December 4, 2018 | Number of The Day
Percentage of registered voters who cast ballots in midterm elections in NJ was highest in more than 30 years

On Monday, the state Board of Canvassers certified the results from the November 6 elections. The state Division of Elections posted turnout figures showing that close to 3.25 million New Jerseyans voted, out of 5.83 million registered. Highly competitive House races in half of the state, including two open seats being vacated by longtime Republicans — and strong opinions about President Donald Trump — drove turnout. Energized Democrats and independents flipped four House seats from red to blue, unseating two incumbent Republicans and leaving New Jersey with just one Republican for a dozen seats.

The 56 percent turnout this year was 1.3 million votes (or 66 percent) higher than in the last midterm election in 2014, when just 36 percent of voters went to the polls. It was also significantly higher than the 39 percent of registered voters who voted in last year’s gubernatorial race. Since the 1990s, turnout in a midterm had not exceeded 50 percent in New Jersey.

This year, more than 60 percent of voters cast ballots in four counties — Bergen, Burlington, Morris and Hunterdon, which had the highest turnout of all (65 percent). In only three counties — Cumberland, Hudson and Passaic — did fewer than half of those registered vote. The lowest turnout was 46 percent in Cumberland County.
While state elections officials did not break the vote down by type, NJ Spotlight’s analysis of nearly complete data from individual counties shows a substantial portion of votes were cast by mail — more than 391,000 or roughly 12 percent of all. The vote-by-mail total this year was nearly triple the number counted in 2014. There were also close to 59,000 provisional ballots counted.