Author Archive: danpreston

NJ Small Businesses Say Raise the Minimum Wage!

promoted by Rosi

Big business lobbies try to scare voters into believing that all business opposes increasing the minimum wage, and that it would cost jobs. But many small business owners actually support increasing the wage, because it would boost the economy by putting money into the pockets of workers who need it the most and who will turn around and spend it right away. Plus, of course, it’s the right thing to do, and most small business owners care about their employees and don’t try to exploit them.

As a small business owner myself (Telequest, a producer of documentary films) and a member of NJ Main Street Alliance (a project of NJ Citizen Action), I produced this web ad featuring NJ small business owners who urge voters to vote YES on ballot issue #2 on November 5 to increase NJ’s minimum wage to 8.25 with annual cost-of-living increases in the future:

View the video on YouTube

Please share widely especially with any folks in NJ!

Filling U.S. Senate Vacancies by Election in NJ

Promoted by Rosi Efthim

In 1913, the 17th amendment to the U.S. Constitution finally gave the citizens of the country the right to elect their U.S. Senators. But it left a gaping loophole when Senate seats are vacated, allowing state legislatures to determine how to fill them – unlike House vacancies, which must be filled by election. A few states require elections by statute. Most others allow the governor to single-handedly pick the replacement, including New Jersey.

This year, as Senators have resigned to join the Obama administration, governors have chosen replacements in Illinois, New York, Colorado and Delaware – and New Hampshire will soon join the list. In several of these cases, besides being undemocratic, the process has not been a pretty sight.

Senator Russ Feingold has introduced a constitutional amendment to fill Senate vacancies by election. That will take a 2/3rds vote of both houses of Congress and ratification by 3/4ths of the state. But each state is free to make the fix on its own. Any support for passing a statute in NJ to require filling U.S. Senate vacancies by popular election?

Truckers for Obama: Volunteer-created ad

A contrast ad with no scary voiceovers … instead, some adapted film noir that transitions to a happier land, represented by the open spaces of Mercer County, New Jersey … inhabited by Betsy the yellow 1952 Chevy pickup truck.

Updated with a new opening title and a tag line that urges viewers to “Grab the wheel. Choose a new direction. VOTE November 4th.”

Obama video: Road to VoteForChange

After 8 long years on a road to nowhere … it’s time to change direction.

High-quality version is also available.

The video ends by urging viewers to “Grab the wheel. Register to vote at“.

I’ll update the ending in a few weeks after the voter reg deadlines have mostly passed, simply urging viewers to vote on November 4th.

Made in New Jersey, in the beautiful open spaces of Mercer County. BTW, the yellow truck is a 1952 Chevy pickup named Betsy.

Cross-posted on DailyKos.

Voting on Feb 5 – Easy As Pie

In a previous post, I noted the needless confusion and outright misinformation about who can vote in NJ’s February 5th Presidential Primary. The correct answer is that upwards of 99.95 percent of citizens who were registered to vote as of January 15, 2008 CAN vote, whether they’re already members of the Democratic or Republican parties (about 40 percent of voters) – or if they are currently “unaffiliated” (not members of any party, about 60 percent of all voters). The only exceptions are registered members of the Green, Libertarian or a few other alternative parties, which combined represent a tiny fraction of a percent of the electorate.

So what will happen when you, the voter, walk into your regular polling place on February 5th? What if you’re not already a Democrat or a Republican? If you are currently unaffiliated, what hoops will you have to jump through to “declare” a party affiliation? To find out, I decided to attend a poll worker training class held this evening in Hopewell Township, conducted by the Mercer County Board of Elections.

Short answer: It’s pretty much like voting in any other election. You go to your usual polling location. The poll workers look in the poll book where you sign in to see if there’s a “DEM” or “REP” printed above the block where you sign. If so, DEMs get to vote the Democratic ballot; REPs get to vote the Republican ballot.

If the space for your party affiliation is blank, they simply ask you: Democrat or Republican? You answer with one or the other. They fill in the blank. You vote accordingly.

That’s it. No fuss. No bother. No forms to fill out. You vote. And then you leave, knowing that you’ve taken part in the first Presidential Primary Election ever where NJ voters had a real say in the outcome.

NJ Unaffiliated voters CAN vote in the Feb 5 primary

Promoted from the diaries — Juan

I keep hearing misinformation about the eligibility of unaffiliated voters to vote in the NJ Presidential Primary on February 5. So I looked for a clear and authoritative statement on the subject.

I found this press release from the NJ Office of the Attorney General, the ultimate authority in these matters. Here’s the money quote:

New Jersey?s primary election law allows unaffiliated voters ? those registered voters who never affiliated with the Republican or Democratic parties — to choose a party on Primary Day and vote in the primary. However, voters already registered as Democrats can only vote in the Democratic primary; similarly, voters already registered as Republicans can only vote in the GOP primary. Cross-over voting is not allowed. The deadline for switching party affiliations was December 17.

There were almost 4.8 million people registered to vote before the Nov. 6, 2007 general election, including 1,164,504 Democrats, 874,457 Republicans and 2,756,759 unaffiliated voters.

So all an unaffiliated voter needs to do is – GO TO THE POLLS ON FEB 5. It’s that simple.

The voter statistics underscore how major this is: Only about 24 percent of voters statewide are Dems, and about 18 percent are Repubs. The rest – about 58 percent – are “unaffiliated.” So any news organization or other source that gets this wrong is doing a huge disservice to a vast majority of NJ voters.

So … please pass the above info along to anyone who needs it  – especially reporters or others in a position to [mis]inform voters!

And … I’d really like to know if you hear/see/read inaccurate stories anywhere in the media.

“Before You Enlist!” movie now available to view

“Before You Enlist!” is a 15-minute film that provides “the real deal on joining the military” as told by veterans from Iraq to Vietnam, their family members and other young people who’ve dealt with recruiters. Produced by Telequest of Princeton NJ with support from the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), Veterans For Peace, the Coalition for Peace Action, the Puffin Foundation and others, it is ready for viewing (and download) via YouTube, Google Video and at

Princeton Township Dems Seeking Candidates

Juan suggested that I post this (below the fold – what we’re doing in Princeton Township to recruit local candidates) … I suppose because we’re trying our best to open up the process. How candidates emerge does remain a mystery up and down the ticket. My belief is that opening the doors, turning the lights on  and inviting the folks in is a good way to strengthen the Party and democracy generally.

How’s it done in other towns? Something even more open? Or a few insiders behind closed doors? Would love to hear.