(ORANGE, NJ) - Mother's Day weekend marks the last weekend before all mail-in ballots are due for the Orange Municipal Mayor and Council At-large Election. Ballots must be mailed back and postmarked on or before May 12th. As the Orange election comes to an end, we are providing a recap of this campaign season, while encouraging everyone to fill out and mail in your ballots.

The Good:

Six people entered the race for Mayor. Although a crowded field, candidates each worked to draw the differences between one another. The crowded field proves many people in Orange are fired up and want to participate.

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Some candidates participated in the TAPinto Questionnaire to Candidates to let voters know their platform and to ask for their votes.

Candidate for Mayor Donna K. Williams became deathly ill with COVID-19 and then pulled through it while not missing a beat on the campaign trail.

Despite COVID-19, the HUUB continued the tradition of holding a forum between candidates for Mayor. Thank you, HUUB. 

This election season features many women who are running for office for both Council and Mayor, many of whom made the East Orange/Orange, 100 Women of Power and Progress List.

The Bad:

Some candidates went negative with incumbent Mayor Dwayne Warren being the first to draw blood in a campaign mailer featuring the faces of all other candidates running except for Baptiste.

Baptiste missing on the mailer and from the debate made people question whether or not he was a plant in the race to split the vote.  

As of May 7th, the County Clerk has only received 2,173 ballots back, which means thousands of people have still not voted. Mail your ballot back today, or if you fear delayed mail, wear your mask and go hand it in personally at the County Board of Elections, 465 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, Room 411, Newark, NJ 07102, Telephone: 973-621-5070. If mailed, all ballots must be postmarked no later than May 12, 2020, and received by the County Board of Elections no later 8 p.m., May 14, 2020.

The Ugly:

COVID-19 happened, therefore the Orange Mayor Election is vote by mail only, forcing candidates to use creative ways to campaign and connect with voters. COVID-19 also resulted in the death of many community members and giants, damage to the economy, and more. 

Secrets began to be exposed. Shawn Hunter, a candidate for Mayor, was ousted by "Urban Progressive Leaders" for financial crimes of theft in her past that resulted in her serving time in jail and on probation. 

While citing experienced leadership, the incumbent Mayor, Dwayne Warren, has been challenged by all candidates on past incidents: He is under fire for FBI raids, a scandal over the hiring of staff in an illegal position, a top ally who ran for office with campaign money disappearing, the firing of a different longtime ally right before election season, and accusations about using taxpayer dollars to campaign. The online accusations about taxpayer dollars being used to campaign in this year's Mayoral race include: Campaign colors being used on the municipal COVID-19 literature and billboards with his face, not having an internet presence other than the city social media and website, and using the public safety department to campaign door-to-door under the guise of sending birthday wishes to constituents sheltering in place.

Conclusion: 

Voting is a civic duty. This election is too important just to leave the ballot on your countertop. Everyone can make their voice heard through voting. After all, it is the citizens who have the ultimate power to hire or fire politicians.

Happy Mother's Day to all the moms out there. Please vote. 

TAPinto East Orange/Orange is an online newspaper serving East Orange and Orange as a part of a network of more than 80 franchised local news sites in NY, NJ, and FL. TAPinto recently won 3 of 5 excellence in local journalism awards by the Center for Cooperative Media in NJ. We are accredited by the NJ State Police, which is done through the New Jersey Press Association in which we are long-standing members. We take pride in providing the community with objective news, fact-finding reporting while featuring positive stories and awareness campaigns daily. Got a news tip or opinion? Interested in advertising? Looking to write a column or to provide freelance reporting? Email us at YourNews@tapinto.net. Sign up for our FREE daily eNews and follow us on Facebook.