Bettering Plainfield with the facts since 2005

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Mapp victory: A look at the numbers; Harassment at Barlow School

Voters warmed to Mapp's message of hope:
One Plainfield, One Future.
Plainfielders turned their backs on two-term incumbent Mayor Sharon Robinson-Briggs Tuesday, giving Councilor Adrian Mapp the line in the November general election by a more than 3-2 margin.

Supporters and volunteers gathered at Plainfield's Democratic headquarters on West Front Street to hear the returns and celebrate. Though it became clear within a half-hour that Mapp had won decisively, Mayor Robinson-Briggs never called or came in person to concede, preferring instead to suffer defeat in silence. (Her husband Peter, a class act, did eventually come to HQ to privately congratulate Mapp on his win.)

Mapp's overwhelming defeat of Robinson-Briggs (2789 to 1746, according to unofficial returns), opens the way to a new day in Plainfield.

Voters responded to Mapp's appeal for competent and effective leadership at City Hall plus a policy of including all Plainfielders in a vision for the City by giving him the nod for the November general election, which in Plainfield is practically equivalent to ultimate victory.


Robinson-Briggs' most crushing defeat was in Ward 2, where she has seldom been seen and never campaigned. Among the most remarkable were the smackdowns in District 9 (Sleepy Hollow), where she only garnered 11 votes to Mapp's 109; and District 6 (Hillside Avenue Historic District), where Robinson-Briggs mustered only 23 votes to Mapp's 119.

Though Mapp took all four wards and swept the 2nd and 4th Wards resoundingly, Robinson-Briggs did narrowly win in three of the 34 voting districts: 3-5, 1-3 and 1-6. District 5 in Ward 3 is the neighborhood where Robinson-Briggs and her husband Peter own a home; the tally was 92 to 86 in Robinson-Briggs' favor. Ward 1, District 3, is anchored by the Richmond Towers senior citizens complex, where Robinson-Briggs operative Hattie Williams, who is also a Housing Authority commissioner, marshals the voters; the vote was 72-34 in Robinson-Briggs' favor. In Ward 1, District 6, which is the home of Plainfield's largest rental complex (Leland Gardens), Robinson-Briggs beat Mapp by just twelve votes (56-44).

Some observers found Mapp's win in Ward 4 of interest, because Robinson-Briggs has always portrayed the West End ward as her base. The Ward's five voting districts returned 363 votes for Mapp as opposed to 277 for Robinson-Briggs, a respectable 4-3 margin for Mapp. (Note: all figures are unofficial, from my notes as the returns came in; official figures -- including absentee ballots -- will come from the County in a few days.)


The day was sunny, clear and pleasant without being hot or muggy, and was marred only by several incidents at Barlow School centering around poll workers and Latino voters. Activist Flor Gonzalez, executive director of the Latin American Coalition, who has voted at Barlow School for years, was challenged rudely by a poll worker with a demand to show photo ID. When Gonzalez protested, the poll worker said she could not find her name in the register and refused to allow her to vote. After appealing to the County Board of Elections, the poll worker was removed and sent to another location and Gonzalez got to vote.

Later in the day at the same location, an elderly Hispanic woman whom Gonzalez accompanied to the polls was told that Gonzalez could not enter the booth with her, though the rules supposedly allowed for it. The elderly woman gave up in frustration and declined to try any further to cast her ballot.

Subsequently, Gonzalez spoke with County authorities who explained that the regulations no longer specify 'language' as a 'disability' that would allow someone to accompany a voter into the booth. Meantime, all parties agreed that the County is woefully short of bilingual poll workers and that this is an issua that needs to be addressed. After the second incident, which I witnessed, the County pulled a bilingual poll worker from elsewhere in the City to go to Barlow School. This situation needs to be remedied.

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Anonymous said...

Providing bilingual poll workers is a party problem, not a problem of the County election officials. Their reassigning poll workers on election day shows their flexibility and willingness to accommodate. However, bilingual citizens need to be encouraged to sign up to be poll workers, and the parties who select and assign them need to plan accordingly. And at $200-225 for the days work, it is worth it. Go Flor Gonzalez, we have two more elections this year.

Anonymous said...

I thought that when you became a citizen of the USA that you had to speak,read, and write English. How can anyone VOTE if they don't read about or go to meetings to find out about the candidates? English is the language in the USA.