Frank "Pupie" Raia led petition drive threatens move of municipal elections to November
On Friday petitions numbering 3710 of approximately 2200 required were submitted to the City Clerk’s office to invalidate the recent approval by the City Council to shift municipal elections from May to November. Mayor Zimmer also supported moving municipal elections to November.
A successful petition would place the matter of November elections on the ballot for a vote this fall.
The effort which began almost as soon as the proposed move passed in a 5-4 vote at the last City Council meeting means the expected higher turnout in a November election would likely be thwarted.
Councilman Mike Russo was reported to have said not ten minutes after the City Council approval a referendum effort was already underway led by developer and perennial candidate Frank “Pupie” Raia.
The Hudson Reporter noted last weekend November elections in Hoboken typically produce a 45% higher vote count. Most objective observers understand the referendum is designed to maintain lower voter participation citywide when voters in subsidized housing can play a larger role in election outcomes at the expense of the “newcomer” taxpayers.
The referendum’s chances of passage in a low turnout election are higher with no compelling election items to bring voters to the polls later this fall. Two Hobokenites, Freeholder Anthony Romano who is up for re-election against The Hoboken Journal’s Kurt Gardiner is a recent surprise addition, but it’s unclear if awareness will generate more voter enthusiasm and participation.
Oddly, its a fall November election the Frank Raia Old Guard forces are counting on with low turnout. With over 3700 signatures, its not likely a review at the City Clerk’s office will toss out sufficient votes to force the backers of the referendum to take additional time to obtain the required 2200 signatures.
MSV exclusively reported receiving multiple reports of people being approached by young workers, many hired from Bayonne, to sign a petition against the Port Authority toll/PATH increases. On reading the document, they found the petition was for overriding municipal elections in November and maintaining them in May.
Talking Ed Note: One argument stated in favor of May elections is to keep a clear line away from partisan politics. But the recent county elections in May show a partisan tilt to the County’s influence as the slate backed by the combined HCDO and State Senator Brian Stack barely received token opposition in the spring primaries.
MSV predicted the referendum effort would obtain the required signatures for the ballot this November if for no other reason than more people would be hired to find people to sign when needed.
Backers of the referendum have highlighted almost exclusively the extension of six months to the Council and mayor’s terms as the reason to seek a direct public vote.
Observers of the Old Guard in Hoboken know better. This may still play out in more ways than anticipated.
More to come.
– Posted at full gallop