Montclair residents head to the polls for 2022 Election Day
Polling places for 2022 Election Day are open and Montclairians can cast their ballots for U.S. congressperson, Essex County executive, the Montclair school bond referendum and the Montclair Board of Education until 8 p.m.
The school bond referendum asks voters to authorize the Montclair Board of Education to issue $187.7 million in bonds to pay for repairs and improvements in all 11 of the public schools in the township. The average age of the schools is 99 years old, the Montclair school district says.
The proposal would allow the district to issue bonds three times over the next five years, with each bond set for a 20-year issue. The cost for the average homeowner in Montclair over the 24-year course of repaying the bonds is expected to be $732, beginning with an expected $258 increase in 2023. At the height of the bond costs, the average taxpayer will be paying about $2 each day.
The state Department of Education will cover 31% of the bond projects’ costs, totaling $58 million in the form of debt service aid, and 31% of the bond interest.
In the Board of Education election, four candidates are vying for three seats. The candidates are Yvonne W. Bouknight, Brian Fleischer, Noah Gale and Monk Inyang.
In the contest for Essex County executive, 20-year Democratic incumbent Joseph DiVincenzo Jr. is facing Republican Adam Kraemer.
For U.S. representative, two races affect Montclair. The majority of voters in Montclair will choose between Mikie Sherrill, the Democratic incumbent, and Paul DeGroot, the Republican candidate, in the 11th Congressional District. Others will have a choice between, Donald Payne Jr., the Democratic incumbent, and David Pinckney, the Republican candidate, in the 10th Congressional District.
Voting Tuesday morning was smooth and easy, Cynthia Kitay said. She voted at Watchung School in Ward 2, District 3.
Kitay, a Democrat, voted for Yvonne Bouknight, Brian Fleischer and Monk Inyang for the Montclair Board of Education.
“I like their backgrounds and experience,” Kitay said.
She voted yes on the referendum because the “schools are a mess” and “need help,” she said.
She also voted for Mikie Sherrill, the Democratic incumbent in the 11th Congressional District.
For Frankie Cevallos, the voting process was a little more complicated. She cast her ballot at Bradford School in Ward 1, District 9.
“I tried using the wrong machine four times,” Cevallos said.
After the confusion was sorted out — she had been trying the machine assigned to a different district — she was all set, she said.
While Cevallos declined to share how she voted, she said she got information about candidates and the referendum from news publications, emails from the school district and the Montclair Fund for Educational Excellence, and candidate advertisements.
Jessica Schachter learned about the candidates and referendum from social media and signs around town, she said.
But one candidate in particular — Brian Fleischer — was an obvious choice for her, she said.
The two grew up together in Montclair, and Fleischer attended Schachter’s seventh birthday party.
“He’s so clearly dedicated and committed,” she said. “Day and night, he’s on social media answering people’s questions.”
Schachter voted in favor of the referendum measure but said it was “unfortunate that the schools haven’t been taken care of.”
“The schools are in disrepair,” she said. “There’s no time like now.”
Schachter also voted for Donald Payne Jr., the Democratic incumbent in the 10th Congressional District, and Joseph DiVincenzo Jr., the 20-year Democratic incumbent Essex County executive.
After casting her vote, Schachter said she was feeling grateful for the experience.
“It’s a privilege to be able to vote,” she said. “A privilege that was not given to many for a long time.”
Check back with Montclair Local for updates throughout the day. We'll be providing election results on our website, mobile app and social media.