Jersey City deserves its own Election Day every four years, when Jersey City voters can focus on issues of local concern without the distraction of partisan statewide elections. We are opposed to combining the traditional May election for Mayor and City Council with the November elections for Governor, State Senate, General Assembly and School Board, which will dilute the traditional focus Jersey City puts on its local issues, once every four years. We want to Keep Jersey City Elections Local!
It is already hard for local candidates to get attention from the media, but holding Jersey City’s election in the midst of a fall partisan election season could completely overshadow City candidates’ messages and limit their ability to get media attention. While it is expensive and difficult for independent, local candidates to raise the funds for paid media, like mail and television advertisements, making them do so during a gubernatorial election will be cost-prohibitive – virtually stifling their ability to reach voters. The result of combining Jersey City elections with State elections will not be greater voter participation, but less-informed voters, as candidates will have a much harder time getting their messages out.
Contrary to the claims of some, combining Jersey City elections with State partisan elections does not guarantee greater voter turnout. Indeed, in 2013, the last time there were elections for both Mayor and Governor, approximately 30% of the City’s voters turned out for the May election for Mayor and City Council, while only a little more than 20% voted in the November gubernatorial election.
Moreover, moving the election from May to November will push City runoffs from June to December. A runoff election in the middle of the holiday season will almost certainly lead to a low turnout - nullifying any alleged benefits of a November election, and raising the real threat that a candidate might secure office without truly securing a majority of voters.
Finally, creating a ballot where up to 70 candidates compete for at least 14 offices will overwhelm voters, and force them to make more than a dozen selections on one visit to the voting booth. Not only will this bloated ballot create confusion and ludicrously long lines, but consider how much time it would take to parse through the message of 70 candidates leading up to Election Day in order to make an informed decision. It is just too much.
Join us in keeping the integrity of Jersey City Elections - and Let’s Keep Jersey City Election Local!