Greetings Fellow Residents of Essex County:
We are finally less than one week away from one of the most pivotal elections in the history of our nation. Without question, 2020 has been a year of unique and unprecedented circumstances. The impact of the coronavirus pandemic has resulted in the deaths of over 200,000 Americans - including over 1,900 Essex County residents. Those numbers, tragically, are continuing to rise. Additionally, as shown by demonstrations in communities throughout Essex County and across the nation, there is an awakened call in our country to address racial injustice and systemic racism. These critical issues have magnified the importance of the 2020 general election. As individual citizens, we must participate in the political process and vote. Conjointly, we as leaders in government must do our part to facilitate fair, safe and secure elections.
On November 3, 2020, Essex County will have poll locations open from 6am-8pm. Traditionally, many of the staffers who work these locations on Election Day are Senior Citizens. Due to legitimate health concerns regarding COVID-19, many poll workers decided against working the upcoming election. This created a need for staffing help and an opportunity for a new group of citizens to give back to the community. I was happy to work with the Clerk of the Essex County Board of Elections, Linda Von Nessi, in issuing a call to all interested area residents to sign up and work as poll workers on Election Day. We started the initiative on August 28th, and by early October we secured more than enough poll workers to adequately staff all Essex County locations.
In addition to properly staffing our polling locations on Election Day, it was also imperative that our Vote-by-mail process was effective and user-friendly. I thank our Essex County Clerk Chris Durkin and his office for their stellar work on this challenging and extremely vital aspect of the election. Many people have already cast their vote early through the vote-by-mail process. Nationally, as of October 23, 2020, more than 51 million people have voted early, already surpassing 2016’s overall early vote total.
I thank everyone who answered the call to work as an Essex County poll worker on Election Day, and I thank all fellow citizens in advance for exercising your civic duty, and encouraging your family, friends and neighbors to do the same. VOTE! Our future is at stake! The direction our government takes, and the measures put in place to address our health and socio-economic challenges, will be determined when we speak as a nation on November 3, 2020.
Brendan W. Gill
President of the Essex County Board of Commissioners
Brendan W. Gill is a lifelong resident of Montclair where he resides with his wife and two children, and is the President of the Essex County Board of Chosen Freeholders (Board of County Commissioners as of January 2021). The Board is the legislative body of Essex County government and is charged with matters of oversight regarding the budget, shared services, and other affairs under the county’s auspices.