UPDATE: Voting Closes, Votes Tallied
Tallies are coming in, as election workers see about 20 percent turnout.
Update, 8:30 p.m.: Election workers described voter turnout as low this election year, with many seeing about 20 percent of voters in their district come to the polls
Redistricting woes contributed to some of the low numbers, while workers said having more people in their districts made comparissons to prior elections impossible.
Districts 23, 10, 29 and 3, all voting in the Municipal Building, saw between 130 to 250 people turnout—what workers called low. Some noted the addition of 600 to 700 people in some districts could have altered voter turnout percentages.
District 23 saw 139 voters, District 10 saw 191, District 29 saw 183 voters an District 3 saw 248 voters.
Update: 7:30 p.m.: Voter turnout has been low throughout Hillsborough, though election workers expect to see greater turnouts in next year's presidential race.
Some districts, such as District 4, 17 and 31, saw a steady flow of voters throughout the day, though workers estimated between 20 to 50 percent of the districts' population came to vote.
District 4 saw 141 people voting, while District 17 saw 162 and District 31 saw about 134 people come out.
In addition to the off-year for elections—when there are no senate, gubernatorial, or presidential elections, redistricting's caused snares for voters in those districts, workers said. Some of the voters remained in Hillsborough Elementary School to vote, while others needed to be redirected to the Hillsborough Municipal Complex.
"We had so many and some of them had to go out to another location," Robert Luscz said. "They were coming here for like 30 years. When in doubt, check the ballot."
"They just didn't check their ballot," Carol Luscz said. "Some people got kind of hot under their collar. They were a little annoyed but they said they didn't look."
Meanwhile, workers in Districts 12, 16, and 6 saw very few hang-ups from the redistricting, they said.
Still, workers estimated about a 20 percent turnout, with District 12 seeing 90 voters by 6:30 p.m., District 6 seeing 120 voters and District 16 seeing 131.
For some voters, coming out was the only option, despite the off year.
"I never miss a vote," Judd Mandell said. "My voting record is impeccable. It shows that I do care and that I voiced my opinion."
For Mandell, maintaining township services while keeping taxes low were priorities.
"I don't want to cut athletic programs and stuff like that but I also want to keep taxes at the level they are now," Mandell said. "I don't mind paying for things but I don't want to pay more than my fair share."
"But I don't think the candidates did a good job of getting their messages out," he added. "I got a lot of mailers in the last two weeks but I didn't see anybody or any candidates at all."
Mandell said that he was unable to attend the Candidates' Night at Hillsborough High School due to prior committments.
Meanwhile, at least one resident cited the referendum question on sports betting as a reason to vote.
"I personally disagree with horse racing, so I was interested in voting against introducing gambling based on horse racing," David Leichtling said. "I disagree with the use of animals in a compulsory events like that. I'm voting against the exploitation of them."
With half an hour left for voters to come out, election workers expect the last push for residents to vote.
"The place did fill up and we had lines (between 6:15 and 6:35)," Joanna Trani said. "It's probably the people who came before dinner. Now, we are going to see the people who have had dinner and are remembering to come out and vote."
UPDATE, 4 p.m.: New voting districs in the western section of town led to some confusion for voters who reported to their old voting locations.
Several voters in districts 1, 8 and 30 saw their polling locations change from Neshanic Reformed Church to Woodfern School—but reported to their old voting locations, according to poll workers.
As a result, some workers couldn't say whether turnouts were on par with previous years or far exceeded them. According to the poll numbers, District 8 saw 89 voters, District 30 saw 107 and District 1 saw 92 voters.
"It's hard to say," Ann-Marie Lazor-Spariro said. "We had to send a lot of people to Woodfern because the district changed. You don't really know how many are going to participate."
"It's very sparse," Barbara Goodrich said. "One lady stormed out of here and said I'm not going to vote at all."
The workers at the church have been directing residents to Woodfern School, they said.
"We're telling them they need to look at their ballot because it's on the front of their ballot," Nancy Bertin said.
At least one voter, Mike Babinski, of Zion Road, wasn't pleased with his new voting location at Woodfern School. He used to vote at Neshanic Reformed Church, he said.
"I used to drive less than an eighth of a mile," he said. "This is out of the way."
Babinski's biggest concern is property taxes, he said.
"Below that is the government," Babinski said. "It's just too big and it's out-of-control. The cost of government with the salaries and the benefits and paying out unused sick time."
Despite losing power in both Irene and the October snowstorm, he's pleased with the town's response in both storms.
"I was quite happy with the town but I was unhappy with JCP&L," he said. "We were out four to six days with Irene and we were out six days with this recent storm. I look out and I see all my neighbers on Amwell Road have power because they have Public Service."
For Lorraine Pydeski, a new voting district would not change her decision to vote—it's simply something she does every year, and something she considers important.
"I'd personally like to see more balance in politics here in Hillsborough," she said. "I'm very proud of the town. I'm proud of what the town provides and what the school system provides in these tough financial times."
Three voting locations in the eastern section of town had no lunchtime voting rush, instead seeing the same stream of voters as other locations.
Still, election workers at Sunnymead School found the voter turnout increased from numbers seen during Primary Elections. According to poll worker Lauren Shotwell, only 16 voters came to District 5 during Primaries—but the same district's seen 62 voters at noon today.
"I think people are taking an interest because there is so much campaigning in the news," she said.
Shotwell, who votes in District 7, also took the opportunity to vote, since Districts 5 and 7 vote in the same location.
"The issues where I live in town, I feel like the town leaders have really listened to us," she said. "I wanted to come out and support them."
District 7 saw 120 residents voting by noon, which poll workers thought was a good turn out—though it's not a large as numbers see during presidential elections.
Amsterdam School, which houses Districts 11 and 9, saw about the same number of voters at each location—46 in District 11 and 48 in District 9. The near-equal numbers aren't typical for those districts, however.
"We usually have a one and a half to two raiot between 9 and 11," Allan Walchinsky, a poll worker, said. "Now, we're about equal. This may be because of the rezoning (of voting districts). I don't know how it affected these locations."
Woods Road Elementary School saw slightly higher voter tallies than the other locations, with 85 people voting from district 85 and 61 people voting from district 18. Poll workers noted that it's not a high number but also stated thta the district is not a large one.
Workers at Woods Road School did not think the redistricting affected voter tallies.
"If a person's going to vote, they are going to vote," John Penaka said. "I don't think we've seen any change."
At Woods Road Firehouse, workers noted that turnouts increase for presidential or senate elections. The lack of it may be explain the turnout, they said.
The firehouse, which gets voters from Districts 25 and 27, saw 64 voters from District 25 and 80 voters from District 27 at the polls.
"We had 44 for the primary," Anne LoPriesti, who worked the District 25 table, said. "If there's a governor or a president or a senate (election), we'll have a lot more."
Unseasonably warm temperatures could be a contributing factor for voter turnouts, according to one worker.
"I don't know if the weather is a plus or a minus," Ronald Miller said. "Unless we get a rush, I don't think we'll get 30 percent."