Here’s what Andrew Pachuta said about our 10 priorities:
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: I support transitioning the current ballot structure to one using a “bloc” design to make it easier for voters to understand which candidates are running for which offices.
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: There are candidate conventions through which candidates are endorsed by the parties. I do believe this should hold some weight, which in a “bloc” design could mean having their name appear first.
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: I support efforts to expand voting including a paper trails for electronic voting, and extended poll hours. I support same day registration with verification of identity, residence, and confirmation that the individual has not already voted that day. I do not support expanded early voting as it leads to asymmetrical information, voters who vote early miss crucial breaking news late in the campaigns.
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: Candidates for state level office already do have to disclose where they earn their income. I am more concerned with the tax returns of individuals serving in office than of those who are running.
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 taxpayers of New Jersey pay for enough, we do not need to add candidate campaigns to that list.
Redistricting: I support placing a nonpartisan commission in charge of the legislative redistricting process.
Comment: The idea of a non-partisan commission to determine redistricting sounds like a great idea but controls would be needed to ensure the process ran as intended. It is worth noting the current system in NJ is bipartisan, which is ultimately what we should strive for in government.
Public Advocate: I support passing legislation to reinstate the statewide Office of the Public Advocate that was eliminated in 2010.
Comment: The job of elected officials is to advocate for their constituents. They should be doing their jobs, not attempting to bring back a now defunct department to do it for them.
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: In addition to being posted online, bills should have an accompanying version explaining the bill at an 8th grade reading level to ensure both voters and politicians can understand what they are reading.
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.
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: Holding office is meant to be a public service, not a career. If anything we should be looking to cut politician pay not trying to find ways to increase it. We should also implement term limits.
More information about Andrew Pachuta:
Date of Birth: 4/28/1988
Current Occupation: Consultant
Education: BSBA – Economics, Rider University; MBA – Strategic Management, Villanova University