Voter Turnout for New Jersey Special Election a Record Low

October 18, 2013

New Jersey’s special election for U.S. Senate on Wednesday appears to have set a record for the lowest voter turnout for a general election in state history.

While the results won’t be final until certified by the Secretary of State, with 99 percent reporting, 1,306,608 of the state’s 5,494,230 registered voters had cast ballots, for a turnout percentage of about 24 percent.

The previous record for low turnout was in 2011, when 27 percent of voters turned out for the state Senate and Assembly elections.

The 2011 race, however, was on a Tuesday. Wednesday’s special election between Democrat Cory Booker and Republican Steve Lonegan was unprecedented in that it took place on a Wednesday in October. It was also the only race on the ballot.

The primary election on Aug. 13 a turnout, at 9 percent – the second lowest in state history for a primary. But Democrats actually had a relatively high turnout for the primary, while few Republicans showed up to vote in the primary.

For a U.S. Senate race, no turnout comes close; the lowest had previously been in 2002, when 46 percent of voters showed up.

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