Home>Local>Atlantic>Democrats want early voting site in Pleasantville, but GOP expected to oppose

Gov. Phil Murphy votes in Long Branch on October 23, 2021. (Pool Photo: John Jones/ NJ Advance Media).

Democrats want early voting site in Pleasantville, but GOP expected to oppose

Pleasantville is a minority-majority city that Democrats carry by 50 percentage points

By David Wildstein, April 04 2022 10:21 am

Both parties in politically competitive Atlantic County are arguing over the establishment of an early voting site in Pleasantville, a Democratic stronghold where a majority of the population are minorities.

The Atlantic County Board of Elections is expected to consider a proposal on Tuesday to create early voting centers in Pleasantville and in Egg Harbor Township, which votes Republican.

The state law that created an early voting option allows each county to designate up to seven polling locations.  In 2021, Atlantic County used six: Atlantic City, Buena Vista, Galloway, Hamilton, Hammonton and Northfield.

“Both political parties have a responsibility to make it easier for historically-disadvantaged communities to vote,” said Michael Suleiman, the Atlantic County Democratic chairman. “Given that a disproportionate number of Pleasantville residents rely on public transportation and given that it’s one of the only majority-minority communities to not have its own early voting location, I urge the Board of Elections to do the right thing and vote yes.”

Election officials are also getting ready to drop the Buena Vista location, which apparently attracted few early voters.

“I too support creating an early voting site in EHT, but to create one in a Caucasian-majority town but oppose one in a majority-minority town reeks of petty politics,” Suleiman said.  “I urge the Republicans to do the right thing and create early voting sites in both EHT and Pleasantville.”

An Atlantic County Republican, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, confirmed that the GOP intends to oppose an early voting site in Pleasantville.

If the Board of Elections votes along party lines, newly-elected County Clerk Joe Giralo, a Republican, would break the tie.

Pleasantville is 41% Black, and 50% Hispanic or Latino, according to the U.S. Census.

Atlantic County Commissioner redistricting separated Pleasantville and Atlantic City.

In 2021, Pleasantville delivered about 75% of the vote to Gov. Phil Murphy and Democratic State Senate candidate Vince Mazzeo.

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