The Essex County Board of Elections has rescinded a decision made in March to turn the Claridge condominium towers into their own voting district.
Meeting on Friday, April 10, the Board rescinded the plan that had redrawn the boundaries of Verona election district 1 to be only the Claridge I and Claridge II buildings and had made it possible for the district polling location to move to Claridge II from from Laning Avenue elementary school, where it has been for more than 30 years. MyVeronaNJ.com first reported that decision on April 6.
The latest decision means that Claridge residents will vote in the May 12 Town Council election at Laning. It also means that the Claridge towers could not become their own district this year, but the matter could be brought back before the Board next year.
Linda Von Nessi, the Board clerk, said that the decision to rescind the earlier decision was the result of “various” issues that had been brought to the Board’s attention, including concerns about the Claridge towers not being public buildings. But she said that the Board would continue to work to increase voter turnout.
As MyVeronaNJ.com reported earlier this month, election turnout by district 1 voters has fluctuated widely depending on the election. In the general election of 2014 for New Jersey’s U.S. Senate seat, turnout in district 1 was 32.56%, which was above the average for Essex County. But in the Verona municipal election of 2013, only 83 ballots were cast in district 1, or 7.97% of the 1,041 voters registered.
“My faith in the democratic process has been restored,” said Teena Schwartz, chair of the Verona Democratic Party, who had raised questions about the March decision. “The Essex County Board of Elections made sure that their actions were fair and transparent, and I appreciate that they rescinded their previous decision after receiving more input on the issue.”