A total of 1,466,366 voters cast ballots in the mostly all vote-by-mail 2020 New Jersey primary election, the second-highest in state’s history.
The statewide turnout of eligible voters was 26%, but the numbers were considerably higher among voters affiliated with a major political party: 42% of all Democrats voted in the July 7 primary and 33% of all Republicans.
Gov. Phil Murphy ordered the primary moved from June to July and conducted principally through mail-in ballots as a way of reducing the spread of the deadly coronavirus.
Election officials issued 3,751,489 ballots for the July 7 primary election – a number close to the combined totals of registered Democrats and Republicans in the state.
Slightly less than 2.8% of all votes were rejected by election officials. It’s not clear how many of them were VBM and provisional.
Democratic turnout was highest in three strongly Republican counties: Hunterdon (57%), Cape May (56%), and Morris (51%). It was lowest in Passaic (33%). Bergen and Essex Democrats each contributed more than 100,000 votes in the primary.
On the Republican side, the highest turnout was in Cape May (45%). Cumberland, Hunterdon, and Warren counties were all at 40%. Ocean County produced 58,990 votes in the GOP primary, followed by Morris (46,043) and Monmouth (42,803).
The record for the most votes cast in a New Jersey primary election was in March 2008, when New Jersey held a presidential primary on Super Tuesday that attracted 1,714,808 votes.
Only three other primary elections have attracted more than one million votes: 1,388,669 in 2016; 1,065,063 in 1981, when both parties had spirited gubernatorial primaries without any organization lines; 1,013,219 and in 1984, when the race for the Democratic presidential nomination between Walter Mondale and Gary Hart went until June.