NJTV
NJTV News
Watch

Voter Turnout Light Overall in Special U.S. Senate Primary

8-13-13

By Chief Political Correspondent Michael Aron
NJ Today

It was just what most campaign operations don’t want to see on Election Day morning — pouring rain.

In Hillsborough, turnout was very light.

“Could be a combination of the weather, people are on vacation still or people just don’t care,” said Hillsborough poll worker Jody Spallone.

“We don’t have the turnout. We’ve been sitting here bored to death,” said poll worker Alicia Perrone.

In Mendham Township, Gov. Chris Christie was among those who showed up to cast a vote, but he didn’t have a whole lot of company beyond his family.

Bloomfield was a similar story.

“Today? It’s kinda low today,” one poll worker there said.

Same in Long Branch.

But in downtown Newark, home to Cory Booker and neighboring city of Sheila Oliver, one polling place near City Hall had some activity.

“Actually I haven’t seen anything out of the norm. You would think that maybe perhaps some folks would be on vacation, some folks just might have stayed in because of rain, but we have very loyal Democrat voters and constituents in our area and when it comes to the election, they always rise to the occasion,” said Newark Democratic poll watcher Christopher Simmons.

The rain reportedly had some Booker campaign workers worried this morning, but not Phil Alagia, chief of staff to Essex County Executive Joe DiVincenzo, who is consulting to the Booker campaign.

“The turnout has been light, but we’re very confident that we’re turning out Cory Booker voters,” Alagia said.

The primary and general election dates for this race to succeed the late Frank Lautenberg were set by Christie — Aug. 13 and Oct. 16.

In Long Branch, one voter told us he thinks the two fall general elections at least could have been combined.

“To be honest, the fact that we have so many different elections at so many different times is ridiculous. It really should be one or two days. Everybody should know what those one or two days are. You shouldn’t be voting on four different occasions on a given year. It’s a waste. I’m a Democrat, I can’t believe I’m saying that. It’s very inefficient,” said Long Branch resident Andres Mejer.

Today’s special election primary and the October general are expected to each cost the state about $12 million.

“I don’t know why they have this one. It’s a very expensive election because it’s a special election. I don’t know. I think a lot of people were not happy about that because it could’ve have been done a lot cheaper I think,” Perrone said.

It’s tempting to say this was good practice for the next time we have a mid-August statewide primary election, except another mid-August statewide primary election isn’t likely to happen any time soon.