With such a high voter turnout in the uncontested Union City municipal election on May 14, the city proved that the purpose of voting is not just to choose one candidate over another, but also to show support.
Although Union City Mayor Brian Stack and his ticket of commissioners were running unopposed in this year’s municipal election, close to 9,500 city residents still made it to the polls on May 14 to vote for him.
“Brian is doing not a good job, an excellent job,” said Christina Cannavale after voting on May 14. “The reason that people are coming out to vote is that he has helped so many people.”
Stack also ran unopposed in the city’s special election this past November. He was running to continue the unexpired term of former Mayor Raul “Rudy” Garcia. Garcia resigned in October 2000 after Stack had initiated a recall election for his seat.
Stack received about 11,000 votes in that race.
Showing their support
With more than five hours left in the polling day, which runs from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m., many of the voting centers were already halfway toward their goal.
By 3 p.m., more than 250 people had already come to vote at 3911 Kennedy Blvd. According to Myrna Nunez, who was working the polls at that location, the expected amount of voters in that district was 500.
“This is a good turn-out,” said Nunez, who has been working the polls in Union City for 10 years. Nunez said that she thinks the turnout would have been about the same in a contested election.
Nunez said that they expect to be really busy starting at 6 p.m. when everyone gets out of work.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if we hit 600 voters,” said Antoinette Lupo, who was working the polls with Nunez. Many of the voters said that they were voting to show their support for Stack and his ticket.
“He has done a lot for Union City,” said Ana Malul, who came to vote at the Doric Recreation Center on Palisade Avenue after dropping her two children off at the center. “He does a lot for the children. I believe that helps a lot.”
“People are so loyal to Brian, I think that a lot of people will still come out to vote,” said Edward Stack, the mayor’s father.
At the Doric Recreation Center, located at 6th and Palisade Avenue, 175 people had already voted by 3 p.m. The goal in that center was about 400.
“A lot of people came to vote before they left for work,” said Edward Stack, who was working the polls at the Doric Recreation Center. “And we should be pretty busy from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., when people are coming home from work.”
Keeping their civic duty
Although there really wasn’t much to vote on in this election, Guadalupe Reyes still wanted to exercise her civic duty.
“I wanted to teach my kids that we are given the right to vote and that we should exercise that right,” said Reyes, who brought her sons to the voting booth at 3911 Kennedy Blvd.
While no one probably wanted a contested election more than Stack, other residents were also unhappy with the lack of opposition.
“Having no opposition was very hard for me and hard for my ticket,” said Union City Mayor Brian Stack during the celebration rally held at Scheutzen Park after the polls closed on May 14. Stack said that it was the first time he’s lacked opposition, and he’s used to fighting for a victory.
“I am not very happy about it,” said Reyes about the unopposed election. “But I guess that is the way that this city is run.”
After the polls closed at 8 p.m., the total votes for Stack were counted at 9,484 with 128 absentee ballots included. Tilo Rivas, a current Board of Education member, received 8,906 votes with 120 absentee ballots included. Christopher Irizarry, who was sworn in to the board of commissioners in January to replace resigning commissioner Rafael Fraguela, who was elected assemblyman, received 9,080 votes with 121 absentee votes included. Leggiero, who has been a commissioner since 1998, received 9,171 votes with 122 absentee ballots included, and Martin received 8,882 votes with 121 absentee ballots included. However there was a malfunction in the voting machine at district six in ward two on Martin’s name that may have affected his number of votes. According to the machine’s count, Martin only received 78 votes in that booth.