WESTWOOD—State Superior Court Judge Estela M. De La Cruz ordered a recount of the Nov. 2 municipal election, finding cause and no objection in a motion filed by Councilman Jodi Murphy.
Murphy, one of two Democrats on the board, appears to have lost his re-election bid, for a second three-year term, by eight votes.
Two three-year seats were open. Official results show Republican incumbent Cheryl Hodges got 2,210 votes, for 27.48% of the pie, and her Always Westwood running mate Anthony Greco got 2,037 votes, for 25.33%, toppling Murphy (2,029 votes). , or 25.23%) and blocking it One Westwood. running mate, Bermari Roig (1,765 votes, or 21.94%).
Two ballots were cast for a personal choice, for 0.02%. The borough had 8,688 registered voters.
“With eight votes in one year with so many ways to vote and 685 mail-outs, anything is possible,” Murphy told Pascack Press just after filing his case.
The recount and recheck will begin Tuesday, November 30 at 9 a.m. and continue for as long as needed.
After De La Cruz issued her order on Nov. 22, Murphy explained that she was “curious about the mail vote tracking system. Six people contacted me to let me know that their ballots were marked received but not yet marked “accepted”. With so many ways to vote, I felt there were plenty of opportunities to miss things.
Mayor Ray Arroyo, a Republican who was ousted from re-election to the council in 2018 only to win through a recount and trial, told Pascack Press on Nov. 24, “The gap was less than 10, which is a generally accepted threshold for recounting. request. Who better than me to understand why she wants to verify the account? »
Murphy had declined donations from Westwood residents and small yard signs, saying, “Many of our residents are small business owners who have struggled financially over the past year and a half. Other residents have found themselves struggling financially due to pandemic-related job loss, including having to stay home with their children for virtual schooling.
She added, “More recently, many of our residents were affected by the devastation caused by Hurricane Ida. For those intending to make a campaign donation, I ask that you instead consider donating to one of the various organizations that are in dire need of funds at this time.
She suggested the Westwood Volunteer Ambulance Corps, which has been unable to hold its carnival for two consecutive years due to the pandemic.
She also called for support for the Westwood Volunteer Fire Department, Westwood Cares, the American Red Cross, “and/or any other organizations providing support to those who suffered losses from Hurricane Ida, and any another non-profit organization that contributes to the welfare of Westwood residents.”
Murphy said in a letter to the editor, “I wish all of the candidates good luck in their campaign efforts.”
Once their victory was certified, Hodges and Greco posted, “Thank you to all the residents who have supported us in so many ways. Your commitment and trust in us is greatly appreciated. We were happy to share our accomplishments and vision for Westwood with residents and can’t wait to get to work! We thank our opponents for a mutually respectful campaign, and we look forward to representing all residents and moving Westwood forward. »
Under a drop-down link that gives the official 2021 results, a notice on the county clerk’s webpage says the three election offices were working diligently to tabulate all results in accordance with state law.
“The current figure of 100% represents that all voters from 70 cities who came to vote at the polls on Election Day were received and counted. Please understand that we also have early voting, mail-in voting and draft voting results to embed in the link. Once all the votes have been counted and certified” – as they indeed were – “the results will be marked as official”.
A final tabulation of mail-in votes – due by November 8 but postmarked no later than 8 p.m. November 2 – and verification of the provisional ballots changed the unofficial results of many races but did not not shaken the tendency of Republicans to outrun Democrats in the Valley.
In a campaign letter to Pascack Press in September, Hodges, a Gold Star mom, cited her strong family and philanthropic ties to the borough and her healthcare management skills, which she deployed in a vaccination campaign against Covid-19 in partnership with the community hospital.
Greco noted that he is a very active 19-year-old resident. “I am a father of three deeply committed to the children of the borough. My past and present volunteer work includes coaching Westwood Baseball, Football, Softball and Dragons Soccer as well as my work as Assistant Scout Leader of Boy Scout Pack and Troop #350 which demonstrates the depth of my commitment.
He said if elected, he would work “to continue to improve park infrastructure and ensure that our sports and recreation programs are inclusive and available to all children who wish to participate.” I understand these programs from a practical point of view. He runs a local real estate company.
Roig raced this year as a single mother of three and a 16-year-old resident; member of the Recreation Advisory Council for over a decade; and a veteran football association board member and coach of boys’ and girls’ softball and basketball.
She touted her more than 20 years of knowledge of the federal, state and county government.
Murphy, now communications manager for Bergen LEADS, told Pascack Press when she was elected that “Westwood is a special place for me. My grandparents moved here in 1952 and raised their six children, two of whom still reside in town, including my mother, Anne. My son is fourth generation in Westwood and I am raising him here.
On Nov. 23, she said she has no regrets about turning down donations from residents and street signs, instead asking for donations from borough groups and families in need. “It was the right thing to do…We have so many generous people here in Westwood.”
She campaigned on her record, which includes liaison duties with the Shade Tree Committee, Technology and the Westwood Volunteer Fire Department.
She has served as a Recreation Advisory Board Member, Forever Young Instructor, Green Team Member, PTO Co-Chair, and Mayor’s Wellness Campaign Co-Chair.
Murphy was sworn in as councilor on January 2, 2019, at the community center in a ceremony presided over by fellow Democrat and then-mayor John Birkner Jr.
Birkner said it was her honor to swear in Murphy – with her son, Cooper, holding the Bible – as she became the second female Democrat elected to the council in the past two years, joining Erin Collins.
Republican Beth Dell, the current chair of the council, is the third female member of this council. Hodges is the fourth.
There was an empty seat on the podium at the 2019 reorganization meeting: that of Democratic challenger James Whelan, who appeared to beat incumbent adviser Raymond Arroyo for two terms on November 6, 2018, but was barred from serving. oath pending trial on January 28, 2019.
The legal action Arroyo sought after he appeared to have lost by the slimmest of margins saw him sworn in after all, and he was elected chairman of the board. He was careful to note that he only wanted the vote to be accurate.