BAYONNE, NJ - John R Cupo will have a dominant position on the ballot in November, after positions were selected by lottery earlier this week.
“I'll take the 20 percent additional votes I've been told that position brings, on top of all the other votes, I'm going to get,” Cupo predicted when reached for comment.
Cupo is one of four candidates running in the Nov. 5 special election for the First Ward council seat, receiving the top spot on the ballot followed by Paul Hagdorn, Peter Franco and Neil Carroll III.
The man whose name will appear first has run for both municipal and school board elections and has said that he expects to bring his “Cupo core voters” to the polls.
Not so quick to concede votes to his opponent based on ballot position was incumbent Carroll who called the selection “another great example of our democratic process in action.”
Carroll added that he looks forward to continuing to speak with residents of the First Ward “each and every day about their concerns.”
When voters are in the booth, Carroll concluded, “voters can remember that 4C is a vote for 'C'arroll.”
Hagdorn, a newcomer to politics, said he was “happy” with the outcome of the drawing while Franco, who can boast of significant name recognition as a political activist and regular fixture at city council meetings, did not immediately respond to a call for comment.
While position is sometimes seen as an advantage in an election, assuming that a voter may pick the first name on a ballot, it is among a number of factors that affect a voter's choice, including name recognition as well as voters' familiarity with issues, according to many electoral experts and close observers.
"Ballot position does matter, just how much depends on a variety of factors,” said Matt Krayton, founder of the Essex County based political consulting firm Publitics.
“Ballot position in down-ballot contests, such as those for city council, tends to make more of a difference than in say, a presidential race,” he said, adding that the “intensity” of a campaign, including media coverage, also has an impact on the number of votes garnered by virtue of where a candidate’s name appears on the ballot.
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