Here’s why we’re endorsing Les Engels for Democratic State Committee:
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: Absolutely. In my borough, Lindenwold, we have four candidates for council but they are spread throughout the ballot. Only two are in column one, one of the incumbents is in column six, and another progressive is in column five. It is just another way to confuse and water down the vote for anyone who opposes the party line.
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 no candidate is advantaged over other candidates on the basis of their ballot placement by enabling all candidates running for the same office to receive first and subsequent ballot positions an equal number of times (see http://ggcnj.org/resolution for more details).
Election Sanctity: In light of multiple county parties canceling county committee and county party leadership elections scheduled for 2020 through 2023, I will use all resources and take all steps necessary to ensure that any County Committee election in my party will proceed as scheduled without postponement or cancellation. Elections are the bedrock of our democracy, and they should be canceled only as an absolute last resort.
Unification and clarity of ballot access rules: The rules and requirements for candidates to gain access to the ballot are opaque and different from county to county, placing unnecessary hurdles in front of candidates for office. I will work to create a unified system of written rules that govern ballot access in all counties, and ensure that county committees abide by these rules.
Endorsements by county convention: I will work to revise the Party by-laws such that they require all county committees to determine endorsements by a secret ballot that is open to all county committee members. Democracy starts within the party, and elected county committee members should have a say on the direction of the party. #3783cb
Encouraging competition and debate: I will work to ensure that eligibility for endorsement is not predicated on promising to drop out of the race if not endorsed by the county committee. Competitive Primary races invigorate our democracy, bring important issues up for debate, and ensure that party members voting in Primary elections have a voice in electing their representatives. Parties should not be forcing candidates to drop out.
Transparency & Assistance: I will encourage and help anyone who is interested in running for office within my party by providing them guidance regarding deadlines and materials, and ensuring they have access to materials needed for campaigning (e.g., lists of voters in the party).
Comment: Running for office is a right and the only way to keep government fresh is to have people with new ideas and new energy in office.
Candidate Information: I will work to ensure that names and contact emails of all candidates for office in my party are freely available online so that voters can contact candidates and find out about their platform, in line with Title 19, Section 23-7.
Comment: Yes, we represent the people and should be available to the people to know what issues concern them and to see if ethos and philosophy gels with the thinking of the people that I’m running to speak for.
Accessibility of Candidates: I support requiring candidates running for office in my party to provide a campaign website, and will petition the party to create a page linking all candidates in my party to their respective websites, so that voters can easily find who is running to represent them, and what is their platform.
Comment: This is an absolute must. In today’s world we need to know who we are asking to speak for us and we need to have the ability to make an educated vote. Bad government thrives on an uneducated constituency.
Redistricting: I support placing a nonpartisan commission in charge of the legislative redistricting process.
More information about Les Engels:
Campaign website: https://southjerseyprogressivedemocratsforstatecommittee.org/
Social media: Twitter Facebook
Party affiliation: Democratic party
Date of Birth: 12/3/1976
Current Occupation: Writer
Education: BFA Temple University currently in school for Environmental Science
Public/party service: Environmental Commissioner Borough of Lindenwold, Director Arboretum at UUCCH, Community Organizer