Despite close races, NJ voter turnout reaches new low
Despite potential upsets and races with razor thin margins producing election night drama, turnout for Tuesday's election may be one of the lowest in recent history.
Approximately 2.4 million votes have been counted, so far, and that is nearly 200,000 more voted than were cast in the gubernatorial contest four years ago. Yet that puts voter turnout at about 37%.
In 2017, voter turnout in New Jersey was 39%, and that was an historic low at the time.
More ballots are still being counted, but new totals are not expected to substantially increase voter turnout percentages.
Even though more people did vote in this election compared to 2017, the number of New Jersey residents registering to vote has also increased substantially. The New Jersey Secretary of State's website lists more than 6.5 million registered voters. That would be an increase of nearly 9 million new voters in just four years.
Aside from both political parties pushing to sign up new voters, New Jersey has made it easier to register. Anyone can register to vote at Motor Vehicle offices and most can even register on-line. Democrats have registered far more voters than republicans, and held a 2-to-1 voter advantage heading into election day.
Yet early indications are that democrats stayed home in startling numbers, particularly in urban areas. Republicans, meanwhile, showed up in greater numbers than has been typical.
That would explain the number of tight races and GOP upsets in many parts of New Jersey. Many democrats expressed frustration and dismay at the lack of turnout among their base voters.
Micah Rasmussen, the director of the Rebovich Institute for New Jersey Politics at Rider University, said “it’s not like the New Jersey electorate has changed all of a sudden: there are still a million more Democrats today than there are Republicans, but the Democrats did not turn out enough of them.”