Analysts anticipate low voter turnout in N.J.

All 120 seats in the New Jersey Legislature are up for election Tuesday. Analysts are predicting a low voter turnout because most of the races are not considered to be competitive.

There’s not a lot of voter interest this year because the redrawn legislative map favors incumbents, according to Montclair State University political science professor Brigid Harrison.

“Because there are so few competitive elections, many New Jerseyans feel like, ‘Why bother?'” said Harrison.

She said some of the local races could bring voters out to the polls.

“We may actually see some of those down-ballot races, perhaps some of the county races, some of the municipal elections, actually driving participation from the bottom up,” Harrison said. “So state legislators may actually be coat-tailing on some of the down-ballot candidates.”

Fairleigh Dickinson University political science professor Peter Woolley said turnout will be higher in a few districts where there are competitive races.

“You’re going to find in some places, like Atlantic County where there’s a really tight Senate race going on, or Bergen County where both the party machines are very active, higher turnout than in many other parts of the state,” Woolley said.

Monmouth University political analyst Patrick Murray said a third of all registered voters usually go to the polls for midterm legislative elections. This year he’s predicting turnout will be less than 30 percent, which would be the lowest ever.

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