McGrath Wins Town Council Seat In Low Turnout Election

By on May 14, 2019

Christine McGrath won a first term on the Verona Town Council amid a steep drop in voter turnout in Verona. The leading contender for the second seat appears to be Councilman Alex Roman, though provisional and write-in ballots could change the final tally.

According to unofficial results, McGrath substantially led all candidates with 1,314 votes. McGrath is a member and former president of the Junior Woman’s Club and Essex County chapter leader of the gun reform group Moms Demand Action, and drew on that community engagement during her run for office.

Councilman Alex Roman now has 831 votes, to 828 for John Quattrocchi, 817 for Michael Nochimson and 674 for John Fio Rito. Nochimson spent heavily in his bid for a third term, including a get-out-the-vote text message blast today. Nochimson, who has been serving as deputy mayor in the current council, spent $13,896.89 on his campaign according to the most recent spending report. Quattrocchi is a financial industry executive who served for 15 years on the Verona Board of Education. Fio Rito, a U.S. Army veteran and real estate developer.

Turnout fell 36.4% from the 2017 Council election, with just under 20% of registered Verona voters casting a ballot. Turnout was highest in District 7, which is the polling place at F.N. Brown, and lowest in district 11, which includes the Hillwood Terrace senior citizen building, at 9.7%. District 1, which became a polling place primarily for the Claridge House residents two years ago, had an 18.9% turnout. Of the 11,277 registered voters in Verona, just 2,242 seem to have cast a ballot.

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CLARIFICATION: Only 19.9% of Verona’s registered voters voted in this election, down from 24.5% in the last Council election in 2017. The number of registered voters increased to 11,277 now from 10,421 in 2017. Had the voting patterns of 2017 held,  Township Manager Matt Cavallo estimated that 856 more people would have voted this time around. But they didn’t. The number of people who voted was 36.4% below what Cavallo had thought likely.

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