Open Space Catches On, But Not Vote-by-Mail

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STATE – New Jersey voters favor a proposal to fund open space land acquisition, but aren’t interested in voting by mail, according to results of a recent Fairleigh Dickinson University PublicMindTM poll.

More than 1-in-5 (22%) likely New Jersey voters say they’ve received an application at home for a mail-in ballot. But only 4% of those (and less than one percent of all voters) have mailed in the application. Nine-in-ten (89%) who say they’ve received an application for a mail-in ballot say they’ll pass on the application process and go right to the voting both on.

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In all, just 8% of voters say they’re somewhat or very likely to vote by mail: 10% say they’re not very likely, and 81% say they’re not at all likely to bother with voting by mail.

“Voting by mail has become more and more popular in other states,” said Peter Woolley, a political scientist and director of the FDU poll, “but it seems its time has not yet come in the Garden State. Many people still see going to vote as a personal and communal ritual.”

Whether voting in person or by mail, voters will also have to decide whether to participate in this year’s referendum on borrowing money. About 1-in-4 voters (24%) say they usually just skip bond questions. Republicans are more likely than Democrats to say they always vote on bond questions (69-59), and voters over 60 are far more likely than voters under 30 to say they always vote on the ballot questions (72-33).

A majority of likely voters (56%) say they approve of this year’s public question: issuing $400 million in bonds to make land purchases to conserve open space. Just 31% say they disapprove of the bond issue and 13% say they are not sure. The bond issue gains approval by a similar margin (57-32) among just those who say they always vote on bond issues.

The Fairleigh Dickinson University poll of 667 likely voters statewide was conducted by telephone from Sept. 28 through Oct. 5, and has a margin of error of +/- 4 percentage points.


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