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Special Election Underway in NJ

Turnout is expected to be light, but voters in New Jersey are hitting the polls to decide who should fill the United States Senate seat once held by the late Frank Lautenberg.

Steve Lonegan casts a ballot in Bogota (L) while Cory Booker votes in Newark in the special Senate election
Steve Lonegan casts a ballot in Bogota (L) while Cory Booker votes in Newark in the special Senate election (Lonegan: News 12 NJ. Booker: @CoryBooker via Twitter)

Folks have until 8 p.m. to decide between Democratic Newark Mayor Cory Booker and Republican Steve Lonegan, each of whom sharply attacked their opponent in the weeks leading up to today.

A poll worker in Manalapan said turnout at their location was better than expected as of 1 p.m. Wednesday.

Voter turnout has been reported as “very light” in Warren County, and “steady” in Essex County, according to The Star Ledger.

“You give me a vote; I’ll cast it,” said Angie Akman after marking her ballot in Monmouth County. “I’m an American. This is our obligation.”

“I just felt it was an important thing to do,” added a fellow voter. “I tried to pick someone who’s going to help the balance in the Senate.”

Not everyone was well aware of Wednesday’s special election, though. One woman exited the polling place after learning her weekly dose of mahjong wouldn’t be fulfilled.

Based on the voters we spoke to, the unique October election doesn’t seem to be having an effect on turnout for next month’s gubernatorial decision. Everyone we spoke to said they’d be back on November 5.

“Of course I’ll be here,” said Manalapan resident Marie Forte. “That’s the most important one.”

Incumbent Chris Christie is being challenged by Democratic state Senator Barbara Buono.

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