Featured image: Mount Laurel Mayor Republican Kurt Folcher
After several decades of Republican control of the Mount Laurel Town Council, the GOP received a rude awakening last year when two Democrats, a Generation Y political activist and an African-American law enforcement officer, upset their opponents to win seats on the Council.
Now, with a reinvigorated local Democratic party, the Republicans see the possibility of losing control of the Council in the next municipal election in 2020. And like their counterparts in places like Georgia and Florida, they are using voter suppression techniques in order to retain their power.
Two weeks ago, we wrote about their initiative to move the municipal election to May and change the system of government to a non-partisan election in order to hide their affiliation with a party of discrimination, dirty tricks, and bad ideas.
At last night’s meeting, the Republican mayor took the next step. Without consulting the council or putting it to a vote, Mayor Kurt Folcher directed the Town Solicitor to draft a ballot resolution to institutionalize voter suppression. If passed, the next municipal election would be non-partisan – meaning that the Republican members would not have to share a ballot with Donald Trump at the top. By doing this, they hope to distance themselves from the disgusting policies of the president of their party It would also allow them to move the elections to May – a time where voter turnout would be small, which given the demographics of the town, would favor the GOP.
Despite the fact that several citizens spoke out against this proposal at last night’s council meeting (and no one spoke in favor), it appears certain that the GOP majority will proceed along this path to try to cement their power and force the township’s taxpayers to bear the cost of an additional election cycle in May.
Here are the closing comments from the two Democrats opposing this measure. I expect that at the next Council meeting, where the ordinance will be first presented, will be interesting