Will Hoboken election results hinge on provisional and absentee ballots?

HOBOKEN – While most of the issues and candidates decided in Tuesday night’s Hoboken election seem like clear victors, some people are concerned that the results are not so cut and dried.
The electronic numbers were tallied last night from the machines, showing that the three “Kids First” school board members were elected to the nine-member Board of Education. A question about phasing out rent control was voted down, and voters also approved a change moving the city’s mayoral elections from May to November, and eliminating runoffs.
The rent control vote was close. In addition, for the school board, the lowest vote-getter was 400 votes ahead of the highest vote-getter among the rival Move Forward slate.
As of two years ago, the state of New Jersey has begun allowing any voter to vote by mail, without a reason to do so. Thus, Hoboken’s longtime political machines have attempted to harness votes by mail in advance of local elections. Getting senior citizens to fill out absentee ballots has long been a tradition in Hoboken’s political machines as well.
Additionally, New Jersey Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno recently announced that registered voters displaced by Sandy could apply by e-mail or fax to their county clerk for a mail-in ballot and return it by e-mail or fax. The deadline for email ballots in New Jersey has been extended due to the inability to process the overwhelming number of votes and associated glitches.
“An avalanche of requests for email ballots that overwhelmed county clerks’ offices forced the state to extend its email voting deadline to Friday afternoon at 8 p.m., though email ballot requests had to filed by 5 p.m. ET Tuesday,” according to a news report.
As of Wednesday, the Kids First slate of incumbent Ruth McAllister, Jean Marie Mitchell and Tom Kluepfel took the lead in the polls over Move Forward ticket members Elizabeth Markevitch, Felice Vazquez and Anthony Oland, as well as independent Patricia Waiters.
At a post-election celebration hosted by Kids First on Tuesday night, several attendees expressed concern that the results could change when all the ballots are tallied.
Additionally, officials said on Wednesday that they do not know how long it will take to tally all the ballots.
Mayor Dawn Zimmer was perhaps the biggest victor on Tuesday, as she supported all of the winning candidates and all of the winning answers on the questions. This shows her strength in a citywide election. Zimmer herself is up for re-election in 2013.
But Zimmer, like her allies, was cautious on Wednesday.
“At this point, we don’t know exactly what the results will be,” she said. “It’s a step in the right direction.”

© 2000, Newspaper Media Group