The New Jersey general election results are in, with Sparta voters choosing three new Board of Education members, and Sussex County residents as a whole making their opinions known on a controversial question about immigration enforcement.
Sussex County Sheriff
Current Sherriff Michael Strada ran uncontested, and received 94.17 percent of the vote, with 5.83 percent of voters choosing a write-in candidate.
Republican incumbents Parker Space and Hal Wirths retained their assembly seats, with 35.61 and 33.68 percent of the vote, respectively.
Deana Lykins and Dan Solomon Smith, the Democratic challengers, received a respective 16.17 and 14.31 percent.
Sussex County Board of Freeholders
Republican candidates Sylvia Petillo and Anthony Fasano, the only two candidates officially listed on the ballot, won the two open seats on the Sussex County Board of Chosen Freeholders. Petillo received 46.83 percent of the vote, and Fasano received 47.38.
Although Democrat Kristy Lavin ran a write-in campaign, only 5.79 percent of voters chose a write-in candidate.
Petillo, a current freeholder, is also the former mayor of Hopatcong. This will be her second three-year term. Fasano, who is currently the Hopatcong Board of Education President, is a newcomer to the board.
Sparta Township Board of Education
Kimberly A. Bragg, Kurt Morris, and Niamh A. Grano won the three open seats on the Sparta Township Board of Education. The three candidates had chosen to run together under the slogan “Academics, Transparency, Community.” Bragg is a current member of the BOE.
A statewide question appeared on the ballot asking voters whether eligible veterans who move to continuing-care retirement communities should continue to receive the value of an existing $250 property-tax deduction. New Jerseyans overwhelmingly voted 'yes,' with the ballot measure passing 75.44% to 24.56%.
Meanwhile, Sussex County had its own, somewhat unusual public question on the ballot, asking voters if the county board of freeholders should “cooperate with and make reasonably available to United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents the tools, resources, personnel, and real, personal and intellectual property owned by the County, under its direct control.”
The resolution passed with a majority vote — 22,081 Sussex County residents said ‘yes,’ while 10,982 said ‘no.’
The question was added as a response to NJ Attorney General Grewal’s Immigrant Trust Directive, which according to a November 2018 press release, was intended to “draw a clear distinction between local police and federal civil immigration authorities, ensuring that victims and witnesses feel safe reporting crimes to New Jersey’s law enforcement officers.”
The directive limits the type of voluntary assistance that state, county, and local law enforcement agencies can provide to federal civil immigration authorities, such as Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
Tuesday’s resolution, while providing a measure of public opinion on the matter, does not grant Sussex County law enforcement the authority to disregard the Immigrant Trust Directive.