You vote and a NJ poll worker does this: Would you be OK with it?
I can't speak for all polling locations and districts since I don't know how different the process is from one location to the next. What I can say about my district is that over the past couple of election cycles, they've really upgraded the entire process.
And it's been quite the leap. In our Monmouth County district, we went from old-fashioned paper books when checking in to a much more digitalized process.
Now yes, there's still a paper ballot involved, but the process overall has had a massive upgrade. That goes for both the general election as well as the primary election.
Speaking of the primary election, New Jersey's 2023 primary occurred on June 6. And as I always do every election cycle, I headed over to my polling place right after dropping the kids off at school.
As expected, it was very quiet at that hour in my district. Although to be honest, I didn't expect to see many people turn out this go around anyway.
Both the Republican and Democrat ballots in my district didn't have any competition at all. Just a single name for each office followed by a write-in choice.
Although unfortunate, I completely understand why many would want to skip a vote like that. Even though I don't agree with skipping any election, to each their own.
Speaking of the primary, I got to my polling place around 8:30 in the morning. And as expected, not too many people were there. The good news, however, is that the vote count was already in the hundreds.
As mentioned above, the voting machines and processes in my district have had quite an overhaul. One of the biggest changes is how you check in before you vote.
The polling folks were very nice, but one thing that was different this time was what was verbally said out loud. The person I was working with said my party affiliation out loud, despite other people being around.
The polling person then justified having to do that stating the process is different in a primary than it is in a general election. Somehow, that means they ask out loud what party you are affiliated with to confirm that's what you really are, but only for the primary.
Now, I've been a New Jersey voter ever since I was old enough to vote, which means I've been a voter in New Jersey for 22 years. And up until now, never has my party affiliation been asked out loud for all to hear.
It didn't really bother me, but I did find it odd. Especially with how polarizing today's political climate is, I'd think some people would want to keep their political affiliation private.
I know some people who have that belief and think it's nobody's business but their own. They don't want anyone to know what party they align with, and I completely respect and understand that.
And to be honest? I don't think that's such a bad thing. It keeps the tension away when it comes to political divides with others.
Even more so, it doesn't open the door for one person to start criticizing the other simply based on the fact that one person is red and the other is blue or purple. Perhaps we would all be better off if none of us knew how we align ourselves politically.
And it doesn't matter if you're comfortable with others knowing what party you support. It's more of a question if it should be spoken out loud by someone else in a public setting.
It's also possible that this is nothing new for New Jersey. Perhaps it's just new to my district's polling location and it's simply the first time we've done it this way.
Either way, I could see how a poll worker saying your party affiliation out loud might bother some voters. And up until now, mine has never been said out loud by the folks working the polls.
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The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 weekend host Mike Brant. Any opinions expressed are his own.