It was business as usual for Gloucester County Clerk Jim Hogan on Monday afternoon. He was joined by his staff and a handful of party members and candidates as he drew names for the November general election ballot, something he’s done twice a year for more than 15 years. Third-party advocates, however, are hoping for a new routine next time around. At exactly 3 p.m., Hogan began dropping tiny glass vials stuffed with candidates names into a eight-sided wooden tumbler, locking a small door on one side, shaking it to the left, the right, over his head, left and right again, before unlocking the hatch and pulling out names and handing them to Elections Supervisor Tiffany Pindale. She carefully pulled each piece of paper out of the vial with long red tweezers, and they repeated the semi-annual ritual over and over again for the next 55 minutes to decide the ballot placement for the U.S. Senate, Congressional and local nonpartisan school board races.
The order the names are pulled becomes the order they appear in voting booths on Nov. 4, and as usual, Republics and Democrats are locked into the two priority spots at the top of the ballot.
It’s one part of the traditional ballot draw Libertarian Christopher Feeney, of Westville, hopes will change into an even playing field, after third-party groups have drawn attention to an issue with low voter turn out in this year’s primary race.