Here’s why we enthusiastically endorse Mico Lucide for Atlantic County Clerk:
Primary Election Ballot Design: I am committed to taking all steps necessary to eliminate bracketing, the county line, and any form of ballot design that is based on endorsements. I am committed to designing the ballot by listing the office sought, immediately followed by all candidates running for that office (“Office Bloc” design), as all other states and some counties in New Jersey practice (see http://ggcnj.org/resolution for more details).
Comment: It is a core part of my platform to give the people of Atlantic County a fair and transparent ballot design that gives all candidates equal access to the eyes of the voters. This change will give us a ballot design that is easier for voters to understand, fairer to candidates, and should increase trust and confidence in the fairness of our Primary and General elections.
Ballot Order: Following best practices in 16 states, I will implement 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: As it stands, Title 19 has pretty rigid standards for candidate order based on random drawing. I would champion the effort to change this standard in my role as Clerk. In a personal capacity, I would push my representatives in the state legislature to pass legislation that would allow for, encourage, or mandate rotational ballot ordering for candidates to increase fairness in our ballots.
Election Sanctity: I will use all resources and take all steps necessary to ensure that any election, including County Committee elections, will be prepared to proceed as scheduled without postponement or cancellation so that there will be no need to cancel an election for reasons of convenience or administrative burdens. Elections are the bedrock of our democracy, and they should be canceled only as an absolute last resort.
Comment: It is not in the benefit of our voters, nor our democracy, to change the rules of engagement. I support the idea of any changes in County Committee election schedules being locked until the next successive County Committee election. That is to say, if you change the schedule of County Committee elections, the new schedule will not come into play until after the next relevant County Committee election.
This brings up an important point. The reason County Committees gave for changing their schedule during the pandemic was due to the risks associated with signature collection to run. The state should establish a more accessible and safe method of signature collection for candidate petitions to avoid any similar risk occurring in the future.
Voter Participation: I will support measures to increase voter participation (eg. same-day registration, early voting) by using all resources and taking all steps necessary to ensure that such measures can be implemented efficiently and effectively.
In my capacity as County Clerk, I will be visible and present in our communities, actively providing information, resources, and tools to our voters to ensure they are comfortable and confident participating in our elections. In a personal capacity, I intend to vocally and enthusiastically support legislative efforts to increase access for voters to participate in our elections. I will further seek to ensure that these changes are accompanied by any necessary funds to implement them
Sample Ballots: Voters deserve a chance to familiarize themselves with the ballot structure and the candidates on the ballot. I will support making sample ballots available online on the county clerk website no later than 30 days before an election.
Comment: In my role as County Clerk, I will ensure that the County Clerk’s website has thorough, digestible, and clear information available for voters. This includes ensuring information about our elections is always treated as urgent; as soon as all appropriate legislative deadlines have passed regarding ballot placement drawing and bracketing, assuming bracketing is still legislatively required to be allowed, the Sample Ballots must be generated and posted within 24 hours to the County Clerk’s website. Further, via social media and other available resources to the County Clerk, I will make sure the public is aware that the Sample Ballots are available.
Prepaid Postage: Poll taxes are antithetical to democracy, anyone who chooses to cast their ballot, or register to vote, should be able to do so without spending money. I will support pre-paid postage for Vote-by-Mail Ballots and voter registration forms
Comment: Requiring postage on anything related to voting provides additional barriers to exercising one’s right to vote. Yes, a stamp is only 55 cents, however you typically would need to buy a book of stamps, which would be a minimum of $11; you would also need a ride to a post office and potentially need time off from work in order to get to the post office during business hours. These barriers do equate to a modern-day poll tax.
There should be no barrier between a voter and their ability to cast their vote. I would pursue whatever options were available to address this issue for the voters of Atlantic County at the local level, and in a personal capacity advocate for the state legislature to allocate funds to enable County Clerks to remove that barrier for voters.
Transparency & Assistance: I will encourage and help anyone who is interested in running for office by providing them guidance regarding deadlines and materials such as petitions to run. I will pre-check petitions submitted at least one week before the deadline for initial compliance, notify petitioners of errors, and will utilize best efforts to pre-check petitions even if they are submitted closer to the deadline.
Comment: In everything I do, I try to be a resource for people. My goal would be to offer as much assistance as possible for candidates to ensure they do not suffer losing ballot access based on simple, reparable errors. I would make information for candidates available and easily accessible through the County Clerk’s website and the Office itself. I would ensure that compliance criteria is clear on the website, and have a process for Candidates to have a sort of onboarding meeting, to ensure they have all of the information they need prior to beginning their efforts.
Ballot Access: I will strive to provide equal and fair ballot access to all those who want to participate in the democratic process. In particular, I will exercise all discretion in my power to ensure that no petition signature is rejected unless it is entirely clear that the law would not permit such signature to be counted, and that petitions are not rejected due to technicalities or other arbitrary factors, with the overall goal of minimizing the rejection of petitions to run for office.
Comment: I would do my best as County Clerk to ensure that candidates have full access to compliance information prior to beginning their run. Compliance with the law is vital to ensuring our Democracy is fair, and so all candidates must have a clear understanding of what will disqualify a signature to reduce the risk of a signature being rejected.
Candidate Information: I will ensure that names and contact emails of all elected officials and candidates for office 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: One of my goals as County Clerk is to ensure government accountability. Ensuring that all elected officials have easily findable contact information is paramount to this goal. Any candidates that submit their petition through the County Clerk’s office will be informed of their expectations under Title 19:23-7 upon submission of their petition.
Accessibility of Candidates: I will require candidates running for office to provide a personal or campaign email for which they are directly responsible, not a general party email, so that candidates can be contacted by voters interested in information about their campaign.
Comment: It is required that an email be submitted under Title 19:23-7, and I will make such an email address publicly accessible for voters to contact campaigns. I would ensure that the relevant petition on which the email address is required includes language that makes clear the preference for an email for which someone is directly responsible.
More information about Mico Lucide:
Date of Birth: 6/28/1991
Current Occupation: Technical Support Specialist
Education: BA Political Science, Pre-Law Studies