2020 Elections: NJ Passes Ballot Questions, Booker, Norcross Win, Dems Sweep Freeholder Seats in Preliminary Results


Plus: results of contested local government and school board races throughout the county, as ballots continue to be tabulated.

By Matt Skoufalos | November 4, 2020

In an election season marked by significant changes brought on by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, many New Jersey voters went to bed Tuesday night with clarity on all but the biggest race in the country.

With some 71 percent of Camden County returns in, state and local races offered the clearest results, but with counting of ballots continuing throughout the next week before the final results are ultimately certified by the Camden County Clerk on November 20, nothing is yet confirmed entirely.

Stick with NJ Pen for updates.

Camden County Freeholder Melinda Kane holds up a sample ballot and its two envelopes. Credit: Matt Skoufalos.

Ballot Questions

According to predictions from the Associated Press, New Jerseyans overwhelmingly passed all three ballot questions they saw.

The first, whether the state should legalize and establish a system for retailing recreational cannabis for those 21 and older, passed by a projected two-thirds of the vote, NJ Spotlight reports via the AP.

With 71 percent of the votes reported in Camden County, the ayes had it, 94,727 to 31,917, and a total of 126,644 votes cast.

The second, whether New Jersey military veterans who did not serve in a time of war should be eligible for a $250 property tax deduction, transferrable to their spouses after death, passed by a similar margin, NJ Spotlight reports via the AP.

With 71 percent of the votes reported in Camden County, the ayes had it, 99,319 to 26,066, and a total of 125,385 votes cast.

The final question, which would allow the state to hold off on creating new legislative districts until federal census data are reported, was a bit closer, at a 60-40 split, according to NJ Spotlight via the AP.

With 71 percent of the votes reported in Camden County, the ayes had it, 81,001 to 40,733, and a total of 121,734 votes cast.

The state still awaits full results, as those estimations are based on 63 percent of precincts reporting.

U.S. Presidential Race

Democratic U.S. Presidential Candidate Joe Biden. Credit: Joe Biden.

The biggest race on the ticket in 2020 is still the murkiest, as both presidential candidates believe they have clear opportunities to clinch the electoral vote and the overall contest.

At about 1:30 a.m. Wednesday, Democratic hopeful Joe Biden addressed his supporters from his home state of Delaware, urging them to hold on while ballots are tallied in a handful of key battleground states, including Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.

“I’m here to tell you tonight we believe we’re on track to win this election,” Biden said.

“We knew because of the unprecedented early vote and the mail-in vote it was going to take a while,” he continued.

“We’re going to have to be patient until the hard work of tallying votes is finished,” Biden said. “And it ain’t over until every vote is counted, every ballot is counted, but we’re feeling good; we’re feeling good about where we are.”

“Keep the faith guys, we’re going to win this,” he concluded, thanking the crowd and saying, “Your patience is great.”

About an hour after Biden’s remarks, incumbent U.S. President Donald Trump thanked his supporters while also casting doubt on the electoral process and—without evidence—claiming that he had already clinched re-election.

U.S. President Donald Trump. Credit: Donald Trump.

“Millions and millions of people voted for us tonight, and a very sad group of people is trying to disenfranchise that group of people, and we won’t stand for it,” Trump said.

“We were getting ready for a big celebration. We were winning everything, and all of a sudden it was just called off.”

The president alleged that his opponents would prefer to take the matter to the courts rather than let the electoral process play out, and described the as-yet-undetermined results as “a fraud on the American public” and “an embarrassment to our country.”

“We were getting ready to win this election; frankly, we did win this election,” Trump said, and promised to “be going to the U.S. Supreme Court” to halt voting, which had long concluded across the nation by the time he had made those remarks.

At issue is the process for tabulating mail-in and provisional ballots, which varies state by state, and which may be seen in numbers significant to swing electoral races in key states across the country. That process is expected to stretch on through the coming hours and days, as millions of votes remain to be counted.

U.S. Senate Race

Democratic U.S. Senator Cory Booker (NJ). Credit: Cory Booker.

Tuesday ended with incumbent Democratic U.S. Senator Cory Booker sporting a sizable lead over Republican challenger Rikin Mehta.

With 71 percent of the vote returned Tuesday night, Booker led Mehta 104,220 to 40,462 in Camden County.



U.S. Congressional Race

Democratic U.S. Representative Donald Norcross NJ-01). Credit: Donald Norcross.

In New Jersey’s First U.S. Congressional District, incumbent Democratic U.S. Representative Donald Norcross showed a sizable lead over Republican challenger Claire Gustafson Tuesday night.

With 71 percent of the vote in Camden County reported, Norcross more than doubled up Gustafson, 101, 836 to 39,744.



