Following last week’s general election, members of the Ocean County Board of Elections met Monday, Nov. 10, to certify the write-in and provisional votes cast in the county, including for the Beach Haven Borough Council. According to Marie Peterson, assistant supervisor of the board, incumbent Beach Haven Councilman James White received 166 of the 169 write-ins, as well as one provisional ballot, for a final tally of 167 votes, officially re-electing him for one of the two available council seats.
White attended the meeting and said he was “extremely proud of the whole process.”
|Photo via Beach Haven Council|
James White will maintain his position
on the Beach Haven council.
“They did a lot of due diligence; they were prepared,” he added. “The commissioners went through line by line, name by name, deleting, adding. ... It was a completely detailed thing. It was nonpartisan; there’s two representatives from each party. I think it’s a very fair and ethical process that they did.”
Prior to the election, the Concerned Citizens of Beach Haven, a committee of local residents that formed to seek White’s re-election, invested in letters and signs urging voters to write him in on the ballot due to his strong leadership during his current term, especially during Superstorm Sandy and the ongoing recovery process.
“There’s no telling until the board goes through all of the (write-in) votes whether they were for the same individual,” said Scott Colabella, Ocean County clerk. “That’s the process; there’s nothing unusual about it. It’s the way it’s done legally, statutorily. It’s critical that we figure out if anyone won in a write-in vote so their name can be certified. It’s a very laborious process, and the board has to make sure the person is registered to vote and they meet the jurisdiction qualifications. Once they go through that, they begin to do a tally. Then on Monday is when we certify the results of the election.
“We obviously, on election night, look for numbers and report for candidates that are on the ballot and give results. So the board doesn’t have the time, if you can imagine, to go through all of the write-in votes that are cast, when somebody wants to know who won for Congress or something. Their number one priority is to get the results out for the candidates that are on the ballot. That’s time-consuming enough,” he explained.
White, along with Councilman Edward Kohlmeir, had decided not to re-run for the election, to give someone else a chance, he said. After learning of his potential write-in, he said he would be “humbled and proud to serve if it would come to pass.”
“It is not normally how one gets elected to a position for any office, especially when there are other names printed on the ballot,” said Colabella. “It’s not so unusual when no petitions were filed and the only method of getting elected is through write-in; that’s not as unique. But when there are names on the ballot for voters to vote for and a write-in receives more votes on the ballot, that’s unique.”
Don Kakstis, one of the four candidates who officially ran in the election, received the other available seat with 202 votes.
Tom Lynch, who came in third, received 164 votes, plus one provisional vote, for a final tally of 165 votes, Peterson said on Monday.
Ken Muha acquired 94 votes and Bob Wynkoop received 57 votes.
— Kelley Anne Essinger
This article was published in The SandPaper.