BERNARDS TWP, NJ - Poll workers in Bernards Township were saying that voter turnout was heavy on Tuesday, this year's election day. The unofficial township results showed that a final turnout of 12,649 voters - 62.36 percent - favored Republican Donald Trump for U.S. president.
However, in an overwhelmingly Republican community, Trump's lead over Democrat Hillary Clinton was by 246 votes in Bernards Township. The Trump/Mike Pence team gained 6.053 votes in Bernards, compared with 5,807 votes for Clinton and her running mate, Tim Kaine.
The third-party candidate to receive the most votes was Independent Gary Johnson, who received 280 votes; Green Party candidate Jill Stein won 75 votes from township residents.
All local races in Bernards Township were uncontested.
Republican Carol Bianchi, alone on the ballot, was re-elected to another three years on the Bernards Township Committee with 9,171 votes.
All three Board of Education incumbents were re-elected to three-year terms. Rhonda Dunten received 4,868 votes; Michael Byrne received 5,200 votes; and Karen Gray received 4,931 votes.
U.S. Congressman Leonard Lance, Republican, was favored for re-election by 7,095 in Bernards Township; compared with 4,498 votes for challenger Peter Jacob.
Somerset County Sheriff Frank Provenzano, a Republican, was favored by 7,238 township voters, compared with 4,384 votes for Democratic challenger Darrin Russo.
Republican Incumbent Patricia Walsh was also favored for re-election to the County Board of Freeholders by a 7,394 vote over the Democratic challenger, Doug Singleterry.
Shortly before the polls closed at 8 p.m., poll workers at Liberty Corner Firehouse, one of the voting locations around the township, said the turnout had been heavier than usual.
Lance Hodnett said that voters arrived early, with a continuous line of residents waiting to vote between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m. Fifteen people were already lined up and waiting when the polls opened at 6 a.m. on Tuesday, he said.
"I think a lot of people just wanted to get it done early in the day so there would be no uncertainty that they would make it," Hodnett said.
Longtime poll worker Joyce Huff said she thought that the turnout on Tuesday was the heaviest she had seen in her 15 years in the position.