A blog about living in Aberdeen, New Jersey.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Monmouth County Publishes Sample Ballots for 2012 General Elections

I received my Aberdeen sample ballot in the mail yesterday. (If you live in Monmouth County, you can find your sample ballot here. Here's a link to the Matawan sample ballot. And, by the way, you might want to bookmark the place where you can find results of elections.)

If you think the presidential election is Obama vs Romney, you'll want to check the ballot, which has ten candidates for President. Likewise, the US Senate race isn't simply Menendez vs Kyrillos; there are eleven candidates for the job, including a Libertarian candidate on the second line. Pallone and Little aren't alone either; they are joined by four others running for the House of Representatives post. No one petitioned to compete against the Republicans and Democrats for County Clerk and Board of Chosen Freeholders. I'll be voting for Obama, Menendez, Pallone, French, Shea and Lavan.

Matawan has openings for two members of the Borough Council.

The Matawan and Aberdeen ballots also include candidates for the Matawan-Aberdeen Regional School District's school board, an election which used to be held in April. Macomber and Martinez are running against incumbents Hayward and Aitken  for a pair of full term Aberdeen positions on the board. One Matawan full term slot (Donahue isn't renewing) and one Aberdeen one-year unexpired term slot (Phillips resigned) have no registered candidates but a number of write-in candidates (Perri, Nappi, and Gentile and others are out there) are campaigning for one or the other of the two slots. The mood in the district is grim after a series of bad decisions by the board, so lots of people are running to kick the bums out. Everywhere I turn I seem to find someone mad as hell and unwilling to take it anymore. I agree with that sentiment and, while not running myself, I will be voting in Aberdeen for Macomber, Martinez, and write-in candidate Art Perri.

If you want to support one of the write-in candidates for the one-year unexpired term on the Aberdeen ballot, be sure to click WRITE IN next to the words NO NOMINATION MADE. The Matawan ballot offers little confusion for write-in voters. Just make sure you're supporting a write-in candidate in your municipality.

When school board elections were held in April, the winners would be sworn in that June. When do the November winners get installed? Also, we used to vote on the school budget in school board elections, but I don't see the budget on the list of public questions. What happened to that? Can someone tell me if we and when we vote on the school budget? Or have we lost that right?

Lastly, you'll want to review the public questions on the sample ballot before you go to the polls.
  • Question 1 asks us to support a $750 million state bond initiative to provide matching grants to public and private colleges and universities in New Jersey to increase academic capacity in the state. The so-called "Building Our Future Bond Act" is well intentioned but directs public monies to private institutions over which the state has little if any control. Public institutions might support this initiative because they see dollar signs, but the taxpayers ought to think twice about sending money out to private schools. I'll be voting against.
  • Question 2 asks us to allow the state to withhold for benefits out of judges' salaries. The State Constitution includes protections for judges to keep the government from reducing incumbent judges' salaries, presumably to prevent retaliation against judges. The issue for voters is to decide whether the state is in any way retaliating against or punishing its judges by making them contribute to pensions and health insurance benefits. Even if you think our judges should bear these costs, you need to consider whether state officials are using this action in response to some judicial action or you will be overturning their constitutional protections. I'm personally unsure of the situation and will likely vote against unless convinced otherwise.
I encourage you to vote on November 6th. I especially urge the African-American and Latino communities of Aberdeen and Matawan to turn out on Election Day. There are Republicans in other states who have tried, some successfully, to keep blacks and Latinos from the polls by passing legislation establishing identification rules or reducing polling hours. Official literature and websites have been published with incorrect information about voting rules. Many of these efforts have been reversed by the courts, but confusion reigns. Make sure you know when and where you can vote. And vote. Exercise your rights and make a statement.


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