Many NJ Voters Will Blindly Vote the Party Line on Tuesday, Analyst Says
New Jersey's party primaries are Tuesday, but don’t expect a terrific voter turnout.
“We don’t see a whole lot of turnout in New Jersey primaries because they happen so late in the calendar," said Brigid Harrison, a political science professor at Montclair State University. "But I think the primary between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton may generate a little bit of interest.”
She pointed out when candidates for president are in a primary election, the voter turnout in New Jersey is usually in the 20 to 23 percent range, otherwise they’re in the mid teens.
Harrison also said even when Jersey voters do go to the polls, many are completely uninformed.
“Typically, not only do they not know for whom they’re voting, lots of times they just cast ballots in uncompetitive elections for whoever is on the party line,” she said. “Lots of times they know absolutely nothing about the person they are voting for, particularly if that person is not an incumbent. We see people going out and voting for candidates they have never even heard of.”
She says New Jersey has so many elections and so-called long ballots.
“What many people are relying on are the political parties to vet their candidates. They don’t have the time to compare the mayor’s issue position with his or her opponent.”
She said primary voters tend to be very loyal to their political party so they will typically go out and vote for whoever is on that county party line, which is why getting the line as a candidate is so important.
The polls in New Jersey open at 6 a.m. on Tuesday and remain open until 8 p.m.