New Jersey’s voter turnout in November could hit record low

 Election official Phyllis Detwiler waits for her next voter at the Collingswood Community Center in Nov 2013. (Emma Lee/for NewsWorks)

Election official Phyllis Detwiler waits for her next voter at the Collingswood Community Center in Nov 2013. (Emma Lee/for NewsWorks)

All 80 seats in the New Jersey Assembly are up for election in November. Democrats now hold a 48-to-32 advantage over Republicans. Political analysts don’t expect much of a change.

Fairleigh Dickinson political science professor Peter Woolley says most of the races are not competitive because legislative district maps are drawn to favor a particular political party.

“That’s a shame because people want to hold legislators accountable in the voting booth but they can’t do it because there’s no real competition and it gives the legislators in fact a lot of latitude over how they vote.”

Monmouth University Polling Institute director Patrick Murray says only the four seats from Atlantic and Cape May counties are real contests. He says 76 other Assembly candidates are almost assured of victory.

“There’s going to be no shift in leadership. There’s going to be no shift in veto proof majorities or any of those other things that are important in legislative management. It’s just going to be maybe one or two face changes and that’s it.”

Murray believes the lack of competitive races will lead to a record low voter turnout.

“Our prior low voter turnout was about 24-and-a-half percent and that was for a special election for U.S. Senator a couple of years ago that was held in October. The last time we had a legislative race it was 26 percent. I think we’re going to see four or five points lower than that.”

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.