Sure, there are lines. There also was a spurned vice-president wannabe, sneaking in to vote just 6 minutes after polls opened under cover of darkness, like he hadn’t just four months ago nearly snagged the second slot on the Republican ticket.
But the big buzz, so far today, in New Jersey on Election Day was the scarcity of “I Voted” stickers. Seriously. People want those things. In an election this closely contested, the stickers are a show of patriotism, proof of civic duty fulfilled during an election that could produce America’s first female president.
— VOTE4TRUMP (@OldSalz) November 8, 2016
— Mich (@MissDS17) November 8, 2016
Feeling jipped that I didn’t get an “I voted” sticker in my NJ absentee ballot @bergencountynj
— Amanda Triglia (@amandatrigs) November 8, 2016
Beyond the sticker stink, another surprise: Donald Trump was getting a surprising amount of support, for a traditionally blue state that has voted Democratic in the past six presidential elections.
“I supported Trump because I believe that Hillary will win,” said Christie O’Shaughnessy of Princeton, New Jersey. “She will win tonight, the general election. She will most certainly win New Jersey, and for the next four years that she’s in office, I want her thinking: ‘In 2016, I got lucky. I got to run against the crazy guy. In 2020, I’m probably not gonna be so lucky. I’m going to have to run against someone more moderate, more electable.’ I want her remembering that when she’s off deciding what policies to pursue. I want the popular vote to be as close as possible.”
#MAGA hashtags abound on social media. That’s MAGA, as in Trump’s signature slogan “Make America Great Again.”
— MAYRA (@sg07840_mayra) November 8, 2016
— Politicality (@PoliticalMB) November 8, 2016
Still, election watchers expect Hillary Clinton win New Jersey despite Trump’s former casino empire in the state and Republican Gov. Chris Christie’s support.
In Lawrenceville, New Jersey, Amy Wolfe voted for Clinton.
“I’m voting for Hillary because she has spent her life doing good things,” Wolfe said. “She has accomplished a lot. She is very well-qualified for the position. As a feminist, I am very excited to have the first nominee for president be a woman, for her to be the first woman president. But it’s because of her and her ideas, regardless of sex, that I’m voting for her.”
Only a few polling places in the Garden State have reported problems so far today.
In Jersey City, for example, it took more than an hour before people could vote in Ward F, District 6 at County Prep High School because someone brought the wrong keys for the voting machines. The line eased by 8 a.m. John Brzozowski, Hudson County’s deputy superintendent of elections, said lines are long in some areas because voter turnout is higher than past years, and the ballot is longer, leaving voters to linger longer behind the curtain. Hudson County added another 13 machines today to the 500 they started the morning with, to offset the bigger crowds, Brzozowski said.
And in Burlington County, election officials say a printing error, discovered this morning, will force them to hand count most of the more than 19,000 mail-in ballots submitted. Officials couldn’t guarantee they’d be able to count all the ballots by tonight.
Polls in New Jersey close at 8 p.m. Tuesday.
In addition to the presidential race, New Jersey voters have two public questions on statewide ballots. One would expand casino gambling to northern New Jersey and the other would dedicate the recent gas tax increase to transportation projects.
New Jersey editor Alan Tu and the Associated Press contributed.