3rd Ward seat.
Baskerville’s slate includes at-large candidates Peter Yacobellis and James Cotter, John Hearn (1st Ward), Chrissy Thomas (2nd Ward), Maggie Joralemon (3rd Ward), and David Cummings, who is running for the 4th Ward seat being vacated by Baskerville.
Cummings is running unopposed.
Carmel Loughman is seeking an at-large seat as an independent.
Councilor-at-large Rich McMahon is not seeking re-election.
Gov. Phil Murphy ordered the election to be held entirely by mail to avoid the spread of COVID-19 through voters voting in person.
In the only contested race of 2016, Spiller defeated Maureen Edelson by a 73%-27% margin.