Seton Hall students from New Jersey have until May 17 to register for the upcoming primary election, according to NJ.com. New Jersey voters will take to the ballots on June 7.
The registration process for New Jersey is simple for students who are not registered but wish to vote in the primary.
The requirements to register are as follows: the potential voter must be a U.S. citizen, live for at least 30 days in the county in which they are registering, and must be at least 18 years old by June 7.
Students can register by going to www.state.nj.us, clicking on the Division of Elections tab, and downloading and printing the voter registration form.
Upon completion, students can mail the form in with no postage necessary.
Voters must register at least 21 days before June 7 and cannot register on Election Day in order for their vote to count, according to RocktheVote.com.
New Jersey has a closed primary system.
Those registered to vote must identify as either a Republican or Democrat, and can only vote for a Republican or Democratic candidate during primary season. Voters may choose from either party during the general election in November.
Seton Hall students such as Graham De Groft, a freshman diplomacy major, is already registered to vote.
De Groft, a registered Democrat, isn’t happy with the closed primary system in New Jersey.
“I’m not a fan of the closed system,” De Groft said. “We always talk about having freedom and democracy yet closed primaries restrict voting. Not registering is one thing, but limiting my choices to two completely different sides doesn’t seem fair.”
Joshua Corpuz, a freshman diplomacy major, has not registered because of the closed primary system.
“Closed primaries aren’t fair to Independents,” Corpuz said. “If I don’t identify as a Democrat or a Republican, do I not have the right to vote?”
Dr. Patrick Fisher, a political science professor at Seton Hall, explained why New Jersey holds closed primary elections.
“Most states in the Northeast are closed primary systems,” Fisher said in an email interview. “Political machines have traditionally been stronger in the Northeast than other parts of the country and strong party organizations favor closed primaries.”
Fisher said that registration and primary laws vary from state to state. Changing parties in a closed primary must be done months beforehand, Fisher added. Voters who identify as Independent cannot vote in closed primaries but are eligible to vote in open primaries.
“Whether or not a state has an opened or closed primary can have a marked impact on who wins. In 2016, for example, Bernie Sanders has done considerably better in open primaries; Donald Trump has also tended to do better in open primaries,” Fisher said.
Hunter DeSimone can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.