Nutley NJ - The Essex County Clerk is expected to release the final vote count for the 2020 Nutley Board of Commissioners Race today, and until then two seats, the top spot and the fifth seat, remain in question.

Traditionally, the person with the most votes becomes the mayor. The actual process involves all commissioners to meet and discuss shortly after they are sworn in, but this is Nutley, and traditions are big here. 

On election night, the votes that were received showed the four incumbents comfortably re-elected, with the fifth commissioner, "the Rogers" seat" as the biggest unknown. At the time, the candidate with the most votes was Joseph P. Scarpelli, 19 votes behind him was Mauro Tucci and 29 votes behind Tucci was Alphonse Petracco. Nearly 800 ballots were delivered to the Essex County Clerk's office since Tuesday night. 

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At this time, there is no way to determine how many of those 778 are valid ballots. The postmark on each ballot will be checked to make certain the postal service received it on May 12. With all the conspiracy theories floating around on social media, some of those ballot envelopes may very well contain a shredded ballot or other papers. 

The four incumbents were re-elected by comfortable margins, and even if all late ballots were for one candidate, no one beneath the top six has enough votes to break into the top five. Scarpelli, Tucci, Petracco, and Evans will return to serve the people of Nutley.  

Let's stop for a moment and assume that all 778 ballots are indeed valid. At this point in the election, Hamlin, who trails Kelly by 105 votes, still has a fighting chance to get in and fill what some have called "the Rogers seat." At the top of the list, Petracco trails Scarpelli by 48 votes, meaning that any one of the top three vote-getter could wind up on top. 

As of 9 p.m. May 12, the preliminary results were:

Joseph P. Scarpelli 4,141

Mauro Tucci 4,122

Alphonse Petracco 4,093

Thomas Evans 3,034

John V. Kelly III 2,596

Maria Hamlin 2,491

Danny Carnicella 1,954

Sam Fleitell 1,538

Christopher Cullari 1,257

Lorenzo Marchese 1,014

Frank Contella 818

Carmine Allesio 698

These are preliminary results and need to be verified. The final certified numbers are expected today.

After being sworn in on Tues. May 19, the newly reorganized Board of Commissioners will hold their first open public meeting at 7 p.m. the same day. 

The Board of Commissioners meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday, May 19 via Zoom. To gain access to the meeting go to zoom.us/j/98805921694. Password: 876956. For those without computer access or mobile device you may dial into the meeting at:  (number based on your current location) US: +1 929 205 6099; +1 312 626 6799; +1 301 715 8592; +1 346 248 7799; +1 669 900 6833; or +1 253 215 8782. Meeting ID: 988 0592 1694.

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