The Hudson County Board of Elections is expecting roughly 20 percent voter turnout for the $241 million Hoboken school referendum, which would far exceed most people’s expectations.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
Between 1,600 to 1,700 vote-by-mail ballots have been submitted and there were between 3,500 and 4,000 ballots cast in person as of approximately 4 p.m., according to Board of Elections Clerk Michael Harper.
Based on projections for the home stretch, around 5,000 to 6,000 voters total could cast their votes by 8 p.m., which would be close to 20 percent turnout, Harper said.
In New Jersey, it is not uncommon for special elections to only hit the single digits for voter percentage turnout, though that isn’t the case today – in a move where the opposition says the January 25th date was selected by the board of education to stifle turnout.
The BOE has denied the claim, insisting their rationale was to have a race independent of the election shenanigans that typically come along with municipal and school board races, though this referendum hasn’t exactly been a lesson in civility.
At a press conference in Trenton yesterday, Gov. Phil Murphy (D) didn’t take a position on the referendum, but expressed enthusiasm about increasing voter turnout across the board, as the New Jersey Globe first reported.
“No opinion of the high school referendum, but as a general matter, not specific to their election, you want to get as many people voting as possible, right? We’ve done a lot in our four years to open democracy up wider, not close it down,” he said.
“Count me in as open-minded about any consideration about any number of steps we can do to open up democracy including timing of elections.”
If the bond is approved, a new high school with 1,200-student capacity, along with a new football stadium, an indoor swimming pool, ice skating rink, and a swath of other amenities would be built at a roughly 6 percent overall tax increase for tax payers.
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