Poor voter turnout reported at many polling spots in Burlington County

As expected, turnout at the polls ranged from light to dismal in many locations, as the majority of registered voters failed to weigh in on this year's legislative or freeholder races or the local races for municipal offices and school board.

Some polling locations reported light to steady streams of voters during the morning and evening rush hours, but those locations appeared to be the exceptions. Across the county, slightly less than 20 percent turnout was reported, a record low for a general election that fell well below the decade's previous low of 29 percent during the 2011 election.

"It could be better," Burlington City poll worker Debra Dubell said Tuesday evening at the Hope Steam firehouse.

The low turnout was hardly a surprise.

State Assembly races were at the top of the ballots across New Jersey this year, and while all 80 seats in the lower chamber were up for grabs, incumbent legislators were heavily favored in nearly all of the legislative districts.

The lack of interest was apparent at the polls, where most voters who consented to be interviewed said they were there to perform their civic duty rather than out of strong loyalty to any specific candidates.

"If you live here, you've got to vote here," Palmyra resident Jim May said at the Palmyra Community Center on Broad Street. "If you don't vote then don't go downtown and complain."

Westampton resident William Thompkins felt the same.

"It's my responsibility, my duty to vote," Thompkins said. "I believe in whatever you get if you haven't voted. Don't complain."

Although the Assembly races were at the top of the ballot, it was the county race for freeholders and other local offices that appeared to draw the most voters to the polls.

Westampton resident Kim Zoccali said she came out to the polls because she wanted change in her suburban township.

"We need a lot of change in Westampton. Over the past few years, it's not the same Westampton it used to be," she said.

Another Westampton resident said there was a lot of interest in the local race, which drew attention due to some of the mudslinging between the respective campaigns.

"There's been some contention, I suppose," Susan Nagy said at the Westampton municipal building.

Nagy admitted to not being "as involved as I'd like to be" in the local government, but said she felt duty-bound to vote.

"I always try to vote. It's one of the things this country is based on. People died for the right to vote."

Burlington Township resident Stephanie Conway-Thomas was among the voters who expressed strong loyalty to the top of the ballot candidates. She said she liked the 7th District's incumbent Assemblymen Troy Singleton and Herb Conaway.

"They kind of brought me here," she said.

[Read More]