Attached is a joint letter to NJ Democratic county chairs from the following progressive, grassroots groups:
On Friday, New Jersey Democratic Party Chairman, John Currie, advised all county chairs to adopt resolutions to bypass elections for County Committee and to extend terms to 2021. Chairman Currie has suggested that this action is necessary to reduce the spread of COVID-19. However, since Governor Murphy signed Executive Order No. 105, safe alternatives have been created for people to file their petitions. Online forms have been made available for collecting signatures and filing petitions. Notarizing documents is no longer required. Drop boxes have also been provided outside of municipal clerks offices. With all of these arrangements, folks can easily collect the minimal signatures required and file petitions without placing themselves at risk. There is simply no valid reason to postpone County Committee elections for a year. So why are county chairs being advised to extend terms?
This “advice” from Chairman Currie is a transparent attempt to exploit the current health crisis in order to protect incumbent committee members – and county chairs themselves – from losing their seats. Chairman Currie claims this is for the protection of voters, when it is clear the actual goal is to shield his allies from being replaced. Framing this as a public safety issue is a particularly hollow argument given that all other elections will move forward as scheduled.
Unfortunately, Chairman Currie is ignoring the fundamental principles of democracy, in order to serve his own political interests. Meanwhile, there is a rising grassroots movement within the party. There are many folks who were previously unengaged, who are now excited to participate in County Committees. Instead of fearfully shutting them out, we encourage county chairs – and State Committee – to build and diversify the party by embracing these new voices.
We call on all county chairs to proceed with all scheduled elections for County Committee. We reject any arbitrary attempts to extend terms. We stand firmly against those who wish to exploit this crisis to take power away from the people they are meant to serve. We demand that county chairs uphold the rights of voters. We demand fair and open elections. We demand democracy.
Cape May County Indivisible
Cooper River Indivisible
South Jersey Progressive Democrats
Collingswood Democratic Committee
Atlantic County Indivisible
Hudson County Progressive Alliance
NJ-08 For Progress
NJ CD-2 Progressive Democrats
South Jersey Women for Progressive Change