The Union City Board of Commissioners has adopted an ordinance that allows for early voting for the upcoming May 2022 municipal election.
At the Nov. 23 board meeting at the Academy for Advancement and Enrichment, Mayor Brian Stack explained the ordinance. According to Stack, the early voting rolled out by the state this past November was only for the General Election.
“I was very proud to vote for that legislation in the [state] senate,” said Stack, who is also the state senator for the 33rd Legislative District which includes Union City. “We just had early voting in the November election in Union City, which was nine days.”
However, if municipalities wanted to have early voting for the upcoming municipal election, under the state law they could pass an ordinance to do so. And after the good turnout in Union City in November, Stack looks to repeat that success.
High early voter turnout
“It really has worked wonders to build up participation and the residents coming out to vote,” he said. “We saw residents come out to vote who had not come out to vote in a long time.”
Even though there was vote-by-mail and extended Election Day voting hours from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m., early voting really made the difference, according to Stack.
“These additional nine days allowed, in addition to vote-by-mail, 3,156 people to vote early in Union City,” he said. “It was placed in the middle of the city on 27th Street. The most amount of people were coming from that area. So I hope we can expand that and have more residents come out to vote.”
Stack will likely seek reelection in May for another four years as Mayor, what would be his sixth term. He said that early voting benefits everyone, and applauded its expanding use.
“Speaking as someone who seeks election, maybe everyone who comes out to vote doesn’t vote for myself or the commissioners, but participation is important in the political process,” he said. “I appreciate the fact that early voting is now pouring out.”
The difference between the early voting in the 2022 municipal election and the recent early voting is that in May, there will be less days to vote.
“Unfortunately, there will only be three days, according to the state law,” he said. “So it would be Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, prior to the Tuesday municipal election.”
Stack hoped that the early voting would bring out even more residents this time. And to help ensure that, he said there would likely be more than just one early voting site in May, possibly up to five sites in the city.
Additionally, according to the ordinance, the early voting will use electronic poll books and optical scan voting machines, or other machines that produce a verifiable paper ballot.
The board voted unanimously to approve the ordinance. The next Union City Board of Commissioners meeting is at 7 p.m. on Dec. 7 at Colin Powell Elementary School at 1500 New York Avenue. For more information, go to ucnj.com and click on the event on the calendar webpage.
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