MADISON, NJ - Three issues were of primary importance to Madison voters questioned at the borough’s five voting locations today, Election Day. Foremost were social security, property taxes, and health care costs. Local elections for town council and board of education were not mentioned often as of importance to voters. And while the national political scene has been contentious, not one Madison voter interviewed mentioned President Trump by name.
A steady rain throughout much of the day did not dampen voter turnout. There was a consensus among election officials at each of the five voting venues that “voting was extremely busy.” All said that lines formed minutes before the locations opened at 6:00 a.m. and continued well into the evening. The election officials also concurred that none of the voters came in discussing issues – they just voted and left.
At the Madison YMCA which was used by residents of districts 8 and 10 to vote, mother of two and town resident for three years, Traceylynn Nuttycombe stated that “she is not happy with the current national administration and is looking for opposing views.” Town resident for 10 years, Paul Giglio was most concerned about health care and opined “I want Madison, which is a great town, to be kept on track.” Robert Kahwaty, a town resident of 20 years, expressed that social issues are at the forefront of his priorities. He stated that he was wearing a Canadian maple leaf hat as a protest of what is going on in this country. His child is a student at the Madison Junior School. He wants the government, local and national, to be aligned with the plight of immigrants and to assist those in need. He further stated that he would like the Board of Education to ensure arts and humanities are properly funded and the BOE does a good job funding sports.
Residents from districts 3, 7, 11, and 12 voted at Grace Episcopal Church. Three Drew University students were voting there for the first time. Jordyn Smith and Emma Mac, both of the Class of 2021 and both from out-of-state and Joanna Ferrara of the class of 2022 from Neptune, N.J. stated that they all want “freedom of rights to practice religion, to safely love who they want to love.” Overheard was a woman who told friends that she was going home to cook her annual Election Day beef stew.
At the Madison Public Library, residents of districts 5 and 13 voted. Libby Sims, a resident of Madison for two years, with her three daughters in tow, stated that she was most interested in immigration. She is an immigration attorney. She has followed news and information about the Board of Education because of her three children, but they attend St. Vincent’s. She did not rule out the possibility they will one day attend the public schools.
At the New Life Fellowship, residents of districts 1, 4, and 9 voted. Jason Leff, a 20-year town resident, who stated that he was an ex-military officer, was voting with his wife who was voting for the first time. He is most interested in security in his two children’s schools and is in favor of armed guards. He opined that as to local politics, the issues are “cut and dried and all the candidates are good.” Also, at the New Life Fellowship, six-year resident Susan Rakus stated that she would like the government to “not spend any money, keep us safe, and use the money you have wisely.” Sandra Murillo, a 30-year Madison resident and two gentlemen with her were conversing in Spanish. She stated that of most importance was immigration. Ten-year resident John Cummins, with his three young children in hand, expressed that health care, social security, and property taxes were of most important. His oldest child is now in kindergarten but he is happy that the two youngest will be able to attend all-day kindergarten in the township.
At the Rexford S. Tucker Apartments where residents of districts 2, 6, and 14 voted, college student Asiana Hung-Barnes stated that this was her first time voting. She said she did research on the REACH program because she has three younger brothers in the school system. She hopes they will eventually be able to participate in the program. Sonia Allocco who is a 35-year resident stated that of most importance is health care. She rued that the political climate is so nasty and that politicians “should be nicer to each other.”