By Catherine DeMuro
CCC Journalism Program
BLACKWOOD – “What election?” was the widespread response of multiple would-be first-time voters at Camden County College when questioned about participation in the upcoming General Election on Nov. 8 for state, county and municipal officials.
The problem appears to be a lack of information reaching the young voters. “I didn’t even know there was an election,” said John Jordan, a 19-year-old CCC student.
Jordan, a registered voter, said that assuming he is more informed about a presidential election, “I’ll vote in that” because he “wouldn’t make a vote if (he isn’t) informed,” as he stated is the case with the forthcoming election.
Eighteen-year-old CCC student Asante Chester affirmed that he “saw some stuff for the state elections” on television and heard a little about the election from his parents, but will probably not be voting.
The ballot for the election in New Jersey will include voting for the State Assembly, State Senate, a proposed Constitutional amendment and several municipal and county contests.
The lack of publicity regarding this off-year election, especially in comparison with more high-profile elections such as that for United States presidency, is an issue with new voters.
Shanika White, a 19-year-old CCC student, stated that she received information in the mail but did not actively obtain specifics regarding the election. However, White asserted that she would “definitely” vote if she was knowledgeable about the issues or election itself.
Nineteen-year-old Sam Harris agreed that new voters should be more actively informed by local media and government officials. “I’d vote if I knew what was going on,” he said.
Voters can find information on elections on websites such as http://www.state.nj.us/state/elections, the official New Jersey Division of Elections website, or http://www.vote-nj.org, a website dedicated to “connecting voters and candidates” in order to have a more informed voting population. The website includes lists and comparisons of candidates, as well as facts about each one and a sample election ballot.
Students can register to vote online through websites such as http://www.projectvote.org.