MONTCLAIR, NJ - The League of Women Voters and NAACP will host a rally in Montclair to bring awareness that 10% of the votes cast in the Montclair election were not counted and to press for changes to avoid this from occurring again.
The rally will take place outside of the Montclair Municipal Building, located at 205 Claremont Avenue on Wednesday, July 1, at 10 a.m.
The swearing-in of the new Council and Council reorganization, will also take place on the same date, starting at 11:45AM - 12:45PM. The location has not yet been determined.
Essex County officials have reported that nearly 1100 votes have not been counted in the May 12 Montclair Municipal election.
The League has invited other candidates and the community to join with them to rally around this issue.
Leaders at the LWV have stated, "This is not a rally about the May 12 election results, but rather to call attention to the vital issue of the integrity of future elections."
With 195 votes separating the two Montclair mayoral candidates and claims from numerous residents that their votes were not counted, Councilor Renee Baskerville and 15 other residents have filed a lawsuit, scheduled for a hearing on September 11, 2020.
Due to COVID-19 lockdown restrictions, this was the first election to ever be completely vote-by-mail-ballot. The election results have been riddled with complaints that the post office closed early on May 12, residents saying that their votes were rejected, and late arrivals of votes through the USPS mail system, among others. Final election tallies indicate that there were 10,748 votes cast for the mayoral seat and Sean Spiller declared winner, with a 195-vote lead.
“We need to make sure that every vote is counted going forward, but we also need to encourage Governor Murphy to take executive action to give back to those who voted in the May 12th Municipal Election the most powerful weapon in our participatory democracy…every vote cast should be counted,” said Baskerville.
She concluded, "When in doubt about the status of votes cast, the state of NJ must err on the side of participatory democracy and the voters."
Though the LWV does not support candidates, they have invited both Spiller and Baskerville and other candidates to join them.
Post publication, Baskerville stated, "I am happy that after asking the LWV and NAACP that they are now joining others of us who have been advocating for that since we found out weeks ago that so many ballots were not counted.. I had raised the question with Susan Mack and Albert Pelham for weeks."
She concluded, "It is not about any particular candidate, it is about our right for a fair and democratic process and making sure that all votes are counted."
According to a release, "The League and the NAACP are committed to overcoming barriers to voting and ensuring every vote is counted, especially in the upcoming primary and general elections."
The following letter was sent to the LWV members:
PLEASE JOIN US!!!!!
The League of Women Voters of the Montclair Area and the NAACP of Montclair are holding an event to emphasize the disturbing fact that 10% of the votes cast in the Montclair election were not counted and to press for changes to avoid this happening again. The League and the NAACP are committed to overcoming barriers to voting and ensuring every vote is counted, especially in the upcoming primary and general elections. This is not a statement about the election results, but rather an attempt to call attention to the vital issue of voting rights. Be sure to come on
July 1 to show that you want ALL votes counted !
Wednesday, 7/1st at 10am at the Municipal Building in Montclair (205 Claremont Ave). For further information, please contact Susan Mack at 973-202-7153 or email@example.com.
We plan to have 1,101 ballots strung 10x10 on rope and held on the ends by people attending the event. There would be 11 sets of these displays to reflect all 1,101 votes not counted.
LWV US Convention begins this afternoon.
We are being represented at the virtual meeting by Donna Ward and Ann Moore.
RELATED ARTICLES: Baskerville Challenges Uncounted Votes
Editor's Note: An earlier draft sent to us, mistakenly indicated that Baskerville was co-organizer of this rally. LWV maintains that they are not in favor of either candidate, but maintaining the integrity of the voting process.