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New Jersey voters take to polls Tuesday for special election

By 69 News & Associated Press, (follow: @69news), news@wfmz.com
Published On: Dec 24 2013 01:57:06 AM CST
Updated On: Aug 13 2013 05:49:39 PM CDT

NJ Special Senate Primary

TRENTON, N.J. -

It's Election Day in the Garden State, although you wouldn't know it by looking at polling stations. Some precincts reported just one voter every two hours for Tuesday's U.S. Senate primaries.

Six candidates -- two Republicans and four Democrats -- are competiting for a spot in October's special election to replace longtime Sen. Frank Lautenberg, who died in June. Primaries are typically held in June in New Jersey.

"I don't think a lot of people knew they were voting today," said Pohtacong Twp. mayor James Kern.

Poll workers in Warren Co. had a lot of free time on their hands. By three p.m., one station had only seen 20 voters.

"The turnout is always very low," said voter Sal Cassar of Phillipsburg.

Plus, the winners are almost guaranteed: Republican Steve Lonegan, a former mayor from Bergen Co., and Democrat Cory Booker, Newark's celebrity mayor who has an endorsement from Oprah Winfrey and more than a million Twitter followers.

"I think most people realized who's going to win in New Jersey, so I think that kind of suppressed turnout as well," said Kern.

Still, Booker was out stumping full-force.

"When you've done everything you can to prepare, when you've worked and you've sweat and you're out there in the heat of August and July knocking on doors of voters, you've got to at some point have faith that you're going to get people to the polls," Booker said after voting.

Local voters said apathy is always high here because statewide candidates rarely make it to rural western New Jersey.

"I think just the voter contact would help some of those candidates out," said Kern.

"If you want to make people come out to vote for you, you've got to give them a reason to do it," added Cassar.

Not only does Cory Booker have a commanding lead among the Democrats, but one poll show him 25 points ahead of Lonegan in October's general election.

Polls are open until eight p.m.