“On top of ensuring a fair and democratic ballot, safety and security in our record keeping and our election processes are the other areas that must be re-examined. Especially in the wake of the Corona virus. With your help we will bring a fair ballot to Union County along with an attention to safety and security that is demanded by the challenges of our time.”https://union.njprogressives.com/seansmith
Here’s why we enthusiastically endorse Sean Smith for Union County Clerk:
Ballot design: I am committed to taking all steps necessary to eliminate bracketing, the county line, and any form of ballot based on a line. I am committed to designing the ballot by listing the office sought, immediately followed by all candidates running for that office, as do all other states and some counties in New Jersey.
Comment: As a candidate for County Clerk ballot reform is most of my platform. Together we will abolish the line and bring real democracy to New Jersey.
Ballot Order: I am committed to implementing a ballot draw and ballot placement system that ensures that all candidates running for the same office have an equal opportunity to obtain the first ballot position.
Comment: Again the current the ballot is completely un-democratic and once elected I will reformat our ballot so that candidates are grouped by office and are ordered randomly.
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.
Comment: More people voting makes our democracy stronger. I will do everything possible to increase voter registration and participation.
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: They should be available even sooner than that. The Union County Clerk’s website clearly states that VBM ballots would be available no less than 45 days before the election. If VBM ballots are ready to go 45 days before the election (as they were not this year) then they can also be made available online.
Vote by mail: I will support vote-by-mail for everyone in an emergency/pandemic by using all resources and taking all steps necessary to ensure that such measures can be implemented efficiently and effectively.
Comment: The easiest, safest and most secure way we can vote is by VBM. Once elected I will do whatever possible to make it even easier. And to include Unaffiliated voters as well.
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 therefore support pre-paid postage for VBM and voter registration forms.
Comment: You said it all in the lead-in. Poll taxes are antithetical to democracy. Asking voters to pay for postage is akin to a poll tax.
Election sanctity: I will use all resources and take all steps necessary to ensure that any election (including county committee) 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: I believe implementing an all-VBM election is one way to help safeguard against postponements and/or cancellations.
Transparency & assistance: I will encourage and help anyone who is interested in running for office by providing them materials (petitions to run etc.) and guidance regarding deadlines. I will pre-check petitions submitted at least one week before the deadline for initial compliance and notify petitioners of errors, and will utilize best efforts to pre-check petitions even if they are submitted closer to the deadline.
Comment: More voices at the table equals a stronger democracy. I will do everything in my power to encourage and assist community members who wish to run for office. One of the best ways to help with this is to abolish the line and abolishing the line is my main campaign promise.
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: Accessibility of candidates helps to ensure accountability. So I absolutely support this proposal.
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 rejection of petitions to run for office.
Comment: The practice of throwing out signatures over minor infractions is something that shouldn’t be happening. Abolishing the line is only step one in the process of opening up our elections. Fair and equal ballot access will combine with a new ballot format to bring about opportunities for those wishing to seek public office.
More information about Sean Smith:
Education: After graduating high school I attended a couple of years of college before deciding on a career in the culinary field. From there I went to the Culinary Institute of America and a career as a professional chef.
Current Occupation: Small business owner.
Public/party service: I have been volunteering on progressive political campaigns since 2015 with Bernie. I worked on the Peter Jacob campaign for Congress in 2016 and 2018 and helped out with John Wisniewski for Governor in 2017. In 2019 I decided to run for County Committee and, after knocking on every door in my district, I won. I was back at it with national politics in 2020 with the Bernie campaign and now have shifted completely back to the local and county level in my effort to seek the office of Union County Clerk.