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The General Election is Tuesday, Nov. 2. Polls will be open 6 a.m. to 8 p.m., but residents can already cast their votes by mail. 

Perhaps the largest decision before Montclair voters this year will be the only local ballot measure (there are two other statewide measures) — asking if the township should continue having a Type I school district with a mayor-appointed Board of Education, or a Type II district with an elected one.

The latter is far more common in New Jersey. But Montclair has put five such referendum questions before voters since the 1960s. Each time, residents have opted to keep an appointed board. The most recent referendum question, in 2009, was defeated 57% to 43%.

A move to Type II would take place immediately, if voters choose it. It would also expand the school board from seven to nine members, and disband the separate Board of School Estimate, which approves school budgets, and which fixes costs for capital improvements before sending them to the Township Council for bonding. In a Type II system, budgets would typically be approved by the school board, but would be sent to voters if they exceed a 2% cap on yearly property levy growth. Capital improvement bonds would go to referendums. 

Montclair Local hosted a virtual panel discussion on this topic Thursday, Oct. 21, at 7 p.m. 

When and where to vote

In-person polling locations are listed on the township’s website, montclairnjusa.org. Select “Government,” “Municipal Clerk” and “Elections.” The township also has an interactive map of polling locations linked from its site, and they’re listed at the New Jersey Division of Elections website at nj.gov/state/elections as well. Contact the municipal clerk’s office for polling location questions at 973-509-4900.

Early voting was open Saturday, Oct. 23, through Sunday, Oct. 31. A list of early voting sites was available on the Essex County Board of Elections website at essexboardofelections.com/early-voting-sites

Tuesday, Oct. 26 was the deadline to apply by mail for a Vote-by-Mail ballot for the general election. 

Mailed ballots must be postmarked on or before Nov. 2 (Election Day) and must be received by the Essex Board of Elections on or before Nov. 8. They can be returned to the Election Office in person, at 495 Dr. Martin Luther King Blvd. in Newark, in the Dr. Martin Justice Building Room, until 8 p.m. They can also be returned in any of several secure drop boxes located throughout the county until 8 p.m. on Nov. 2. In Montclair, there are drop boxes at the municipal building at 205 Claremont Ave., and at Montclair State University at 1 Normal Ave. (on College Avenue, in Lot No. 8). 

Ballot Measures

The following measures and interpretive statements will appear on Montclair residents’ ballots:

State Public Question No. 1: Constitutional amendment to permit wagering on a college sport or athletic events

Do you approve amending the Constitution to permit wagering through casinos and current or former horse racetracks on all college sport or athletic events?

Currently, wagering is prohibited on college sport or athletic events that take place in New Jersey. Wagering is also prohibited on an event in which a team from a New Jersey college participates. 

Interpretive statement:

Currently, the state Constitution prohibits wagering on college sport or athletic events taking place in New Jersey. It also prohibits wagering on an event in which a New Jersey college team participates. 

This amendment would allow the Legislature to pass laws permitting wagering on any college sport or athletic event. It would permit wagering even if a New Jersey college team participates in the competition. Such wagering would be permitted only through casinos and current or former horse racetracks. 

State Public Question No. 2: Constitutional amendment to allow certain organizations authorized to conduct games of chance to use proceeds from those games to support the organization

Do you approve amending the Constitution to permit all groups that are allowed to conduct bingo or raffles to use the net proceeds from those games to support their groups?

Currently, only veterans and senior citizens may use the net proceeds from those games to support their groups. All other groups that are permitted to conduct bingo or raffles may only use the proceeds from those games for certain purposes. They are not permitted to use those proceeds to support their groups. The amendment would allow the other groups that conduct bingo ro raffles to use the proceeds to support their groups as well. 

Interpretive statement:

The Constitution permits certain groups to conduct games of chance such as bingo or raffles. Those groups are veterans, charitable, educational, religious, fraternal, civic and senior citizen groups; volunteer fire companies; and first-aid or rescue squads. 

The net proceeds from those games of chance may only be used for educational, charitable, patriotic, religious or public-spirited uses. However, veterans and senior citizen groups may also use the proceeds from those games to support their groups. 

This amendment would permit all of the groups authorized to conduct games of chance to use the net proceeds from conducting bingo or raffles to support their groups. 

Township of Montclair: School governance proposal

Shall the Montclair Township school district be reclassified from a “Type I” school district, with members of the Board of Education appointed by the mayor, to a “Type II” school district, with members of the Board of Education elected by township voters during regularly scheduled annual November elections, with dissolution of the appointed Board of School Estimate, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 18A:9-4?

Interpretive statement:

If a majority of voters vote yes, the change from a Type I school district to a Type II school district would mean that voters would elect members to the Montclair Township Board of Education. The Board of Education would change from a seven-member Type I board appointed by the mayor to a nine-member Type II elected board. Each member would be elected to a three-year term, with elections for three members occurring during regularly-scheduled  annual November elections starting the first November after passage of this referendum, and current members remaining until their terms expire. This conversion would eliminate the Board of School Estimate, have future bonding based on the credit of the district rather than the township, and subject future bonding for capital projects and any operating budgets that exceed state caps on property tax growth to approval by public referendum. If approved, there will also be other minor technical changes required that are not set forth herein. 


For governor and lieutenant governor 

The candidates are (chose one slate for a four-year term): 

  • Democratic Party: For governor, Phil Murphy. For lieutenant governor, Sheila Y. Oliver (incumbents)
  • Republican Party: For governor, Jack Ciattarelli. For lieutenant governor, Diane Allen
  • Socialist Workers Party: For governor, Joanne Kuniansky. For  lieutenant governor, Vivian M. Sahner 
  • Green Party: For governor, Madelyn R. Hoffman. For lieutenant governor, Heather Warburton 
  • Libertarian Party: For governor, Gregg Mele. For lieutenant governor,  Eveline Brownstein 

New Jersey State Senate District 34

The candidates are (choose one for a two-year term)

  •  Democratic Party: Nia H. Gill (incumbent)
  •  Republican Party: Scott Pollack

New Jersey General Assembly District 34 

The candidates are (choose two, each for a two-year term): 

  •  Democratic Party: Thomas P. Giblin (incumbent)
  •  Democratic Party: Britnee N. Timberlake (incumbent)
  •  Republican Party: Tafari K. Anderson
  •  Republican Party: Irene DeVita
  •  Stop the Insanity Party: Clenard H. Childress Jr. 

Essex County Sheriff

The candidates are (choose one for a three-year term):

  •  Democratic  Party: Armando B. Fontoura (incumbent)
  •  Republican Party: Nicholas G. Pansini

— Information compiled by Talia Wiener

Talia (she/her) is the education reporter for Montclair Local and is always looking for ways to view stories through a solutions journalism lens. She has spent time in newsrooms of all sizes and scopes....