Here’s why we’re endorsing Linda Rubiano 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: The ballot line has contributed to lower voter turnout. This is an undemocratic practice in NJ that has contributed to voter disenfranchisement. Democracy requires civic participation by all its residents. When party bosses pick candidates and push away challenger candidates they are essentially shutting down dissenting voices. This is voter suppression.
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).
Comment: A fair ballot contributes to more candidates with different ideas and better discourse. Voters get to discuss different issues that affect the community.
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.
Comment: Since we have Vote by Mail there is no reason to cancel elections. This is an underhanded way for incumbents to keep power and another voter suppression tactic.
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.
Comment: The rules for candidates to gain access to the ballot have to be uniform and well documented online. Candidates should not have to jump through hoops just to get this information. These rules should be inclusive and readily available in different languages to represent our diverse communities.
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.
Comment: Elected county committee members should drive the direction of the party platform and not just the party bosses. County conventions should be set up to allow for every vote to be counted.
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.
Comment: No one should be forced to drop out. This is coercion and again suppressing dissenting voices within the party. Democracy to flourish requires competition and debate. Without this there is no progress.
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: Anyone who wants to run for office should be welcome and given guidance and information. The information for candidates to get on the ballot and materials for campaigning should be uniform and in a central location available in different languages.
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: All candidates running for public office should have an office telephone number and email address where voters can go to get clarity on issues. Phantom candidates who have no contact information should never be allowed. This is another underhanded tactic for voter suppression.
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: All candidates should have a website where their platform is clearly outlined. This information should be available on a State party website so all voters can see all the candidates in one place and all the information easily available so that voters can make a decision at the polls.
Redistricting: I support placing a nonpartisan commission in charge of the legislative redistricting process.
Comment: The redistricting process should not be up to party bosses. This process would benefit from a non-partisan commission.
More information about Linda Rubiano:
Current Occupation: BA Political Science and International Studies
Public/party service: Political Chair – Sierra Club West Jersey Group; Steering Committee member – South Jersey Progressive Democrats; Member of Pennsauken Township Environmental Committee