At polling stations visited in Union and Elizabeth, the turnout mid-morning on Election Day was barely a trickle. Workers said it had not been much heavier earlier, when the before-work throng usually comes. Judging by comments from those who were voting, that seemed to reflect not so much a lack of interest in the race as a lack of enthusiasm about the choices for governor.
“I’m going to vote when I finish working, but I still haven’t decided who I’m going to vote for,” declared Bill Goldfischer, 87, the head of catering at the YM-YWHA of Union County.
The Y is a polling station, but Goldfischer said he would be voting at a school in Elizabeth. Like a number of other people interviewed at the Y and at other polling places, he said he wasn’t particularly eager to vote for either Gov. Jon Corzine, Republican Chris Christie, or Independent Christopher Daggett.
“I’ll make up my mind when I go into the booth,” he said.
NJJN buttonholed voters on Nov. 3 at the end of a gubernatorial race that remained too close to call. (Polls closed after NJJN went to the printers.)
A white-haired woman leaving the Y said she voted because that’s what one has to do. “If you don’t vote, you deserve what you get,” she said. But she admitted that she had voted without a marked preference for any candidate. “The newspapers and the television were so full of the terrible things they were saying about each other, I don’t know what to believe. I don’t know if all that stuff is true or not,” she said.
Like Goldfischer, she didn’t make up her mind until the last minute. Asked if she considered voting for Daggett, she said she thought about it but rejected the idea. “That would just be throwing away my vote, and I won’t do that,” she said.
She declined to say whom she finally chose. “That’s one thing I don’t need to tell anyone,” she declared. “It used to drive my father mad that I wouldn’t tell him, but it’s my secret.”
A Westfield resident who asked to remain anonymous said he might not go for any of the gubernatorial candidates. “I am wholly concerned with fiscal issues,” he said. “New Jersey needs a strong governor who is committed to reducing state expenditures — to breaking the downward spiral that the entitlement mentality promises. As I see it, none of the current candidates are focused on this issue enough.
“I may well abstain from voting for a governor this time.”
While most people cited the economy as their main concern, Louis Beckerman, a lawyer with a firm in Colonia, said he was considering a number of other matters. Beckerman, cochair of the Jewish Community Relations Council of the Jewish Federation of Central New Jersey, said, “I think that the issues that are of concern to the Jewish community is how well the next governor understands the needs of our community.
“Women’s issues, reproductive rights, education, and the State of Israel are important issues as well as taxation and property taxes. Jon Corzine has proven his commitment to the Jewish community through active participation and involvement. He renewed the state’s commitment to the New Jersey-Israel Commission, visited Israel numerous times as a senator and as governor, participated in countless Super Sundays, and chose Sen. Loretta Weinberg as his running mate for lieutenant governor because of her vast experience as a seasoned legislature.”
He added, “On the other hand, I am not sure what, if any, involvement within our community Mr. Christie has had.”