Incumbent Newark Mayor Ras Baraka won a third term during this week’s nonpartisan municipal elections. As of Wednesday, Baraka had nearly 83% of the vote, beating his opponent community organizer Sheila Montague.
Hosting a victory party at Newark’s Prudential Center, Baraka highlighted his recent accomplishments.
“There’s a lot of work that’s been happening in this city, and I’m just thankful to take another four years to continue what we’ve been doing,” he said to the crowd.
Those happenings in the city include breaking ground on a new 76-unit housing development, multi-million dollar upgrades for the Pequannock Water Treatment Plant, testifying in Washington about the city’s improvements to water and sending 40 local students on full-ride scholarships to college.
However, the road ahead for Baraka includes the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic impacting the city and a rise in crime.
“We may have some more work to do,” Baraka said. “It means we need you to get back out there and do some more work.”
Election Day in Newark was marred by issues due to recent congressional redistricting, according to reports. Many voters didn’t know where they were supposed to cast their ballots. Baraka and other officials claim the Essex County Board of Elections didn’t give voters enough notice about the changes.
Baraka is calling for the resignation of the election board.
“The problem is that there is no real remedy except that the people who did this should be removed instantly,” he said.
In response to the issues, Essex County Clerk Chris Durkin said in one report that most people didn’t experience any major changes to where they were supposed to go to vote.
“There were a lot of changes based on the new congressional map, and a lot of people got moved,” Durkin said. “For the majority [of voters], there was no change in their district for their polling site, but for there was a percentage where there was a change in their polling site.”