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Voice of the People, June 4, 2021

Voice of the People, June 4, 2021

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Lucide seeks nomination for county clerk

The Democratic primary for governor is uncontested, yet there is a substantial effort to get out the vote for his entire column.

Why would an uncontested race warrant such a campaign for votes? Because New Jersey’s ballot design unfairly brackets candidates together in a way that I think is improper and favors some candidates.

It makes sense for candidates to endorse each other and to campaign together. It does not make sense for candidates to determine how ballots are structured. In New Jersey, you cannot campaign within 100 feet of a polling place, yet ballot design allows candidates to visibly align themselves in a way that delivers an advantage at the polls.

Aside from being difficult to read, ballot design may disenfranchise voters. In the 2020 Democratic Primary, Cory Booker bracketed in Column C, leaving a blank space on the county line that resulted in an 18% lower vote for the Senate race. In Mercer County, this bad ballot design caused even more damage when two candidates appeared together on the county line due to a technicality in the endorsement process that led 33% of voters to accidentally select both candidates.

New Jersey is the only state that uses this ballot design. Look at other states’ ballots to see how unnecessarily confusing it is to vote here.

Many times voters have asked me if they can vote for candidates in different columns. People have been so conditioned to vote the line that many are now subconsciously suppressed by it.

We can have a better ballot here in Atlantic County because two other counties in New Jersey have already changed their ballot design. We cannot ignore this drastic flaw in our democracy any longer. Elections should be decided by each candidate’s efforts to reach the voters, not by where they appear on the ballot.

I am running for Atlantic County clerk to give voters a better ballot, fairer elections and a government that is accountable to the people.

Mico Lucide Mays Landing

Against Fitzpatrick Assembly nomination

I recently called into the Atlantic County Commissioners meeting to hear the discussion of a resolution calling on Gov. Murphy to fully reopen convention and meeting venues. I support this effort 100% and am glad it was passed. Murphy has destroyed too many businesses and livelihoods with his one-size-fits-all shutdown. Summer is almost here and it’s time to reopen.

However, I found it hard to believe that Commissioner Caren Fitzpatrick, who sponsored the resolution but has continued to stand by Murphy (even refusing to call “wrong” the same executive orders her action seeks to stop), would challenge the governor in any way unless some other things were at play.

The first thing I learned during the meeting is that Fitzpatrick works for Meet AC. It’s important to know because her income depends on conventions being fully open.

Now I understand.

Fitzpatrick was asked about this obvious conflict of interest, and she tried to explain it away with a confused metaphor about veterans advocating for veterans’ issues. Not only did she seek to serve herself using her public office, but she decided to use veterans as cover for her own mistakes.

Before the vote, Commissioner Maureen Kern asked legal counsel if she should recuse herself since she also works in the industry. Counsel urged her to err on the side of caution, and Kern took the high road and abstained. Caren Fitzpatrick? I guess the rules don’t apply to her. She decided to ignore counsel, plod ahead, and seal her self-dealing in red ink.

But why push for this at the county level? It’s clear to everyone that this is Trenton’s and Murphy’s lockdown. Murphy has already endorsed Fitzpatrick in her bid for higher office, so she could just as easily call and ask him to reverse course. But actually making something happen is a whole lot harder than using your county office as a stage for a political stunt.

Fitzpatrick said her resolution would remind the governor, don’t forget about us. Fitzpatrick certainly won’t forget to look after Caren Fitzpatrick’s bottom line.

Annette Villari Ventnor

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