Who can vote in the June 7 primary?
The last day to register to vote in the primary was May 17. The Board of Elections has posted affiliation statistics as of May 20 and there are 13,071 Democrats and 836 Republicans eligible to vote on June 7. Presidential candidates will be at the top of the ticket, but in keeping with our "hyperlocal" focus, we are looking at the two City Council races, one for the Citywide at-large seat and the other for the Third Ward seat.
Citywide at-large race
Only Democrats are running in this year's primary. In the Citywide at-large contest, incumbent Councilwoman Tracey Brown is seeking re-election and is facing a challenge from Councilwoman Rebecca Williams, who currently holds the Second & Third Ward at-large seat. Williams was endorsed by the Plainfield Democratic City Committee and Brown is running off the line.
In contrast with 13,071 Democratic voters citywide eligible to vote in the 2016 June primary, the total in 2012 was 11,978. That year, Brown received 2,680 votes to 1,647 for Veronica Taylor. On the GOP side in 2012, William Amirault received 148 votes out of a possible 930.
In November 2012, when all 22,555 registered voters were eligible to take part, Brown received 11,625 votes. Amirault had dropped out. Independent candidate Gloria Henriques received 674 votes.
Third Ward race
In the Third Ward race, Charles McRae is running with Williams on the Democratic Party line. Alma Blanco is running with Brown off the line. The primary winners will be on the Nov. 8 ballot, along with any Independent candidates who file on June 7. There are 6,093 Democrats in the Third Ward eligible to vote in the primary.
In the 2012 primary, of 3,492 eligible Democrats in the Third Ward, 787 Democrats voted for Adrian Mapp and 534 voted for Rasheed Abdul-Haqq. Republican Randy Bullock received 41 votes out of a possible 237. In the November 2012 general election, Mapp received 3,139 votes out of a possible 6,260. Republican Randy Bullock received 241 and Independent Tom Turner got 108.
The Board of Elections will publish the number of eligible voters for the Nov. 8 general election after the last day to register, which is Oct. 18, 2016.
City Council winners will take office on Jan.1, 2017 for four-year terms.
(Figures are from Union County Board of Elections and Union County Clerk's Election Results)
The most important part of any election for any campaign is getting the voters to the polls. In the old days, that meant arranging rides, making reminder calls and anything else to facilitate those final steps into the voting booth. Vacationers and travelers were urged to fill out absentee ballots.
Now there is also a vote-by-mail option for anyone. See Vote-by-mail instructions in English and Spanish here.
Voters with mobile phones can now get information on a Union County election app.
Having President Obama at the top of the ticket was a tremendous draw for Plainfield voters in 2012, but national election analysts are finding 2016 to be a confusing and even disappointing year for voters. Being on the party line is an advantage for candidates, as the local turnout is magnified by interest in the whole slate or even by simple party loyalty.
Are you one of the deciders on June7? If you are not sure, check this voter information from the New Jersey Department of State or check with the Union County Clerk's Election Division.
If you are a decider, plan to get to your polling place (listed on the sample ballot you will soon receive) and vote any time between 6 a.m. and 8 p.m. Your right to vote is precious! Make sure you exercise it!