Tuesday’s primary election had a paltry 8 percent turnout in Hudson County, with North Bergen and Union City being the only municipalities that has districts that broke 20 percent, data from the Hudson County Clerk’s Office shows.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
32,782 votes were cast countywide with 460 out of 465 districts reporting, which equates to 8.37 percent turnout since there are 384,075 registered voters, a HCCO breakdown shows.
Off cycle election years rarely produce stellar turnout and even in a presidential year in 2020 (the last time the congressional seats were on the ballot), turnout wasn’t exactly astronomical at 21.22 percent.
“It absolutely did not help that most of the races were not hotly contested. But it looks like many of the municipal organizations in the county are out of practice. That’s not a complete surprise– the pandemic threw everyone for a loop,” explained Rebovich Institute of New Jersey Politics Director Micah Rasmussen.
“We definitely saw signs of turnout weakness in the governor’s race in November, but were assured at the time Hudson was producing similar raw numbers of votes as in past cycles. Maybe, but as we know, population has grown considerably, so the same numbers are not indicative of keeping up.”
Rasmussen added that nationally, Democrats were cautious to knock on doors during the pandemic and slow to go back to it, which he feels had an impact on Murphy’s re-election bid, which ended up being much closer than expected.
Yesterday, only one of Bayonne’s 51 districts cracked double digits, with Ward 2, District 5 hitting 12.28 percent.
East Newark’s two districts notched 7.69 percent and 9.68 percent, respectively, with Guttenberg’s seven districts all hovering between the 10 to 15 percent range, and Harrison’s three districts all under six percent, county tallies show.
As for Hoboken’s 42 districts, their electorate appeared to be particularly disinterested, with only two cracking seven percent.
And despite having 190 voter districts, Jersey City stunningly only had one that cracked 10 percent: Ward C, District 22 notched 11.09 percent turnout.
They also had four districts that didn’t cast a single vote: Ward A, District 19; Ward B, District 30; Ward B, District 33; and Ward E, District 24.
However, on Thursday morning the HCCO said that those districts had not been tabulated yet due to missing cartridges yet, a detail that their software is unable to include.
Meanwhile, Kearny, which is split between the 8th and 9th Congressional Districts, did not see any of their 31 districts hit seven percent.
Conversely, out of North Bergen’s 39 districts, only nine got stuck in the single digits, and three – Ward 3, District 3; Ward 5, District 1; and Ward 5, District 6 over 20 percent. Ward 5, District 1 was their highest performing district at 29.13 percent.
Over in Secaucus, none of their 14 districts, hit six percent, but Union City was a different story.
Out of their 39 districts, 24 hit over 20 percent turnout, with Ward 5, District 1 leading the pack at 27.41 percent.
Rounding out North Hudson, Weehawken saw six of their 10 districts hit 10 percent turnout, while West New York saw just one of their 29 districts break 10 percent: Ward 3, District 8 had 10.9 percent turnout.
“Getting out the vote is not easy. It requires constant care, feeding and tending. A party and its voters need to do it routinely, or they get out of the habit. We don’t need to go far to see the difference that two engaged mayors can make. It doesn’t happen on its own, and the longer that goes without, the harder it can be to get going again,” Rasmussen added.
In the 8th District, Rob Menendez had no problem becoming the Democratic congressional nominee, securing 82.47 percent of the vote with his closest challenger, David Ocampo Grajales, getting just 11.91 percent in Hudson.
Similarly, in the 10th District, U.S. Rep. Donald Payne, Jr. cruised to victory, with over 80 percent of the vote, compared to 16.25 percent to challenger Imani Oakley.
County Sheriff Frank Schillari and County Clerk E. Junior Maldonado both ran unopposed and it would be unheard of to see any Democrats lose in November given the massive voter registration advantage on the blue side of the ballot.
Editor’s note: This story was updated with comments from Rebovich Institute of New Jersey Politics Director Micah Rasmussen and then on Thursday with a comment from the Hudson County Clerk’s Office.