Cumberland County’s Board of Elections will start counting more than 2,000 provisional ballots Tuesday, with the final results deciding the fate of some Vineland City Council candidates.
The 10 council candidates who received the most votes during the Nov. 6 election will appear on the ballot for a runoff election scheduled for Dec. 18.
Vote totals posted on the election board’s website show Angela Calakos in ninth place with 4,074 votes and Carlos Villar in 10th place with 4,036 votes. Candidate Maritza Gonzalez is 11th, but trails Calakos by 40 votes and Villar by only two.
The results include tallies from voting machines and mail-in ballots. Those updated results essentially flipped the placement of Gonzales and Calakos based on voting machine tallies only.
Board of Elections Administrator Lizbeth Hernandez could not be reached for comment.
Deputy Cumberland County Clerk Barbara Fowler said election board staff hopes to finish counting the provisional ballots by the end of Tuesday. The counting will carry over into Wednesday should that not happen, she said.
County clerks offices throughout New Jersey must certify all election results on Wednesday, unless state officials change the deadline, which was already pushed back because of problems caused by Hurricane Sandy, she said. She said it is no yet known if the state will again push back the election certification deadline.
Fowler said her staff is prepared to meet the current certification deadline.
Vineland City Clerk Keith Petrosky said last week that his office needs final voting results before it can pick candidate positions on the runoff ballots. Fowler said the city’s voting machines must also be prepared for the runoff elections for both mayor and City Council.
A mayoral runoff election is held when no candidate gets more than 50 percent of the vote during the initial election. Residents then get to pick from the top two finishers.
A runoff election for City Council is held when no two candidates get more than 50 percent of the vote during the initial election.
Earlier this year, City Council opted not to do away with runoff elections when it voted to move the municipality’s non-partisan elections from May to November.
The updated vote figures show no change in the order of finish for the mayoral race. The results show incumbent Robert Romano with 8,306 votes, former City Council member Ruben Bermudez with 5,286 votes, former Mayor Perry Barse with 4,592 votes, City Councilman Douglas Albrecht with 2,331 votes, and David Mazur with 255 votes.
In the City Council race, the updated vote figures show Mayra Arroyo with 7, 283 votes, Maria Laboy with 7,085 votes, Peter Coccaro with 6,951 votes, Nelson Thompson with 6,068 votes, Anthony Romero with 5,946 votes, Anthony Fanucci with 4,970 votes, Paul Spinelli with 4,601 votes, and John Procopio with 4,550 votes. Calakos, Villar and Gonzalez round out the top 11 City Council vote getters.
Arroyo, Laboy, Coccaro, Thompson and Romero are all members of Romano’s “Proven Progress” slate. Fanucci, Spinelli, Villar and Calakos were on Barse’s “Vineland Taxpayers First” slate. Procopio and Gonzalez ran with Bermudez under the “Moving Forward … Together” slogan
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