In a release titled “South Orange Board of Trustee Race Too Close to Call,” South Orange Village Trustee Candidate Nureed Saeed congratulated two candidates — first-time candidate Karen Hilton and incumbent Walter Clarke — on their victories in the 2017 South Orange Village Board of Trustees election, but did not concede the race to the third candidate, Steve Schnall, an incumbent.
As of Wednesday morning, the Essex County Clerk’s website had posted unofficial results for 11 or 12 districts — showing Saeed running in 4th place, just 22 votes behind Schnall.
Unofficial returns from the South Orange Town Clerk Shinnell Smith show Saeed trailing by 24 votes with all 12 districts reporting (see below).
The top three candidates win election to the Board of Trustees.
As of Tuesday morning, the “South Orange 2017” slate of Schnall, Clarke and Hilton said it would await official results from the County before making any declarations. Both campaigns expressed concerns about reports of issues with voting machines during the election yesterday.
Here is the full press release from the Saeed campaign:
On May 9th, 2017 South Orange Resident’s took the polls to vote for Board of Trustees. Three vacant positions were sought by 4 candidates. Nureed Saeed ran as an independent in the non partisan race, against the establishment slate of Walter Clarke (incumbent), Steve Schnall (incumbent) and Karen Hilton (challenger). As of early morning, May 10th, the county website indicated a clear win for Hilton and Clarke, and a 22 vote edge for Mr. Schnall.
Ms. Saeed is waiting for the official county results and the provisional ballots to be counted.
“I congratulate Ms. Hilton and Mr. Clarke on their wins. One of the major platform pieces I ran on was increasing transparency and inclusion in our town. I think its important that every vote is counted for both transparency sake and to ensure every voters voice is included. The county will need some time to look at provisional ballots. With the concerns over the printing from machines in district 9, and the need to go to paper ballots at Marshall for a period in the morning, I believe it proper to wait for the release of the official count, with regards to myself and Mr. Schnall, “ said Saeed.
“Regarding our performance, we were a small but dedicated team that volunteered and ran a great campaign. We focused on the issues and brought forward a conversation about what true inclusion can look like. And we activated voters who have never voted in a municipal election before and thought it was important. The fact that one independent candidate can be this close in an election taking on a well-connected establishment slate, should serve to bolster other independent candidates who choose to run,” said Saeed.
County results should be available within a few days.