Mico Lucide, Chair of Atlantic County Our Revolution, has announced his campaign for Atlantic County Clerk. His platform focuses on improving election integrity and turnout through voter education and a redesign of the county ballot from what he calls “an incomplete spreadsheet” to a more traditional office-bloc style ballot design.
“Democracy is all about being a part of the conversation,” said Lucide. “For too long, the conversation has been led by people with connections to power, money, and special interests. Everyday people need to be able to lead the conversation in our county. Only when our voters have confidence in our elections can their voices truly be heard. I am not putting the blame anywhere, but we can do better. The voters deserve it.”
Lucide is a Mays Landing resident and IT professional who holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, Pre-Law from Stockton University. He is active in local politics and has worked on various progressive campaigns as a member of the Democratic Party. In launching his campaign for County Clerk, Lucide also announced that he is stepping down as Chair of Atlantic County Our Revolution, a position he has held since its founding.
County Clerks have statutory authority over ballot design, and the design used in most New Jersey counties unfairly favors candidates based on their ballot position. A study by Julia Sass Rubin of New Jersey Policy Perspective found that a favorable ballot position on the “county line” can offer up to a 50% swing in vote share. This gives local party chairs substantial power to influence election outcomes. In some extreme cases, such as the ballot in Mercer County, candidate placement was doubled-up with two candidates for US House in one column, resulting in overvoting, which disenfranchised voters.
Outside of significant voter turnout in 2020 resulting from statewide mail-in voting, Atlantic County has struggled to surpass 50% turnout, with some recent years dipping as low as 34%. Lucide believes this can be improved by renewing trust in the election system and increasing voter understanding of the election process. This includes leading a concerted effort among election officials to reach new voters and communities with low voter turnout, and to increase accessibility by utilizing modern resources to disseminate information.
Lucide will be running in the Democratic primary. Current incumbent Ed McGettigan has not yet formally announced his intent to run for re-election. The 2021 primary election will be held June 8th, 2021.