Two weeks before the general election this November, 67 property owners came to find out that they were not living in the ward they had voted in for close to half a decade. On Monday, October 26th, it was confirmed with the Union County Board of Elections that the voting list required an update to correlate with the actual municipal version of the ward map for the borough’s 3rd and 5th Wards.
Roselle Park is divided into wards, like many other municipalities in New Jersey, but it is different in that where one lives in the borough actually matters with respect to whom one can vote for and who represents a voter. Some times, it ends up being on what side of the street one lives on. Every decade, after the national census, Roselle Park reviews its ward to see if any population shifts in each ward constitutes a redrawing of boundaries. Such was the case in 2010 and the ward committee shifted the boundaries between the 3rd and 5th wards in the area of West Colfax and West Webster between Larch and Locust.
In August of this year, Joseph DeIorio, whose husband Thomas ‘Thos’ Shipley was running for the 5th ward, had discovered a discrepancy between the county’s cover list and the municipality’s ward map. In reviewing both he had asked for a certified copy of the map. The voter list from the county had the wards separated at Elm Street. The municipal map had the wards separated along West Lincoln.
“When we were walking the ward and the voter list had areas outside the 5th ward map,” commented Mr. DeIorio, “Something didn’t make sense but then I also noticed looking at the map it was not certified.”
He contacted the County Board of Elections and after some research on their part, the municipal map was deemed correct and the voter list was updated.
Under the incorrect list, there were 30 properties in 3rd ward, including the 7-Eleven, and 37 in 5th ward. The correct map has 6 more properties – 36 in total – in Ward 3 and 31 lots in the Ward 5. These loss of potential votes would not have changed the election results since outgoing 5th Ward Councilman Richard G. Templeton, III lost his seat by 136 votes.
In doing research for the article and reviewing all aspects of ward boundaries, it was discovered that John and Sharon Curia, the Roselle Park Democratic Committee (RPDC) members for Ward 5-District 1, actually reside in Ward 3-District 2; such was the case in both the incorrect county map and accurate municipal map. The Curias were not in the 5th Ward since, at least, 2000 and will have to apparently vacate their seat.
It has not been determined when or if those seats will be filled before the next Democratic Committee election in 2017. A message left for Mrs. Curia to comment was not returned.
Below is a map of the wards for all of Roselle Park: