A third count by the Hudson County Clerk’s office, which will officially certify the election later this week when provisional votes are counted, has the referendum passing by 58 votes.
Representatives of both the Mile Square Taxpayers Association, a group of property owners and developers who have advocated passing the referendum, and the Hoboken Fair Housing Association, were in the City Clerk’s office at City Hall until just before midnight on Tuesday waiting for results.
When the initial counts were released, Farina made it clear that the results were not official. Members of both sides noted the possibility that the results of the election might end up in court, not unlike the results of the same referendum on last year’s ballot. The question reappeared on Tuesday’s ballot after a court ordered this summer that it should be voted on again.
Farina said that upon recounting the votes Wednesday morning, after being notified of a discrepancy with the results on the website of the County Clerk, he and his staff discovered a handful of mathematical mistakes that changed the tally’s outcome.
Barbara Netchert, the Hudson County clerk, said that while her office measures votes using computerized cartridges that come from the voting machines, the city clerk may have used to the taper receipts that the cartridges produce. Adding the results manually could have allowed for some discrepancies.
The referendum asked whether the city should take apartments off of rent control once a current tenant moves out. Buildings with five or more units would go back under control when a new tenant moves in paying the new rent. Smaller buildings would be free from rent control.
The city's Rent Control Ordinance goes back to 1973 and limits how much a landlord can raise the rent each year, with certain exceptions. Amendments over the years have changed technicalities of the law, but have not overhauled it. Most apartments in Hoboken built during or before 1987 fall under rent control. – Dean DeChiaro