Here’s why we enthusiastically endorse Dan Benson for LD14 Assembly:
The “County Line” in primary election ballots: Being placed in a preferential ballot position unfairly benefits some candidates and disadvantages others. Recognizing the outsize influence of the “county line” primary election ballots on the outcomes of elections, and the considerable voter confusion that they cause, I will support changing the NJ primary ballot to an “Office Bloc” design as is used in every other state and in some counties in NJ (see http://ggcnj.org/resolution for more information).
Comment: I support the idea of the more simple office bloc design, but I think the transition to this design should provide in the short term to have some role for county parties and county committee as long as they follow open rules like Mercer County, to allow for some sort of endorsed designation on ballot or order within the Office Bloc. This may be temporary as people and parties become more familiar with the change to the new design in New Jersey, and any issues are identified that may hold back less established candidates.
Ballot Order: Following best practices in 16 states, I will support implementing a rotational ballot order system that ensures to the greatest extent possible that all candidates running for the same office receive the first and subsequent ballot positions in an equal number of election districts and no candidate is advantaged over other candidates on the basis of their ballot placement (see http://ggcnj.org/resolution for more details).
Comment: I think this works only if in combination with the office bloc design, and after we have implemented rank choice voting. I do think this also requires a change to paper ballots that are scanned, so that such ballots can be printed easily for voters
Voter access: I support adopting parts of H.R.1 in New Jersey in order to increase voter participation, ensure access to the ballot box, and strengthen elections, including specifically same day registration, early voting and a paper trail for machine voting that enables verification.
Ethics reform: I support ethics reforms that would require broader disclosure of financial information and the release of income taxes by candidates for county-level and state-level public office, as a means of transparency.
Comment: Regarding Income taxes, some forms or attachments may need to be allowed to be redacted or a summary of certain lines and dollar amounts should be allowed instead. This can be because of disclosure of medical deductions, adoption credits, and other information that may have sensitive implications. But I think these issues can be easily addressed with some forethought.
Campaign funding: I support the public funding of campaigns for all state-level elected offices (i.e., the state legislature and gubernatorial elections).
Comment: The 14th once was part of the public financing pilot project and showed that it could be done successfully..
Redistricting: I support placing a nonpartisan commission in charge of the legislative redistricting process.
Comment: Non-partisan commissions, much like tie-breakers, are not always as independent as designed. I’m open to seeing this change with stricter guidelines to the rules they use (compactness, communities of interest, stability of districts, and other considerations that can be used).
Public Advocate: I support passing legislation to reinstate the statewide Office of the Public Advocate that was eliminated in 2010.
Comment: This is very much needed.
Posting of bills: I support requiring bills to be posted a minimum of 72hrs prior to voting in the legislature, to allow legislators to read bills thoroughly and obtain feedback from the public.
Comment: I think there should be some exceptions, but generally yes, this is good practice
Legislative meetings: I support making all committee meetings accessible to the public for attendance and testimony by online means (e.g., via zoom) and streaming of voting sessions even after COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, to increase availability and transparency of government.
Comment: There may still need to be limits on length of time per speaker and length of time for each meeting, for practical purposes, but yes I hope to see the greater engagement continue post covid 19.
Full time legislature: I support making the state legislature full-time and prohibiting the simultaneous holding of other paid positions, so as to eliminate conflicts of interest and sources of influence and pressure on state legislators.
Comment: I think we should make it optional, but not allow multiple public paid positions (similar to eliminating dual office holding) which provides most of the conflicts or sources of influence.
More information about Daniel Benson:
Date of Birth: 11/22/1975
Current Occupation: NJ Assemblyman/Telecom & Energy Consultant
Education: B.S. Physics and Government, Georgetown, MPP Science and Technology Policy Rutgers, Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy
Public/party service: Hamilton Councilman 2002-2005, Mercer County Commissioner 2008-2011, NJ Assemblyman 2011-present