The Essex County Clerk’s Office is reporting that it will not be “in a position to certify the results of the election for South Orange Board of Trustees” until Monday, May 15, according to a release from the “South Orange 2017” slate of candidates that includes Steve Schnall, Walter Clarke and Karen Hilton.
“While the process of waiting is difficult for all involved, especially the candidates and their supporters, it is of utmost importance that the county be allowed the time to definitively ensure the results of the election are correct,” read the release. “Steve Schnall, Karen Hilton, and Walter Clarke want to take this opportunity to again thank their campaign team and supporters for their enthusiasm during the campaign and now ask for their continued patience in its resolution. We also extend our best wishes to the campaign of Nureed Saeed and her supporters as we all hope for a speedy outcome.”
According to the unofficial county tabulation, shared by South Orange Village Clerk Shinell Smith (see below), Saeed trails Schnall for third place by just 22 votes, with provisional ballots not yet opened. According to a Village President Sheena Collum, there are “approximately 8 provisional and 5 emergency ballots that the County is certifying. We may get official certification tomorrow or Monday on the final results (TBD).”
Posting on her Facebook page, Collum announced that “A reorganization and swearing-in was officially supposed to be held this Monday, May 15th. As a result of the timing of the official certification, I’ve cancelled that meeting and it will take place on Monday, May 22nd as a part of our regular board meeting. The reorganization meeting is where the BOT appoints members to various standing, statutory, and advisory committees. I can’t finish that process until the county finishes theirs. Stay tuned and thanks for your patience.”
Yesterday, Saeed congratulated Karen Hilton and Walter Clarke on their victories but did not concede the race to Schnall.