Here’s why we enthusiastically endorse Elizabeth Graner for LD21 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: Whereas I believe the County party organization should maintain the right to endorse candidates, I am open to investigating this further, especially as NJ is the only state does not use the “Office Bloc” design.
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 believe this will increase equity for all candidates.
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.
Comment: Early voting and vote by mail saved our Democracy in 2020. We should absolutely expand voting access to ensure equity in the process.
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: I think this is a good idea, as it increases government transparency. Representatives at every level should be open about their financial dealings.
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 current model unfairly benefits candidates who are wealthy and/or who have wealthy supporters. I’m a schoolteacher and single mother running for office for the first time. As in many other areas, we need to level the playing field.
Redistricting: I support placing a nonpartisan commission in charge of the legislative redistricting process.
Comment: LD-21 has been shamelessly gerrymandered to include affluent, GOP-leaning communities (though it is changing yearly). I would support this as long as we can ensure that the legislative district in which I am seeking office does not become more so.
Public Advocate: I support passing legislation to reinstate the statewide Office of the Public Advocate that was eliminated in 2010.
Comment: Eliminating this position was the first of many of Chris Christie’s countless missteps as Governor. NJ needs a Public Advocate, specifically in light of the many horrific things we have seen of late — including nursing-home deaths at the height of the pandemic and the abuses at the Edna Mahan Correctional Facility. We need to protect our most vulnerable citizens.
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: This will increase government transparency — feedback from the public is essential to the legislative process. Our legislators represent citizens, so NJ should absolutely allow constituents to weigh in on the matters that directly impact their everyday lives.
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: This is an excellent idea, in that it improves government transparency and creates the opportunity for more citizen involvement in the legislative process.
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 say this as a public educator — the current model in which holding office in the State Legislature is a part-time position seems to only allow for a particular demographic of professional (or someone with significant wealth) to serve. When I first entertained the idea of running, the only thing holding me back was the possibility of having to leave my job or go part time. This would create a financial hardship for me, and I am certain that it is one of the reasons why you don’t see more “regular” citizens running for this particular office.
More information about Elizabeth Graner:
Date of Birth: 5/25/1970
Current Occupation: Teacher
Education: Master of Arts in Teaching, Marygrove College
Bachelor of Arts in English, Saint Mary’s College, Notre Dame, Indiana
Public/party service: Longtime volunteer for Democratic organizations and various environmental concerns. Current chair of the Bernards Township Democratic Committee.