My first job out of college in 1992 was working for a nonprofit environmental and consumer advocacy organization, and during much of those two years I was engaged in basic get out the vote (GOTV) work: knocking on doors, educating constituents, registering people to vote and poll working on election days.

Fast forward 30 years and it’s clear that  Montclair needs the same. As of Friday, the official results of March 8's historic Board of Education election for two newly created seats reported a turnout of just 12.6%, or 4,400 bllots in a township with over 35,000 registered voters. By any account, this low turnout is abysmal. Yes, an off-cycle special election is bound to draw fewer voters than would a general election. But given the long build-up and high profile nature of this election — from the November 2021 referendum to the multiple meet-the-candidates events to the engaged social media discussions — I expected a better showing at the polls.

We have time to fix this before the next municipal election, and groups such as Montclair NAACP, Vote Montclair and the League of Women Voters of the Montclair Area should lead the charge. Let's GOTV, Montclair!

Becky Koch

What we this low-turnout election does, doesn't tell us

Editor's note: While county officials have 35,011 registered voters on record, the 2020 Census suggests a voting-age population in Montclair of less than 31,000. According to the Essex County Clerk, a person is not removed from voter rolls until the county is notified that person has died, or until election mail is marked undeliverable and then that person fails to take part in two federal elections. 


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