Here’s why we enthusiastically endorse Lauren Dayton for LD37 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: The NJ ballot system is the only ballot in the entire United States that awards the party line prior to all of the voters having a say on who should represent them, which should be after a fair and open primary process. As a candidate for The Real Bergen Democrats on ballot column line 2, I have found the process to get the “party line” biased, unfair and without transparency. There was not an open and transparent candidate vetting process. In January 2021, I spoke to the party chairman and requested to send my qualifications and credentials in for consideration for the Assembly seat; however, I was told that there already was a candidate for the party line on the open Assembly seat and that Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle would remain in the Assembly rather than run for Senate. Moreover, in March, after their “chosen” candidates dropped out of the race, the Bergen County Democratic Committee did not abide by their own deadlines and rules to award two Assembly candidates the “party line” on the eve of the Democratic Convention. It has been a closed, insider process to award the ballot line. The New Jersey ballot is uniquely and intentionally designed to purposefully maintain those already elected and to have only insiders choose who will be in power in our government, choices made by those not accountable to residents and voters. If elected, I will make it a priority to have transparent, fair and open elections to ensure that our government is representative and accountable to the residents.
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).
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.
Campaign funding: I support the public funding of campaigns for all state-level elected offices (i.e., the state legislature and gubernatorial elections).
Comment: Campaign finance and funding must be transparent to the voters so that any undue influence or appearance of impropriety is disclosed. Voters should know who is supporting the candidates and what funding the candidates are readily accepting.
Redistricting: I support placing a nonpartisan commission in charge of the legislative redistricting process.
Comment: The Apportionment Committee for redistricting is not representative of the State of New Jersey’s diverse population. Moreover, the redistricting process needs to ensure that districts have access to a variety of opinions, political parties and view to eliminate extremism in our government and be more responsive to the public on all sides. Redistricting should also ensure that voters have public transportation directly to local offices of their representatives. The members of the Apportionment Committee must not be allowed to pledge loyalty only to one political party or viewpoint as well.
Public Advocate: I support passing legislation to reinstate the statewide Office of the Public Advocate that was eliminated in 2010.
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: Government works best when there is transparency, open public records and public input.
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: Since the government is representative of its voters, it must be transparent and open to the public. Therefore, all meetings, not just select ones, should have public access and provide information and consideration for public comment.
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 representatives are capable of having simultaneous jobs, especially since these are not significantly high paying positions. However, all conflicts of interest and jobs must be disclosed to the public.
More information about Lauren Dayton:
Campaign website: http://www.laurendaytonforassembly.com
Social media: facebook: lauren dayton for assembly
Party affiliation: Democratic party
Date of Birth: 6/5/1978
Current Occupation: Councilwoman for Borough of Tenafly, NJ
Education: Cornell University – Major in Policy Analysis & Management;
Emory School of Law – Juris Doctorate in law
Public/party service: I have had the honor of representing Tenafly as Councilwoman and Council President. As Councilwoman, I am responsive to my residents and my community. I have initiated and drafted several ordinances to ensure equality, tolerance and safety in Tenafly. I established Tenafly’s first Pride Day, which has since become an annual event for our residents. I have governed to create improvements in green spaces, public parks and playgrounds, and recreation for our residents. I drafted and passed a Vacant Property Ordinance, ensuring that our downtown business district has revitalization, remains clean and safe, and has the landlords and tenants in touch with our Borough. I advocated for the environmental clean up of our Tenafly Nature Center property and pond, and I am the liason to the Northern Valley Greenway project to create a linear green space through six towns.