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New York primary elections see rise in voter turnout

[caption id="attachment_14181" align="alignnone" width="300"]Emily Balan/News Editor Emily Balan/News Editor[/caption] With New York Democrats and Republicans having voted for their preferred presidential candidates on Tuesday, Seton Hall students are looking forward to casting their votes during the New Jersey primary elections, set to take place on June 7. More than 850,000 Republicans and 1.8 million Democrats turned out in New York, surpassing the 2008 and 2012 turnout. Donald Trump won on the Republican side with 60.4 percent of the vote, and Hillary Clinton won on the Democratic side with 58 percent of the vote, according to results from the New York State Board of Elections. In the first 12 primaries of 2016, combined Republican turnout has been 17.3 percent of eligible voters, the highest of any year since 1980, according to the Pew Research Center website. The website also said Democratic turnout has been 11.7 percent, the highest since 1992, except for 2008, which saw a record turnout of 19.5 percent. New Jersey Democratic primary voter turnout totaled 1,141,199 in 2008, and in 2012, when President Obama ran for re-nomination unopposed, Democratic voter turnout totaled 283, 673, according to the United States Election Project. New Jersey Republican primary voter turnout totaled 231,465 in 2012. Whether New Jersey will see an increase in voter turnout will be determined on June 7. The Republican nomination has not been contested this late in the primary season in the last 30 years. Dr. Patrick Fisher, a political science professor at Seton Hall, said in an email interview that political independents are not allowed to vote in primaries, so the number of potential voters could decrease. Not all states hold elections to determine the nomination for a Party’s presidential candidate. Many states, such as Iowa, hold caucuses. Fisher explained the difference between the two. “A primary is a regular secret ballot election where one votes as he or she would in any regular election,” Fisher said. “A caucus, on the other hand, is more like a town meeting that can take hours and is not necessarily, especially for the Democrats, done in secret.” Seton Hall students are ready to hit the upcoming New Jersey polls, but aren’t convinced their votes will actually matter. Laura Catanzaro, a graduate student biology major and a Democrat, said she plans on voting in the upcoming New Jersey primary but doesn’t think her vote will make a difference. “I’ll probably vote when the time comes, I think everyone that can should,” Catanzaro said. “But among the hundreds of thousands of people voting, I don’t think anything would change if I just decided not to.” Michael Roma, a freshman diplomacy major, said that it’s his patriotic duty to vote and that his vote can potentially matter in the long run. “I believe that as an American I should take advantage of the right to vote and have a say in who’s running the country,” Roma said. “My vote alone doesn’t feel very significant. But if I vote, and then my friends vote because I vote, then it can make a real difference.” Fisher explained the importance of voting in primaries because of the consequences the voters’ actions bring. “The Republican presidential nomination process this year really shows the importance of participating in primaries,” Fisher said. “There is a tremendous difference Donald Trump winning the nomination as opposed to Ted Cruz or John Kasich.” Hunter DeSimone can be reached at


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