Kelvin S. Ganges – candidate for Mercer County Representative in the Democratic State Committee
Views on our priority issues:
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: As a Mercer County Democrat, we have an open process for candidates seeking the endorsement of the party for public office. In Mercer County, the Democratic Committee holds conventions to select our ticket. Prospective candidates must work to secure the requisite amount of votes to secure the endorsement of the Democratic Committee. There is not a smoke filled room where the Democratic ticket is selected and advanced.
Therein, from my perspective as a lifelong Mercer County Democrat, I do not view the County line as an impediment to open, fair and competitive political activities. In other counties, the control of the county line might be handled differently, as it once was in the Mercer County Democratic Committee of the past. Today’s Mercer County Democrats seeking the endorsement of the Committee must commit themselves to the principles of the party, many hours of campaigning and meetings, and perseverance!
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).
Election Sanctity: In light of multiple county parties canceling county committee and county party leadership elections scheduled for 2020 through 2023, I will use all resources and take all steps necessary to ensure that any County Committee election in my party will proceed as scheduled without postponement or cancellation. Elections are the bedrock of our democracy, and they should be canceled only as an absolute last resort.
Unification and clarity of ballot access rules: The rules and requirements for candidates to gain access to the ballot are opaque and different from county to county, placing unnecessary hurdles in front of candidates for office. I will work to create a unified system of written rules that govern ballot access in all counties, and ensure that county committees abide by these rules.
Comment: Should be uniform statewide
Endorsements by county convention: I will work to revise the Party by-laws such that they require all county committees to determine endorsements by a secret ballot that is open to all county committee members. Democracy starts within the party, and elected county committee members should have a say on the direction of the party. #3783cb
Encouraging competition and debate: I will work to ensure that eligibility for endorsement is not predicated on promising to drop out of the race if not endorsed by the county committee. Competitive Primary races invigorate our democracy, bring important issues up for debate, and ensure that party members voting in Primary elections have a voice in electing their representatives. Parties should not be forcing candidates to drop out.
Transparency & Assistance: I will encourage and help anyone who is interested in running for office within my party by providing them guidance regarding deadlines and materials, and ensuring they have access to materials needed for campaigning (e.g., lists of voters in the party).
Candidate Information: I will work to ensure that names and contact emails of all candidates for office in my party are freely available online so that voters can contact candidates and find out about their platform, in line with Title 19, Section 23-7.
Accessibility of Candidates: I support requiring candidates running for office in my party to provide a campaign website, and will petition the party to create a page linking all candidates in my party to their respective websites, so that voters can easily find who is running to represent them, and what is their platform.
Redistricting: I support placing a nonpartisan commission in charge of the legislative redistricting process.
Comment: As it concerns redistricting, I support the concept of a nonpartisan commission to design new districts. My misgivings revolve around the unwillingness to the GOP to play fair in this process, as we are watching play out nationally. I am equally concerned about how the GOP will comport themselves in the process and if they will resist utilizing the redistricting process to gerrymander districts-particularly as it concerns suppressing, undermining or dismissing the voting strength of Black, Brown, young, urban and disaffected voters!
More information about Kelvin S. Ganges:
Party affiliation: Democratic party
Date of Birth: 7/17/1953
Current Occupation: Chief of Staff, County of Mercer
Education: BA, Trenton State College; and a MSW, Rutgers University
Public/party service: I have been involved in Mercer County politics for 47 years.