How was your county’s voter turnout in the June 5 NJ primary?

Below, the New Jersey voter turnout numbers from the June 5th primary. Dismal voter turnout is hardly new in New Jersey. And only 60% of us voted on November 8, 2016, so unpalatable to so many Americans were both the Republican and Democratic nominees. America elected Donald Trump president too). Phil Murphy became governor on an election day where 61.5% of his future constituents stayed home; my county of Hunterdon and Cape May county at the other end of the state had the highest turnout among counties – but both were still under 48%. That broke the last dismal NJ gubernatorial turnout record, 2013 Christie v. Buono 39.6%, and Chris Christie likewise took control of New Jersey in 2009 while most of us were asleep at the switch. The election that brought us Senator Cory Booker was the lowest of any statewide election, 24.5%, but that was by design; timed by a guarded, controlling Governor Christie for an October Wednesday so he didn’t have to stand for election on the same ballot as a superstar a lot of people like better than him.

The idea of anything less than a massive turnout for the 2018 midterms (now less than 100 days away) and beyond that, 2020, terrifies walking, phone-banking, Post-It writing, postcard mailing, meeting-attending voters who took their horror at Trump’s incompetence and the Republicans’ malevolence and are turning it into action. These are the numbers to beat; they also came after the Resistance.




Comment (1)

  1. Bertin Lefkovic

    I cannot believe that I have to be the glass half full person here. Usually I am the glass half empty person.

    If you compare the numbers from the 2017 and 2018 primary elections with similar cycles (McGreevey v. Andrews v. Murphy in 1997 and Lautenberg v. Andrews in 2008), turnout was surprisingly much higher than I or anybody else might have expected, especially since both races were all but foregone conclusions.

    Obviously, it would be wonderful if our primary election cycles turned out a significantly larger percentage of the electorate, but if the last two cycles have taught us anything it is that despite the Democratic and Republican establishments efforts to discourage competitive primary elections, there is a voter universe out there that is open to voting off of the line.

    The problem is that for two cycles in a row, since the Bernie Sanders Presidential campaign created a real opportunity to mobilize and organize progressives, we have failed to take advantage of this opportunity, cultivate leaders, and build an organization that can compete with the NJDSC and its county and local Democratic Party organizations year-in and year-out up and down the ballot.

    The Christie victories in 2009 and 2013 were not about anybody being asleep at the switch. They were about Democratic Party bosses like Adubato and Norcross preferring to work with a Republican Governor than a Democratic Governor.

    If Menendez loses in November, it will be less about turnout and more about his failure to convince voters that they would be better served by a corrupt, self-serving career politician than a businessman so avaricious, evil, and greedy that he had zero qualms about bilking cancer patients.

    The choice should be an easy one even for the holiest of holier than thou progressives. That said, it will be interesting to see the degree to which Madelyn Hoffman, the Green Party candidate, and Murray Sabrin, the Libertarian Party candidate, who were both on the gubernatorial ballot in 1997 impact the outcome if at all.

    21 years ago, Sabrin nearly cost Whitman the election while Hoffman’s vote total was less than Whitman’s margin of victory over McGreevey. Odds are that Sabrin gets less than the 114K votes that he got in 1997 and Hoffman gets more than the 10K votes that she got that year.


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