Here’s why we enthusiastically endorse Chris Fistonich for LD16 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: The county line is an unnecessary barrier to new and “outsider” candidates.
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: Random ballot order ensures that the “first position effect” is neutralized.
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: Increasing voter participation is a must, and same day registration, expanded VBM, early voting, and machine paper trails are how we get there.
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: Completely agree.
Campaign funding: I support the public funding of campaigns for all state-level elected offices (i.e., the state legislature and gubernatorial elections).
Comment: Completely agree. You should not be able to buy an election.
Redistricting: I support placing a nonpartisan commission in charge of the legislative redistricting process.
Comment: Enthusiastic yes. Other states are ahead of the curve here.
Public Advocate: I support passing legislation to reinstate the statewide Office of the Public Advocate that was eliminated in 2010.
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: I would like the period to be even longer (a week).
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: Yes! Transparency is key.
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: Yes. Running and winning is a barrier to access for lower and middle income individuals who cannot quit their jobs in order to work in the legislature.
More information about Chris Fistonich:
Date of Birth: 1/9/1991
Current Occupation: Scientist, professor, cybersecurity researcher, opera singer.
Education: Ph.D., Immunobiology (Yale University)
B.S., Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics (University of California, Los Angeles)
Public/party service: I am an ardent supporter of voting rights and of Democratic candidates up and down the ballot who share that support. I co-lead VoteDEM, an online organization dedicated to electing and fundraising for candidates who believe in good governance. To date we have raised nearly two million dollars. I am involved locally in Princeton. I serve on the Princeton Democratic Municipal Commitee, I am on the Executive Board of the Princeton Community Democratic Organization, and I have worked on numerous successful local campaigns. I am passionate about expanding voting rights and maximizing voter participation in our state and nationwide.