Tag Archive: unaffiliated

Final registration numbers and over 100K have already voted early

Here is the final breakdown of registered voters for this years election according to the Secretary of State:

The final numbers on registered voters eligible to cast ballots in Tuesday’s election show 1,766,669 New Jerseyans list themselves as Democrats and 1,061,899 signed up as Republicans. Another 2,393,679 consider themselves as unaffiliated and 2,633 are registered under other parties.

Nearly half of the registered voters are unaffiliated. The total number of registered voters at 5.22 million this year is down from 5.33 million last year for the Presidential election. Many of those people that are registered have either requested to vote early or already cast their ballot:

100,770 of those registered have already voted by mail, state Secretary of State Nina Mitchell Wells said as she announced the figures Friday at Rutgers University in New Brunswick. She said county clerks had issued 179,142 Vote by Mail ballots as of Thursday.

Here is what the Division of Elections had to say about people still wanting to use a vote-by-mail ballot:

“There is still time to apply for and vote using a vote-by-mail ballot, however, you must complete the application and return the voted ballot in person because the deadline for mailed applications has passed,” said Robert Giles, director of the Division of Elections. “Registered voters may apply for a vote-by-mail ballot in person with a county clerk until 3 p.m. on Monday, November 2. To be accepted, all vote-by-mail ballots must be returned to your county Board of Election by 8 p.m. on Tuesday, November 3 (Election Day).”

The key will be who turns out comes Tuesday. We’re in the heart of the Get Out the Vote operations for these campaigns, what are you doing to help make sure everyone casts their ballot.

Patrick Murray on Understanding New Jersey Unaffiliated Voters

Pollster Patrick Murray of Monmouth University has written about this before, and I’ve quoted it before, but it’s still worthwhile to remind ourselves, as Murray does today, that registered “unaffliated” voters are not the same as “independent” voters. About 45% of New Jersey registered voters are not registered with a major party but that doesn’t mean 45% of voters are independents.

There are two key facts that mean that the percentage of registered “unaffiliated” voters are larger than the actual vote by “independents.”

1. Many people who are registered “unaffiliated” consider themselves Democrats or Republicans:

Being “unaffiliated” in one’s registration is not the same as being “independent” in one’s thinking. We consistently find that at least 1-in-5 unaffiliated New Jersey voters actually see themselves as partisan.

This is a byproduct of New Jersey’s semi-open primary system. Why bother registering with a party if you can wait until primary day and do it on the spot? And why bother to vote in primaries if they are rarely competitive? So, New Jersey ends up with a lot of “party-line” voters who never bother to register with their preferred party. They just see no need.

2. Registered unaffiliated voters are less likely to actually vote:

Last year, unaffiliated voters made up 38% of the electorate even though they comprised 47% of registered voters. In other words, while more than 8-in-10 registered Republican and Democratic voters showed up last November, only 6-in-10 unaffiliated voters turned out.

This disparity is even larger in non-presidential years (i.e. like this year). In the 2006 election for U.S. Senate, about 7-in-10 registered partisans showed up, but only 1-in-3 unaffiliateds did. And that was when unaffiliated voters made up 58% of the voter rolls. My guess is that many of those folks probably voted in the 2008 presidential primary and are now registered with a party. Therefore, I wouldn’t be surprised if the unaffiliated turnout is even lower this year.


Voting on Feb 5 – Easy As Pie

In a previous post, I noted the needless confusion and outright misinformation about who can vote in NJ’s February 5th Presidential Primary. The correct answer is that upwards of 99.95 percent of citizens who were registered to vote as of January 15, 2008 CAN vote, whether they’re already members of the Democratic or Republican parties (about 40 percent of voters) – or if they are currently “unaffiliated” (not members of any party, about 60 percent of all voters). The only exceptions are registered members of the Green, Libertarian or a few other alternative parties, which combined represent a tiny fraction of a percent of the electorate.

So what will happen when you, the voter, walk into your regular polling place on February 5th? What if you’re not already a Democrat or a Republican? If you are currently unaffiliated, what hoops will you have to jump through to “declare” a party affiliation? To find out, I decided to attend a poll worker training class held this evening in Hopewell Township, conducted by the Mercer County Board of Elections.

Short answer: It’s pretty much like voting in any other election. You go to your usual polling location. The poll workers look in the poll book where you sign in to see if there’s a “DEM” or “REP” printed above the block where you sign. If so, DEMs get to vote the Democratic ballot; REPs get to vote the Republican ballot.

If the space for your party affiliation is blank, they simply ask you: Democrat or Republican? You answer with one or the other. They fill in the blank. You vote accordingly.

That’s it. No fuss. No bother. No forms to fill out. You vote. And then you leave, knowing that you’ve taken part in the first Presidential Primary Election ever where NJ voters had a real say in the outcome.

NJ Unaffiliated voters CAN vote in the Feb 5 primary

Promoted from the diaries — Juan

I keep hearing misinformation about the eligibility of unaffiliated voters to vote in the NJ Presidential Primary on February 5. So I looked for a clear and authoritative statement on the subject.

I found this press release from the NJ Office of the Attorney General, the ultimate authority in these matters. Here’s the money quote:

New Jersey?s primary election law allows unaffiliated voters ? those registered voters who never affiliated with the Republican or Democratic parties — to choose a party on Primary Day and vote in the primary. However, voters already registered as Democrats can only vote in the Democratic primary; similarly, voters already registered as Republicans can only vote in the GOP primary. Cross-over voting is not allowed. The deadline for switching party affiliations was December 17.

There were almost 4.8 million people registered to vote before the Nov. 6, 2007 general election, including 1,164,504 Democrats, 874,457 Republicans and 2,756,759 unaffiliated voters.

So all an unaffiliated voter needs to do is – GO TO THE POLLS ON FEB 5. It’s that simple.

The voter statistics underscore how major this is: Only about 24 percent of voters statewide are Dems, and about 18 percent are Repubs. The rest – about 58 percent – are “unaffiliated.” So any news organization or other source that gets this wrong is doing a huge disservice to a vast majority of NJ voters.

So … please pass the above info along to anyone who needs it  – especially reporters or others in a position to [mis]inform voters!

And … I’d really like to know if you hear/see/read inaccurate stories anywhere in the media.