It's Election Day 2011 on Tuesday, and both Scotch Plains and Fanwood voters have good reasons to head to the polls.
In Fanwood, two council seats and the mayorship are up for election. Mayor Colleen Mahr, a Democrat, is seeking her third term at the helm. She is joined by running mates Russell Huegel, an incumbent councilman, and Kevin Boris, the chairman of the Fanwood Planning Board.
Fanwood Republican Committee Chairman Joe Britt is seeking to unseat the mayor. He's joined on the ticket by council candidates Jason Benedict and Nicole Cole.
The six candidates have focused their campaigns on several hot-button issues: property taxes, the borough's downtown redevelopment efforts, and perhaps most notably, shared services, specifically whether to merge the Fanwood and Scotch Plains police departments.
This election will determine whether the Democrats retain their one-seat majority on the seven-member Borough Council (including Mayor Mahr). As a consequence, Tuesday's results could ultimately decide whether the Fanwood and Scotch Plains police departments become the first in state history to consolidate.
Scotch Plains does not have any local elections this year. However, both Scotch Plains and Fanwood will be participating in elections for State Senator, the New Jersey General Assembly, and the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders.
At the top of the ballot, State Senator Nicholas Scutari, a Democrat, is facing off against Republican Michael W. Class.
For two open seats representing the Assembly's 22nd District, Democratic incumbents Jerry Green and Linda Stender are running against Joan D. Van Pelt and Jeffrey D. First.
At the county level, Democratic Freeholders Angel Estrada, Christopher Hudak and Vernell Wright are competing for three open seats with Andrew B. Smith and Edwin O. Ortiz.
Scotch Plains voters, find your polling locations by clicking here. Fanwood voters, find your polling locations by clicking the PDF thumbnail at right. Polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Stay tuned to Patch for Election Day coverage. Send us your observations and voting experiences by contributing to our live blog (which launches Tuesday), then check back at night as we announce the election winners.