Metuchen Education Board race a prime example of why every vote counts (at least locally): updated

Nov. 4, 2015: Just another reminder that yes, every vote counts.

The only two local races in all of Middlesex County that have yet to be determined are the Metuchen Board of Education and the Sayreville Borough Council. I don’t know much about Sayreville except they had some sort of football scandal. I once fished a river over there but didn’t catch anything. Also, they have a Wawa.

But the Metuchen Board of Ed, now there’s a topic we can sink our teeth into.

The votes for the three open seats on the Ed Board came out like this, unofficially: incumbent Aileen McGuire with 1,499 votes; Merrill Lunt with 1,246 votes; JoAnn Sabatino-Falkenstein with 1,111 and Justin Manley with 1,088. Including mail-in ballots, Manley has a total of 1,268 while Sabatino-Falkenstein totals 1,265 — with Manley up by three votes.

What needs to happen now is a count at the County level of provisional ballots. These are ballots filled out by people who can’t figure out how to vote properly (or something). See here for a full explanation.

The County Board of Elections will review each provisional ballot and determine if it will count. It’s not clear how long this process will take. Jim Vokral, administrator for the county board of election, explained it to me:

The board gets sealed bins of provisional ballots the night of the elections and works to determine the eligibility of each ballot. Once all the eligible provisional ballots are established, the board will then count them for the whole county. This year, the board will start with four specific races that are very close, including Metuchen’s education board, Sayreville as well as the race for Legislative District 16, where incumbent Republican Assembly members Jack Ciatarelli and Donna Simon are being challenged by Democrats Maureen Vella and Andrew Zwicker.

“Depending on how many provisionals we get, how much research we have to do, we could be done any time from Friday, Monday, Tuesday,” Vokral said.

UPDATE 3:11 p.m. Nov. 4: Vokral told me Metuchen collected 25 provisional ballots but one was immediately rejected. The board of elections is now researching 24 provisional ballots from Metuchen to determine their eligibility. Stay Tuned!

Nothing like a little political drama to spice up the week!

This post has been updated to include information from Jim Vokral

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