State Sen. Brian Stack: Jersey City should Vote NO on moving municipal elections
Union City Mayor Brian Stack, who also represents nearly half of Jersey City in the New Jersey Senate, is telling Jersey City Voters to reject moving municipal elections.
As voters across America elect our next president, Jersey City voters will have the opportunity to vote on both state and municipal ballot questions with long-term impacts. In specific, Jersey City Municipal Question 1 will ask voters whether or not they want to move non-partisan municipal elections from May to November:
Should the charter of the City of Jersey City, governed by Mayor-Council Form C, be amended as permitted under that plan, to provide for the holding of its regular, non-partisan municipal elections on the same date of the general election in November, pursuant to NJSA 40:69A34.1(b)?
In a recent “Open Letter on Jersey City’s Future”, State Sen. Brian Stack (D-33) – who represents most of The Heights and Journal Square, as well as parts of the Westside and Downtown – says city voters should reject moving municipal elections because it’s a “local quality of life” issue.
“Potentially moving the Municipal Election to November will make the ballot confusing with too many candidates and take emphasis away from the importance of selecting your Mayor and Council Member,” wrote Stack in the open letter.
“Your Mayor and Council Member have an immediate influence on your daily life by affecting local property taxes, education, public safety, roads and infrastructure, recreational programs and overall responsiveness from government.”
Of note, education policy in Jersey City is mostly controlled by the Jersey City Board of Education (JCBOE) – which had their election moved from April to November in 2012. In Union City, where Stack serves as mayor, board of education members are not elected, they are appointed by the mayor.
Generally speaking, advocates of moving municipal elections claim that the change will increase voter participation and save costs. Opponents claim the cost savings are insignificant compared to the value of preserving the once-every-four-years election, which are non-partisan, and will improperly mix county, state, and national elections with municipal issues.
Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop has long been a proponent of moving municipal elections to November, but has apparently cooled down recently on promoting the ballot question. Many political observers claimed moving the election would be beneficial to his gubernatorial ambitions, something Fulop’s denied, but is now irrelevant since he declined to run for governor.
Below is Stack’s open letter: