NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - Even when there is a contest for the top elected position in the city, it won't bring out as many voters as when residents get to vote for the top elected position in the country.
Elections records show that 8,382 New Brunswick voters cast ballots on the Nov. 6 election, by going to the polls or mailing in a ballot or filling out a provisional ballot. That is only 38 percent of the more than 22,000 registered voters in the city.
This year was the first time in 12 years, since 2006, that Mayor James Cahill faced a challenger in the general election, with activists Charles Kratovil running as an independent. Cahill easily won an eighth term in office, receiving 5,898 votes more than three times the 1,801 votes cast for Kratovil.
Yet the total number of votes in the city was dwarfed by the 10,923 votes cast in the city in 2016, when the presidential race topped the ballot. This total vote was still less than half the 24,767 registered voters in the city.
That year, the top local race was for three city council seats. Council President Glenn Fleming received 7,878 votes, while Council Vice President John Anderson garnered 7,800 votes and Councilwoman Suzanne Sicora Ludwig received 7,753, and each of them was re-elected to a new term in office.
They all received more votes than council members Kevin Egan and Rebecca Escobar, who ran this year on the same ticket as Cahill. Still Escobar this year received 7,020 votes and Egan got 6,903, each garnering more than Cahill, according to the final tallies.
Having a contested mayoral race, however, brought out more people than in 2014, the last time Cahill ran for and won re-election.
That year, when Cahill ran unopposed, he won election with 3,019 votes, 2,879 less than he received this year. Less than Egan and Escobar also garnered small numbers, receiving 2,975 and 2,994 respectively.
In that election, 3,051 city residents cast their vote, barely over 10 percent of the 23,664 registered voters in the city.