The turnout for next Tuesday’s general election could set a new record low. According to the latest Rutgers-Eagleton Poll, released on Tuesday, three-quarters of New Jerseyans did not even know there is an election in the offing.
Not quite 1 in 10 knew that either the Assembly or the Legislature was on the ballot, and only 6 percent were aware that it’s the lower house that’s in play.
To be fair, the poll was conducted before the sample ballots were mailed to registered voters. Getting a ballot in the mail could jog their memories. But will it make them cast ballots?
The lowest turnout on record was 27 percent in 2011, when the state Senate topped the ballot. The last time the Assembly was the highest office was in 1999, when turnout was 31 percent, but it has been stable or declining, depending on the year and the most powerful office on the ballot ever since.
With the Assembly topping the ticket and all but a handful of districts competitive, it will have to be local races that entice voters to go to the polls in most parts of the state.