Friday, December 09, 2005

One More Aria from the Fat Lady

After each election, Union County Clerk Joanne Rajoppi certifies the results, usually by the Monday following the election. This year was unusual because it was the first time voters could apply to cast ballots by mail, without stating a reason to do so. The new law coincided with an unprecedented write-in campaign by incumbent Mayor Albert T. McWilliams, who lost the June primary and then lost a bid to run in the general election as a Republican.

McWilliams supporters could write in his name at the polls or send in an absentee ballot with a write-in for mayor. Because his name was not on the ballot, there was no line on the certified results giving a tally of votes for McWilliams.

The County Clerk's office initially released a 48-page list of write-ins for McWilliams that only indicated totals by voting machine, not by ward and district. The intense mayoral race results therefore could only be partially analyzed to see how the candidates did in each ward and district.

Plaintalker despaired of getting ward and district results on the write-in votes to further our analysis, but the County Clerk's office kindly gave us the breakdown this week

Of 2,299 votes for incumbent Mayor Albert McWilliams, 1,670, or 73 percent, came from write-ins at the polls in the city's 34 voting districts. While a breakdown of wards and districts on the mail-in ballots is not available, the machine results indicate some trends.

The County Clerk's office broadly allowed for write-ins that ran the gamut from "Albert McWilliams" to "McWilliaws" but did not accept "Al," "Albert" or "Williams."

As expected, the mayor's heaviest support came from the Second Ward, with 818 or 49 percent of the write-ins. Next was the Third Ward, with 530 votes for 32 percent of the write-in vote.

The First Ward accounted for 12 percent of the vote with 193 write-ins and the Fourth Ward trailed with 129 votes representing 8 percent of the write-ins.

The hotly contested mayoral race in Plainfield resulted in the city being responsible for nearly half of the total county-wide "personal choice" write-in votes in the general election. In Plainfield alone, 2,339 voters made a personal choice for mayor, no doubt including the perennial protest votes for "Mickey Mouse" and other characters.

Mayor-Elect Sharon Robinson-Briggs won the election with 4,357 votes and former Councilman Robert Ferraro received 1,119 votes.

--Bernice Paglia

KEYWORDS: election


<< Home