Camden County Surrogate Race

Camden County Surrogate Michelle Gentek-Mayer. Credit: Camden County.

With 71 percent of the results in, Incumbent Democratic Camden County Surrogate Michelle Gentek-Mayer of Gloucester Township appears to have defended her seat against Republican challenger Kimberly Stuart of Haddon Heights, 101,468 to 42,172.




Camden County Freeholder Race

Camden County Freeholder Candidates (clockwise, from top left): Democrats Almar Dyer, Louis Cappelli, and Jonathan Young. Credit: NJ Pen.

In the race for the Camden County Freeholder Board, preliminary results forecast victory for Democrat Almar Dyer of Pennsauken over Republican Nicole Nance, also of Pennsauken, for the unexpired term vacated by former Freeholder Susan Shin Angulo.

With 71 percent of the returns in, Dyer led Nance, 99,285 to 43,874.

Similarly, incumbent Democratic Freeholders Lou Cappelli of Collingswood and Jonathan Young of Berlin appear to have defended their seats on the county government against Republicans Jennifer Moore of Haddon Heights and Johanna Scheets of Oaklyn.

With 71 percent of the returns in, Cappelli was the top vote-getter with 102,373, followed by Young with 99,571, with Moore (42,385) and Scheets (40,736) farther off.

Local Races

In Cherry Hill, with 24,733 votes cast, Democrat William A. Carter, III went to bed Tuesday night with a significant margin over Republican Nancy Feller O’Dowd in the race for the unexpired term on township council: 17,089 votes to 6,909 votes.

In Haddon Heights, with 6,640 ballots cast, Democrats Tricia Egbert (2,292 votes) and Regina Phillips (2,285 votes) doubled up Republican challengers Joe Pangaro (1,056 votes) and Kevin Ehret (1,004) in the local council election.

Uncontested local races


School Board Races

Audubon/Audubon Park

With 7,024 votes cast, Christopher Proulx led all vote-getters in the Audubon Board of Education race, with 1,888. Behind him was Joe Miller, with 1,795, and incumbent Gina Osinski, with 1,647. With 1,628 votes, Ed Simpson finished just 19 votes behind Osinski, missing the cutoff for the final spot.

Cherry Hill

In the Cherry Hill Board of Education race, Miriam Stern was the top vote-getter (14,279), followed by Carol Matlack (13,027), and Corrien Elmore-Stratten (11,226). The trio surpassed John Papeika 9,431 and Aslihan Cakmak (7,936) for three open spots on the board, with 56,156 votes cast.


Incumbent Collingswood Board of Education President Fiona Henry led all candidates, with 3,251 votes, followed by Roger Chu (2,760), and Matthew Craig (2,557). Collingswood Police Chief and Public Works Superintendent Kevin Carey (2,384) was the odd man out, with 11,016 votes cast.


With 677 votes cast, Amanda Aaron seems to have edged out Kelli Mouzon, 371 to 303, for the unexpired term on the borough Board of Education.

Margins were equally close in the five-way race for three open seats on the Merchantville Board of Education. With 1,976 votes cast, Kristina Kroot led all candidates with 466 votes, followed by Melanie Gaskins (439), and Antisha Meisner (430). Incumbents Lynn Geddes (321) and Craig Nussbaum (314) didn’t make the cut.


No Oaklyn resident petitioned to fill an unexpired term on the borough Board of Education, but 104 write-in votes were cast. Their names were not yet available from the Camden County Board of Elections Wednesday morning.


Maria James was the top vote-getter (4,856) in the race for three seats on the Pennsauken Board of Education, followed by Orlando Viera, Jr. (4,297), and Lisa Eckel (4,077). Nhuan Van (2,867) didn’t make the cut, with 16,219 votes cast.

Uncontested local races

  • Mary Stewart Vena (2,399 votes), Erin Miller (2,385 votes), and David Raetsch (2,348 votes) ran unopposed for three open seats on the Haddon Heights Board of Education, with 7,263 votes cast.
  • Heather Paoli (3,231 votes), Lynn Howard Hoag (3,213 votes), and Thomas Vecchio (3,189 votes) ran unopposed for three open seats on the Haddonfield Board of Education, with 9,848 votes cast.
  • Kellie Hinkle (4,931 votes), John Kendall (4,908 votes), and Isis Williams (4,831 votes) ran unopposed for three open seats on the Haddon Township Board of Education, with 14,865 votes cast.
  • Rich Taibi (823 votes) and Colleen Faupel (809 votes) ran unopposed for three open seats on the Oaklyn Board of Education, with 1,789 votes cast. No candidate appeared on the ballot for the third seat, but 157 write-in votes were also cast.


For more information about the balloting process in Camden County, please review these stories:


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