Teaneck VBM Election Drawing Wider Voter Participation than Usual

Teaneck’s numbers were bumping this week as the town heads to the end, at the close of business day today, of an historic all-vote-by-mail (VBM) May 12th election.

As reported by Gerald Reiner on the Insider iLine, the Board of Elections (BOE) at last check had received 8,700 votes, or 3,000 more than Teaneck residents submitted in 2016.

But what does it mean?

Teaneck Mayor Mohammed Hameeduddin
Teaneck Mayor Mohammed Hameeduddin

“You can only feel as confident as you can after the Trump election [of 2016],” said Mayor Mohammed Hameeduddin, who’s retiring this year but staunchly backs the local ticket topped by incumbent Councilman Mark Schwartz.

“We’ve done mail, lawn signs, and phones; the question comes down to what people are thinking,” Hameeduddin addded. “It’s a crap shoot. In the districts we perform well in, the turnout is high; but turnout is high all over town. Also, we won the last two elections with clean sweeps. Can we do that again?”

The mayor did acknowledge instances of people not receiving their ballots, but again, turnout so far smashed 2016 numbers when it was an ordinary election.

Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg (D-37)

His nemesis, Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg (D-37), was also keenly watching the returns.

“I have no idea what it means,” she told InsiderNJ. “The last I spoke to anyone they had over 6,000 votes, which is pretty high.”

But how it breaks ut is something else.

“There is a high end senior building and they used to have a voting booth in the building,” Weinberg said. “Now they are confined to their apartments. They’re used to going downstairs to vote.”

Will they record numbers higher than usual?

The only real negative the senator said she encountered was the design of the ballot, which confused voters.

But overall, the race to date is “pretty remarable,” she said. “It shows the VBM election is working.”

She doesn’t know how it will all shake out for her side, the People for Progress late. A late car caravn encountered rain.

But again, other elements cohered in favor of the team getting its message out there.

“I think the Internet provided much more opportunity,” Weinberg said. “Even ten years ago, we would have been at a complete stand-still. It’s not an election we could get a feel for, but with this many people voting, it’s very positive, whether we win or not.”

Governor Phil Murphy could make a decision as early as this week about the process of the July 7th primary elections.

Weinberg said she could support another all-VBM exercise if necessary, but also welcomed the possibility of some kind of hybrid election.

“There are issues but the overall picture is positive,” she said. “As I have said before, equally important to the health aspect is protecting our democracy. Each one [another all-VBM election or hybrid or business as usual] points up some shortcomings, but I would consider an all-VBM primary just on the basis of the amount of ballots returned.”

 

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