The Great New Jersey Governor Race: How Can I Vote?

Rebecca LeMoult

2021’s gubernatorial race is heating up in New Jersey. This year, there are five sticker candidates: current governor and Democrat Phil Murphy; Jack Ciattarelli, the Republican candidate; Green Party candidate Madelyn Hoffman; Libertarian Gregg Mele; and Joanne Kuniansky, who is running with the Socialist Workers Party. Their running mates, respectively, are Sheila Oliver (D), Diane Allen (R), Heather Warburton (G), Eveline H. Brownstein (L), and Vivian Sahner (Socialist Workers Party) (Ballotpedia). 

Murphy has a platform based on policies such as raising the minimum wage and decriminalizing drug use. Ciatarelli’s policies include increasing funding for mental health services and privatizing the American education system. (ISideWith). Mele has stated support for improving public transport and increasing school choice. Hoffman’s political beliefs include forgiving student loan debt and reducing the military budget (Ballotpedia). Kuniansky has a platform which includes shortening workweeks with no pay cuts and supporting labor unions. (Elec NJ). 

Prior to becoming a politician, Murphy was a financier for Goldman Sachs. Ciattarelli served as a member of the General Assembly for New Jersey’s 16th Legislative District. (Wikipedia). Mele was previously a lawyer (Mele for NJ Governor), while Hoffman has been a Green Party member and political activist since the 1990s, even serving as Ralph Nader’s vice presidential candidate (Hoffman For GOVNJ). Kuniansky, meanwhile, is currently employed at Walmart (Elec NJ). 

There have been three debates relating to this election. On September 28th and October 12th, Murphy and Ciattarelli participated in debates about policies and the upcoming election. On October 5th, there was a debate between their lieutenant governors, Oliver and Allen. Between Ciattarelli and Murphy, debates became intense, with’s Charles Stile even describing the election as a “race to the bottom” due to both candidates having unleashed seemingly personal attacks upon each other. (Ballotpedia). 

Voting registration closed on the 12th of October. If you are eighteen or older and have registered to vote, you will be able to vote on the 2nd of November. You may be wondering, just how can I vote? What are my options? The answer is that you can either vote by mail, vote early in person, or vote on Election Day. 

Relating to voting advice, students and staff have some advice for this year’s voters. “There is a lot of information on in regards to our current government and how things operate, along with key details about each of the candidates,” one student said.

A teacher added, “Check out the candidate’s websites to see where they stand on your big ticket issues.” When asked if gubernatorial elections are as important as presidential elections, the same teacher said, “All elections are important to the democratic process, especially state and local elections.” 

Finally, when asked about what advice she would have for this year’s voters, the student said: “Don’t vote based on what your family, friends, the media, etc thinks, vote on issues that matter to you.”  


Happy election season Ramapo!