Two new Board of Education members swept to victory Tuesday, defeating an incumbent in unofficial general election results in Haddon Township.
Four BOE candidates were on the ballot running for three seats. The winners included newcomers Marie Dezii and Jill Noller, and incumbent Robert Brown. Incumbent Charles Albino came in fourth.
There may still be up to 400 absentee ballots still to count, an election observer said. The unofficial results, as tallied by the township clerk Tuesday, were Dezii with 3065, Brown, 3006, Noller, 2779 and Albino, 2613.
BOE elections were on the ballot in Haddon Township and Haddonfield, as well as state and county offices and the presidential campaign between President Barack Obama and challenger, former Gov. Mitt Romney. Obama won both towns on his way to a commanding electoral college win over Romney.
Incumbents Andrew Berlin (2,827), Dennis Kelleher (2,876) and Maureen Eyles (3,085) also won BOE seats in Haddonfield Tuesday, running unopposed for three seats.
Tuesday's turnout was heavy in Haddon Township, but fell short of the total percentage of vote in Haddonfield for the past two presidential elections. The total percentage of vote Tuesday in Haddonfield was 64 percent. In 2008, it was 67 percent and in 2004, it was 79 percent. The total percentage of vote in Haddon Township was not immediately available.
Dezii and Noller credited their victories Tuesday to years of participation in school activities, while raising children in the township.
"I know a lot of people," Dezii said late Tuesday evening after the results were announced. "I've been involved in so many things with the PTA, the performing arts guild, boy scouts, sports, that people are familiar with me. I've been very involved and also, I'm a teacher. So I can see not only the parent view, the citizen view, but the teacher's view. I think that was something that helped me get elected."
Dezii has been a teacher at the Tatem Elementary School in Collingswood for the past 10 years and has four children from age eight to 22, who attend or have attended township schools. She said she was celebrating her victory Tuesday shortly before 11 p.m. by finishing up a school lesson plan.
Noller echoed Dezii, citing years of activity in township groups for raising her profile.
"They know me though the football parents group, the PTA, they all know me," said Noller, a self-employed cardiac data reader. "Basically we were all four well-qualified candidates. We all brought something to the table."
Voters turned out at brisk pace Tuesday at the Strawbridge Elementary School, one of 15 polling places in Haddon Township. Few of them were familiar with the BOE candidates, but most said they wanted to make an informed decision.
"We don't have children yet so we talked to people around town to see what their thoughts were," said Nicole Kennedy, while standing next to her husband Shawn, a teacher in Gloucester Township.
"I wanted someone who was pro teacher," Shawn chimed in.
When asked who they voted for for president, the answer was unanimous.
"Obama, baby!" Nicole said.
"I don't believe in this whole 'trickle down' thing," Shawn concluded.
Obama won by an almost 2-to-1 margin in Haddon Township, 4,581 to 2,882. It was closer in Haddonfield, 3,276 to 2,665.
In other races, the Democratic slate for Camden County freeholder easily defeated their Republican challengers Tuesday, keeping the county's governing body all Democratic.
Incumbents Jeffrey Nash (116,969 votes) and Ian Leonard (110,586) joined newcomer and current Gloucester Township Councilwoman Michelle Gentek (113,045) in declaring victory.
Republicans received roughly half of those votes in this blue-colored county. The vote totals are: Jim Pearce (58,697), Ian Gill (53,286) and Eugene Lawrence (52,211).
All vote totals are unofficial until certified official. Because of Hurricane Sandy's effects on the state, all mail-in ballots must be accepted until Friday at 8 p.m., although the wide margins of votes make it highly unlikely that the freeholder race's outcome will change.
Camden County also went blue for other races:
Barack Obama/Joe Biden (D): 136,009
Mitt Romney/Paul Ryan (R): 62,275
Robert Menendez (D): 131,593
Joe Kyrillos (R): 56,287
House of Representatives, 1st District
Robert Andrews (D): 131,247
Gregory Horton (R): 50,606
Charles Billingham (D):119,504
Christine Leone-Zwillinger (R): 58,838