Teaneck voters have approved a ballot initiative moving local elections from May to November, in a defeat for local elected officials who fought against the measure and a victory for the organizers – among them retiring State Sen. Loretta Weinberg (D-Teaneck) – who championed it. The proposal currently leads with 68% of the vote.
Another initiative to establish a renewable energy credit system also passed by a similar margin.
“This campaign has been a marathon and we are so excited we have succeeded in making voting in local elections easier and bringing clean energy to Teaneck,” said Reshma Khan, an organizer with the One Town One Vote coalition, which organized the first ballot proposal.
One Town One Vote’s proposal, which is aimed at increasing voter participation by making local contests concurrent with higher-turnout general elections, was subject to a contentious petition and court battle over the summer.
Acting Township Clerk Doug Ruccione repeatedly denied the initiative a place on the ballot, first for insufficient signatures and then, after organizers collected thousands more signatures, for other technical deficiencies in the wording of the ballot question.
Following their second rejection, the One Town One Vote coalition sued the township and argued that Ruccione was denying voters the chance to vote on an important issue for frivolous reasons. Superior Court Judge Robert C. Wilson agreed, and ordered in September that proposal be put on the ballot alongside the clean energy proposal, which also faced difficulties with signature collection.
The case dragged on long enough that it briefly imperiled Bergen County’s ability to print absentee ballots before the deadline, though it was ultimately resolved in time to avert major issues.