SOUTH ORANGE, NJ - Although the Essex County Clerk's office has not yet finalized the vote certification, all of the candidates have agreed the winners of the South Orange Board of Trustees election are the slate of 'South Orange 2017' - Walter Clarke, Karen Hilton, and Stephen Schnall.
About 20 votes separate third place finisher Schnall and Nureed Saeed, who ran as an Independent candidate. Saeed stated on her campaign's Facebook page that after speaking to Schnall and "looking at the math," she has offered him her congratulations.
Saeed also stated on Facebook that she is accepting an offer from South Orange Village President Sheena Collum to serve on the Development Committee, adding "I am going no where and look forward to increasing transparency and outcomes."
While Saeed has conceded the election, she also stated "I still am asking the county to do their due diligence in counting the 5 emergency ballots from district 4 and explore if there are any from the voting booths at Marshall or other machines and they have assured us they will. The outcome won't change the math, but transparency requires each vote be counted and each voice be heard."
Collum stated on Facebook her interest in continuing to work with Saeed, writing "[Saeed] has indicated a very strong desire to work with me, the Board of Trustees and all of you in bringing to the table all the ideas she ran on during the campaign. We're meeting next week to go over the various opportunities to get involved and I'm excited to have someone with her character, talent, and a strong desire to help the community be a part of the changes we can make to improve our village and how government can best work on behalf of their neighbors."
Collum also gave her congratulations to Clarke, Hilton, and Schnall and thanked Saeed "for running for office and jumping right in to work together."
With the official certification of vote counts from Essex County not available as of Thursday afternoon, Collum stated that the Board of Trustees Annual Organization Meeting which was scheduled to be held on Monday, May 15, would be postponed to Monday, May 22, and will be held as part of the regular Board of Trustees meeting that night.