Here’s why we’re endorsing David Stahl for Democratic State Committee:
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: Competitive primaries are important to a functional democracy, and doubly so in Camden County where the Democratic party has a monopoly on county level positions
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: Random selection of placement provides some slight advantage to the candidate selected for the top position (since we read top to bottom, we are naturally drawn to the first in a list), but spreading the wealth of the top position/ other positions throughout the county’s wards allows for fair elections in the aggregate.
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.
Comment: The possibility of voting by mail undercuts reasoning for delaying elections
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: Especially with the party line rules of Camden County, building a full slate of candidates is a herculean task. Even this year, the mayoral candidate in Camden is in the same column as their competition, away from the unelected incumbent, and separate from candidates for other office with the same slogan. This discourages participation and erodes the fabric of democracy.
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
Comment: We elect our committee members. Voting for endorsements by secret allows committee members to vote for what they would find best for the direction of the party without the fear of retribution from party leaders/ outside influencers.
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.
Comment: The people should choose their representatives, rather than party insiders. Competition is healthy!
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).
Comment: The party should be encouraging participation, instead of actively stifling it.
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.
Comment: Public servants should be accessible to the people they serve.
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.
Comment: Obtaining and maintaining a website could be difficult for those without the means or know-how. If a Facebook page or some other page on a free social media platform is acceptable as a “campaign website” then yes.
Redistricting: I support placing a nonpartisan commission in charge of the legislative redistricting process.
Comment: Gerrymandering disenfranchises voters by forcing them into heavily partisan districts. Politicians should earn the votes of their constituents, and the shape/political demographics of the district they serve should not make that easier.
More information about David Stahl:
Campaign website: https://southjerseyprogressivedemocratsforstatecommittee.org/
Social media: Twitter Facebook
Party affiliation: Democratic party
Date of Birth: 9/24/1982
Current Occupation: Data analyst / data visualization developer
Education: BA Theatre, MS Business Analytics
Public/party service: Steering committee member of South Jersey Progressive Democrats
2019 candidate for Camden County committee in Cherry Hill