The wave of paper ballots coming out of the corner of Hoboken where the love of "campaigning" is synonymous with earning $40 - $50 for a vote committed on paper will be making its largest appearance in Hudson County since the installation of Tim Occhipinti where a landslide of paid votes exploiting Hoboken Housing Authority residents and all of Hoboken flipped control of the City Council in the fall of 2010. That illicit action saw the short term rise to council chair of Councilwoman Beth Mason.
Based on limited information, Hudson County's final election results may not appear until the 20th with the BoE election and rent control standing to see possible impact on the existing outcome in the machine totals.
The BoE seat most under scrutiny is third place where Jean Marie Mitchell of Kids First holds almost a 400 vote lead over fourth place Move Forward candidate Elizabeth Markevitch.
Have enough Hoboken Housing residents voted on paper ballots for the "rich Republican lady" to overcome the machine vote for the third and final BoE seat as one close observer said with no small amount of sarcasm.
|Jamie Cryan the Hoboken Democratic Chair is unhappy with Hoboken email/fax voters after Hurricane Sandy.|
Their votes in the election offset the Old Guard vote-by-mail efforts and could be decisive in the BoE race.
MSV has reviewed the absentee ballot report and it's the usual assortment of Old Guard political operatives minus one suspect who is typically eager to give residents in the HHA the "Vote by Calicchio" voting option.
Matt Calicchio, the full time political operative for Beth Mason and fourth ward Democratic Committeeman's name does not appear as a bearer on ballots anywhere in the vote-by-mail report but other soldiers and "captains" do: Michele Russo, mother of Councilman Michael Russo, Michael Holmes, Dio Braxton, Masonista Ines Garcia Keim, Lizaida Camis, George DeStefano, and Frank Raia.
Here is the breakdown of their bearer efforts:
|Ines Garcia Keim||9|
Here is a sampling of vote-by-mail returns in the third and fourth wards. The third ward figures are representative of the returns seen in varied areas in the six wards in Hoboken. Which two voting districts don't fit?
Hint: Those two districts mostly cover the Hoboken Housing Authority in the fourth ward.
|Ward||Dist||Req||Returned||Not Ret||% Ret||% Lost|
The two areas of much speculation are the 112 votes not returned out of the fourth ward in the Housing Authority. Rumors are they were collected and left in a basement during the hurricane and possibly ruined.
It's illegal to break the chain of custody in bearing vote-by-mail ballots but some speculate a battle ensued to have those votes counted but a Hudson County judge ruled they were not to be added into the Old Guard's typical "GOTV" effort. None of that is clear at this point.
Currently, no one knows how many Hoboken voters utilized the email and fax option Governor Chris Christie introduced after the hurricane leading into election day. While Al Sullivan at the Hudson Reporter described this as symbolic, the truth is voters who could find an internet connection and fax machine acted differently voting with their feet to see their vote counted. New Jersey also allowed voters to submit provisional votes throughout the state but local issues would be missed under those circumstances.
Jamie Cryan who is the chair of the Hoboken Democratic Committee is reported to have described the effort taken by the Governor to see that NJ voters were not disenfranchised as a form of discrimination and that many of those voters were not qualified as displaced participants.
The irony of those comments considering the heavy paid for vote efforts are an indicator the Old Guard does not have confidence their purchased votes will overturn the BoE election results on the machines. Based on conversations with both sides of the fray, MSV can say there's only agreement the third seat currently won on the machines by Jean Marie Mitchell may be in play.
No one however is saying even on background a majority will be overturned although there's more whispers suggesting a lawsuit against the State of NJ to see Hoboken's email and fax ballots thrown out so the Old Guard's vote-by-mail operation will prevail and power handed to them in the form of the $63 million BoE budget.
Who do you think would pay for that lawsuit?
|Beth Mason is the potential biggest loser in the BoE race.|
A suspected illegal $60,000 investment is not likely to overturn the results.
Talking Ed Note: While the Old Guard stands to see a watermark election crush their hopes to regain power over a major public budget in town, the biggest loser who is said to have spent more than $60,000 of her husband's allowance money is Beth Mason.
The day maker illegally placed near the corner of 12th and Washington was suggested as the lighting for an outdoor election night party. That party of course was forestalled when the grassroots Kids First campaign united to again beat the illegal money allied against it and stands to continue the majority if not add a seat to the current five of nine status quo.
All of that will be weighed by the final vote-by-mail tallies and how many email and fax votes along with provisional ballots are added to it.
The Hudson County Clerk's Office will need to report how many people applied and were actually given an opportunity to vote and that is unknown. MSV reported on the efforts of one voter's week long effort to obtain the right to vote after being displaced due to the hurricane.