Volunteers: Voter Turnout 'Steadier' Than Most Years
Polls for school budget and board vote are open in the township until 9 p.m.
The polls are open, the public is voting, and within hours three seats on the Hillsborough Board of Education will be filled.
Suspense remains for each of the five candidates as they await the closing of the polls and the tallying of the votes.
“We tried to talk to a lot of people and get the word out about what our goals and priorities were, but I have no expectations or no way of knowing how things are going,” said BOE candidate Lorraine Soisson.
Regardless of who wins, Soisson pointed out that she hopes that the public comes out in support of the budget, and that the three elected members can do everything they can to maintain quality education in the district.
“It’s in the hands of the voters," she said. "I hope, if nothing else, that by five of us running and getting word out to our friends and neighbors that we’re getting a good turnout, and hopefully the budget will pass.”
So far, reports on the election’s turnout have indicated moderate participation from the public. In the early voting hours, election volunteers at the Hillsborough Municipal Complex noted that, while slower than the typical November election, more voters than usual seemed to be coming out for an April election.
“The school election is usually slower, but this has been a lot steadier than it has in the past,” said local volunteer Wanda Goldsworthy.
That sentiment was echoed a bit later at Hillsborough Elementary School where voters from districts 15, 16, 17, 19 and 23 certainly seemed to be flowing steadily in and out of the building, even if not as heavily as last year.
“It has been more or less steady. Slow and steady,” said volunteer Ute Pratt.
Added fellow volunteer Jo Trani, “Last year was out of control because of the budget—the one that got voted down. This one is calmer.”
Trani said she expected the flow of voters to pick up as the evening wore on.
“(It will pick up) by the dinner hour, right after 7 or 8 o’clock, because it’s open until 9,” Trani said. “People will come home, have dinner and then rush here.”
Although it’s hard to say what will unfold as the election results come in later this evening, some voters expressed that they were generally happy with the direction of the school district and the focus of its BOE members and candidates.
“In general, I think the district’s on a good track. I think we’ve got a good district,” said resident John Hardenbergh. “I’m glad to see the board went back and bumped the budget up a little bit more so we’re spending some of that money we might have otherwise left on the table.”
Like many of the candidates stated at Monday night’s Candidates’ Night at Hillsborough High School, however, Hardenbergh believes that communication—namely, that of goals and how the district measures quality in the education it provides—could be more transparent.
“The piece that struck me is we heard about quality a lot (on Monday night). We didn’t really hear about how one measures quality,” Hardenbergh said. “I hoped to hear some more about that, but I didn’t. I think that’s going to be an important thing moving forward.”
Democratic Township Committee candidate Mike Goldberg said the BOE candidates have showed they care about what takes place in the district.
“You always have to be concerned about the money we’re spending," he said. "It has to be spent appropriately, adequately, and we have great people who want to step up and take that initiative. I give them a whole lot of credit. It’s a challenge and it’s a task that, again, I give them a whole lot of credit for doing.”