Voter turnout is brisk in Burlington County, but some voters are finding out that they’re not registered with the party they thought they were.
Joanne Nyikita, the county’s elections superintendent, said that her office has received several frustrated phone calls and visits from people who haven’t voted in a primary in decades, and did not realize which party they were committed to.
People coming in to vote for a Republican candidate have discovered that they’re registered Democrats, and vice-versa.
“It’s very busy. It’s very chaotic,” said Nyikita. “People don’t know what party they are sometimes and haven’t voted in a primary election in a long time, and they’re quite surprised to find out what their party is… that’s the big issue.”
Nyikita said that one woman who had not voted in a primary election since the 1960s called her office dismayed that she was still a member of the party she registered with back then. Nyikita could not remember whether the woman was registered as a Democrat or Republican.
“The phones don’t stop ringing. There are so many people who don’t know what party they are,” she said.
Early this morning, there were four malfunctioning machines in Burlington City and Maple Shade, but both were replaced quickly and without incident, said Nyikita.
Monmouth County Clerk M. Claire French said that she’s received similar calls, but is used to them. They happen every primary, she said.
In Monmouth, French said that some voters have gotten calls from campaigns telling them that they can change their party registration to vote today, although the deadline to switch affiliation was in December.
“I don’t know what phone bank is doing that, but that’s an error and, unfortunately, people are showing up at the polls thinking they can change their party,” she said.