Wednesday, February 07, 2018

It's gonna be interesting...

Trenton's Municipal Elections are scheduled for Tuesday, May 8, 2018. As with the last few election cycles, it looks like the makings for a full three-ring circus. For sure, the sideshows have started arriving and setting up shop.

Managing an election from the city side is no easy task. It falls to the Municipal Clerk's office to see that candidates who meet qualifications such as residency and voter registration complete the proper paperwork. Those who make that first cut are then issued petitions to be signed by registered voters in the district (ward or city wide) that the candidate wishes to represent.

Those petitions have to be turned into the clerk for certification and counting. Each petition has to match the voter registration lists. Since voters can only sign one petition for each office (except Council At Large, where each voter can sign up to three petitions) the lists have to be cross checked for duplicates. (First petition in, counts. Subsequent ones do not).

It's a lot of work.

But, sometimes, the Clerk's office doesn't do much to help itself. We should all remember the screw up in 2014 when then clerk Richard Kachmar used the wrong formula to calculate the number of required petitions for each office, resulting in a lower threshold. We're sure the current clerk and staff are being extremely careful this time around.

Or are they.

Every couple of weeks since January, we've requested copies of the candidate registration forms from the clerk's office. This has been an attempt to keep up with the entrants in this year's horse race.

Here are the links to the certificates we have obtained so far:
First batch, second batch, third batch, Gusciora (omitted from third batch by clerk's office)   

The form lists the name of the candidate; their address; office sought; number of petitions issued (usually a few over the required amount); deadline for turning the petitions in. This year, that deadline is 4 pm on Monday, March 5.
Imagine our surprise when we reviewed Mayoral Candidate Reed Gusciora's form and noted the stated deadline read, "4:00 pm, Monday March 6, 2018."

This sent us back to all the other registration forms we'd received so far. All of them read correctly, Monday March 5, except one. That was for Council At Large candidate Elvin Montero. 

Now, it is a silly little mistake, but...this form is (or should be) a template. In fact, it was, per the date in the lower left corner, created in February of 2010. So it has been used for three election cycles. Why hasn't the deadline date been "fixed" in the current template so that this kind of mistake doesn't have a chance of occurring? (Considering the issues that the Trenton Water Works seems to have with templates for their advisories...maybe it is a city hall custom?)

We've noticed one other little glitch in candidate documentation coming out of the clerk's office. Kevin Moriarty received a listing of candidates and the amount of petitions they had turned in so far, Assemblyman Gusciora was noted as running for the West Ward Council seat rather than Mayor.

's going to be an interesting few months, folks.

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