Today, Congressman Andy Kim, Dr. Patricia Campos-Medina, and Larry Hamm candidates for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate from New Jersey, sent letters to the County Clerks and Democratic Committee Chairs in the 19 New Jersey counties that use a so-called “county line” ballot, calling on them to utilize an “office block” ballot design for all competitive elections in the June Democratic primary, as is already used by Salem and Sussex counties and all 49 other states in America.
“As Democrats, we cannot accept a ballot system that is inconsistent with our values and directly contradicts our fight to protect and promote democracy and voting rights,” said Kim. “It does not have to be this way. Our County Clerks and our County Democratic Party Chairs have it in their power to call for and provide an office block ballot for the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate. We have a chance to show the people of New Jersey and the country that we’re better than the corruption we’ve seen from Senator Menendez; rejecting this ballot system would be an important step.”
“For years I have been calling for the elimination of the county party line because it works to exclude Latinas and women of color from running for office,” said Campos-Medina. “I have already experienced the discriminatory nature of this process during this campaign by being excluded from some counties’ forums and debates. This exclusion is a clear and present danger to our Democracy. And as President Biden is working to increase Black and Latino voter participation in 2024, the county line works to suppress these same voters that are critical to energize the democratic party base in a run-up against Donald Trump.”
“Our elections must be as democratic as possible. Ballots should be designed and structured in a way that does not give any individual candidate a built-in advantage over the others. Failure to do so erodes confidence in our electoral process,” said Hamm.
In the letter to the County Clerks, the candidates reminded the recipients that, “credibility of this primary necessitates your action to ensure that the election is seen as fair for all candidates – and for all voters – with a ballot that does not give any single candidate a state-conferred advantage by design.” They continued in their letter to the Democratic County Chairs making the case that an “office block” design would be better for the Democratic Party; “At a time when President Biden is running on a platform to protect our democracy, we cannot be seen as taking steps here in New Jersey that are viewed as undemocratic, or worse still, pressure the President to do so. Otherwise, we will severely damage our ability to attract voters, especially unaffiliated and young voters who are weary after the Senator’s indictment.”
They concluded the letter to county party chairs by reiterating a, “previously stated commitment and support for an office block ballot statewide, irrespective of the outcomes of any upcoming county conventions” and asking all other candidates, “to do the same.”