Where Have All The Voters Gone?

The press and campaign volunteers were out en masse for yesterday’s election, but not the voters. Despite high hopes that polls would be busier than the 2004 election (30.1% voted), Linda Wanat called the voter turnout “terrible” according to the Star Ledger. Final count: 7,149 voters pushed the polling machine buttons – that’s only 28.65% of registered voters.
This was an election where every vote was precious for each of the candidates running. Nail-biting continued for Kathryn Weller during Unity Montclair’s victory celebration, until absentee ballots were accounted for. Weller beat incumbent Robin Schlager by 36 votes, winning a seat for Councilor-at-large. In another close race, Rich Murnick (First Ward) ousted Gerry Tobin by a mere 23 votes.

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  1. From the Montclair Website
    “The official results of the Montclair Election will be announced following the tabulation of the provisional ballots by the County Board of Elections. This will take place at their Newark office at 5:00 p.m., Thursday, May 16, 2008.”
    It ain’t over till…

  2. I didn’t vote in yesterdays elections, although I wanted to, because I couldn’t find out enough information on the candidates and their slates, to make an educated decision.
    The platforms, when I could find them, were vapid, and to someone new to Montclair, the issues were impenetrable.
    Even consulting the Montclair Times online was no help – they didn’t endorse anyone and they didn’t provide any serious guidance.
    I desperately wanted to know what the candidates political ideologies were, but the non-partisan nature of elections here made it very difficult to divine what the candidates believe. This made me very apathetic.
    I didn’t want to seek out the candidates and go to a forum. I wanted them to come to me. No one knocked on my door to introduce themselves. In other towns, getting a personal visit from the candidates is very important.
    If Montclair wants a more vibrant democracy, the town needs to move away from non-partisan elections and allow parties to run candidates.

  3. HAving been on both side of the election spectrum I can personally say I MUCH prefer non-partisan elections. That said, this did not feel like one.

  4. buwalker31
    You are wacked! There was tons of information and you could have bothered to buy a Montclair Times or call for a subscription.
    There were also articles in the star ledger. And the forums were broadcast on TV34
    oh right you ” desperately wanted to know”
    lazy lazy lazy
    You are responsible for your own apathy. Take responsibility for your own actions.
    You don’t deserve your citizenship!

  5. (While I don’t share the citizenship comment- always dumb, right up there with if you don’t like it here leave, I do appreciate the informed decision to not vote. However, tell me how an R or a D after a name would have helped?)

  6. Many countries hold elections on Saturday or Sunday, when most people are not working. Turn out is usually a lot better than what we see in local elections here. And, Baristaville is still pretty much a bedroom community, so the short turnout really doesn’t surprise me.

  7. I’m not saying this is a great idea, but some guy in Arizona recently came up the idea of getting people to vote by making all voters eligible for a giant cash prize (the idea actually went as far as a statewide referendum). Perhaps for our next election, there could be some sort of cross promotion with local businesses, and anyone who votes will get a free gift certificate to Applegate Farms or Xhale Spa?

  8. How about screw ’em!
    I don’t care.
    I voted. So my vote matters more.
    If folks don’t want to vote, so be it.
    Why is this an issue?

  9. Complainerpuss: we already have that in New Jersey. Only it is the people who get elected who win the giant cash prize.

  10. Having been out of town, I was sadly unable to vote this time around. However, I left matters in the hands of my very capable campaign manager, Conan. Dude, how did we do? Did we get even one of the 11 write-in votes?
    Even though apparently I did not win, I am grateful that at least Michaelson didn’t make it. I would have prefered badass to bike man, if only for the entertainment value, but things could have turned out a lot worse.

  11. Although I voted, I wasn’t happy with any of the candidates. They all say they are going to do something, and yet they don’t (we’ve lived here on and off for 23 years). Actually they do — they do foolish things. Plus I truly resent the phone calls (15 yesterday!). My home number is unlisted so the computer calls my work line (I have an office in our home). I hang up immediately but not before they pull me away from the work I need to do to afford to live here.

  12. “Having been out of town, I was sadly unable to vote this time around.”
    Absentee ballot perhaps?
    Everyone has the right to vote. That doesn’t meant you have to (though there are many, myself included who think it is an obligation). Offering people an incentive to vote would be rediculous, so I guess that means it probably passes the first litmus test for the state legislature with regards to implementation. Personally I like my vote counting more when others choose to pass on their right.

  13. Dear Cheese, unfortunately obtaining and filing an absentee ballot would have required powers of planning and foresight that I do not possess. Sadly voting took lower precedence than making sure I had travel-sized tubes of tooth paste and some trail mix for the flight. If it’s any consolation, I do feel a twinge of guilt and general moral flabbiness. Though if I had written in “walleroo” I’m not sure it would amount to any great contribution to humanity, but maybe I’m wrong.

  14. LMAO @ Walleroo! That was a good one marsupial boy. Especially loved the “I do feel a twinge of guilt and general moral flabbiness” part best.

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