The Business of the City: Miscellaneous

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Moving the Plainfield School Board Elections Will Cost $115,000.00

I just got the figures from the clerk's office regarding the Plainfield BOE's desire to move the annual school board election from November back to April. When I heard about this, I contacted the clerk's office to get accurate information. Clearly, the costs did not come up in the discussion of this item, because several people evinced confusion about the cost. Yesterday, in conversation with some folks on Facebook, I had said that the number was upwards of $100,000.00. Well, folks, it is even higher than anyone imagined.

The projection is roughly $115,000.00. 

I was asked what the money was for. Well, it's to pay for the designing, printing and mailing of sample ballots and other materials to all of Plainfield's nearly 23,000 registered voters, to pay for the personnel, election workers for all 13 polling places for our 34 election districts, to pay overtime to DPW, police, clerk's office staff, the voting machines, and so on. I have pasted  below the email I received from the city clerk confirming this cost. The county clerk now has to add the county costs into her budget--which the taxpayers of Plainfield will have to pay for.

FACT: Plainfield is, indeed, the ONLY district in Union County that has voted to move the election.

FACT: Further, the costs for an April election must be COMPLETELY reimbursed by the Plainfield Public School District. That $115,000.00 could go to a lot of other stuff for our kids. Again, there has been no rationale given for changing the BOE election date back to April, other than the perceived idea that somehow "politics" would not be a part of it. Look back at the BOE elections over the past 12-13 years (well before the election was moved to November just 4 years ago), and you will see that political factions are always among those who participate--sometimes their teams win, and sometimes their teams lose. But to add $115,000.00 to Plainfield taxpayer woes just to have a special election is imprudent and morally unacceptable, given the realities facing our children and our community. Read Clerk AJ's email, below:

Councilwoman Williams,
Per your request, I have reached out to the respective entities to come up with a projection of cost for the April 2016 School Board Election.
Union County Clerk  - Responsible for the mailing of sample ballots, advertisement, and printing of ballots. (estimated cost $40,000)
Union County Board of Elections – Provide poll workers for each district, pick up and delivery of voting machines. (estimated cost $46,000)
Plainfield City Clerk’s – Required by State Statute to be open from the opening of polls to the closing of polls and act as first point of contact in municipality for election related issues.  Also required to hold evening voter registration hours prior to election. (estimated cost $6,000)
Police & Public Works – Overtime Cost (estimated $2,000.00)
Plainfield BOE Buildings & Grounds - Overtime Cost (estimated $2,000.00)
Keeping in mind that these are just estimated projected figures based off previous elections, I think it is safe to say that this election should in no event exceed $115,000.00.
Also be advised that I have been informed that the Board of Education is 100% responsible for reimbursing each entity listed above.
Abubakar Jalloh, R.M.C.
Municipal Clerk
FINAL NOTE: Remember that when Gov. Christie created a special October election for the Senate back in 2013, it cost taxpayers in the state over $10 MILLION.


  1. The next question is WHO voted to spend $115.000.00 on an election instead of the Children of Plainfield? And why wasn't this shared with the Parents of these Children? This is UNCONSCIONABLE!!!

  2. What do we need to stop this from happening?

  3. Like I say, it's NEVER about the kids. It always saddens me when that statement is proven correct.
    Nancy Jordan