Just 3% of Newark voters have returned vote-by-mail ballots for a school board race that had been expected to have little voter interest.
So far, 4,679 voters have returned their VBM ballots for three Board of Education seats. Last April, turnout was at around 5%.
Six candidates are running for three seats, but almost all the attention has been on a coalition slate backed by Newark Mayor Ras Baraka, the North Ward Democratic organization, and charter school activists. That coalition has dominated Newark school board races for the past five years and won an 8-1 victory in 2019.
The North Ward delivered a 14-1 win that year.
Incumbents Josephine Garcia and Flohisha Johnson are running with Hasani Council, the 23-year-old son of South Ward Democratic chairman Patrick Council. Council is seeking the seat of Reginald Bledsoe, who is not seeking re-election.
Gov. Phil Murphy ordered the April school board election moved to May 12 and conducted entirely by mail.