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County Clerk: Only Caldwell Remains to be Called

Candidates won't know results of tight council race until Monday afternoon.

More than a week after the election, Essex County officials continue to count “buckets” of votes coming in from post offices that were flooded or without power after Hurricane Sandy devastated the region, County Clerk Chris Durkin said Wednesday.

In addition to mail-in votes, emailed, faxed and provisional ballots remain to be counted. Final results will not be available until the afternoon of Monday, Nov. 19, the deadline set for mail-in votes by Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno.

Only four candidates are holding their breath until Monday, the two Democrats and two incumbent Republicans vying for two open seats on the Caldwell Council.

“Caldwell is the only race in the county that is waiting to be called,” Durkin said Wednesday.

With the machine votes and absentee ballots counted, the race shows Democrat Edward Durkin in the lead with 1,616 votes followed by Republican incumbent Richard Hauser with 1,612 votes.

Republican incumbent Peter Murray has 1,597 machine and absentee votes combined and Democrat Susan Vezza has 1,548.

None of the candidates are celebrating or conceding, saying the race is too close to call.

“This was the most trying and challenging election in the history of America,” Durkin said, “and that’s an understatement.”

Guadagno changed the laws seven times, Durkin said, including moving deadlines and allowing voting by e-mail and fax.

More than 3,000 residents came through the Hall of Records in Newark the weekend before the pending hurricane waiting on average three hours to request mail-in ballots. Durkin said normally his office would see about 100 voters come through. Ballots postmarked by the Nov. 5 deadline were still coming in Wednesday, almost 10 days later.

An additional 1,750 email ballots and 350 fax ballots were sent out to voters displaced by the hurricane.

If the storm had hit the state even a day later than Oct. 29, Durkin said, the election could easily have missed the Nov. 6 mark.

The county’s deadline to verify election results is Wednesday, Nov. 21.

Cj November 15, 2012 at 02:17 PM
With all the rules in the state due to the Hurricane I have never in my life felt I should not vote. Not only in the Eastern part of the country do to the Hurricane but when you listen to the problems other states had regarding voting this country looks pitiful. To think that something can not be in place to make it more secure is beyond comprehension in this day and age. I can't imagine how many unregistered voters were allowed to vote in this election including immigrants. This had to be the most unfair election in history
Skippy November 15, 2012 at 06:48 PM
Dear Cj, What you imagine and what the reality is are two different things. Because you imagine the election to be unfair does not make it so.

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