SOUTH ORANGE, N.J. – Nearly half a million voters in Essex County turned out on Election Day, a voter turnout of 53 percent, according to the Essex County Clerk’s Office.
However, that total does not take into account provisional ballots or those cast by displaced voters under the emergency rules put into place by the state.
In the presidential race, the county went heavily Democratic, with the Obama/Biden ticket garnering 77 percent of the vote and the Romney/Ryan ticket earning 21 percent of the vote.
Seton Hall University students, many of them voting in their first presidential election, gathered at Walsh Library on campus awaiting their turn to vote.
Despite gas shortage, road closures and the lack of mass transit service in some areas, some students said they still made it a priority to come out to vote.
Seton Hall student Aaron Armorer said it important for him to vote and that his mother woke him up at 7:30 a.m. and “urged me to vote.”
Seton Hall graduate Grace Wallden said she made it a point to drive a half hour to the campus to cast her ballot. “It was really important for me to make the trip,” Wallden said, “even though New Jersey is Democratic.”
One poll worker, Alfonso (who declined to give his last name), said turnout was good but the state should have been better prepared to deal with the aftermath of the storm. One problem was lack of personnel, he said.
“By not being sufficiently prepared, it gives a black eye on our constitutional system,” Alfonso said. “Everyone has this right (to vote); some people will have this stripped because of unforeseen circumstances.”
Lindsay Rittenhouse, Heather Rothwell, Nicholas Miller and Tyronn Walker contributed to this story.