Tag Archive: Voting

Christie and NJ’s Early Voting

promoted by Rosi

Hillary Clinton called out a number of states and Republican Governors, including New Jersey and Christie, for not having suitable early voting opportunities. Christie shot back in the Washington Post:

“In New Jersey, we have early voting that are (sic) available to people. I don’t want to expand it and increase the opportunities for fraud. Maybe that’s what Mrs. Clinton wants to do. I don’t know.”

The most obvious issue here is his dodge to the “voter fraud” canard, which is bunk. There have been almost no proven instances of voter fraud in New Jersey or the United States, and certainly nowhere near enough to turn even a local school board election. We don’t live in Scandal.

Voter fraud is a GOP canard intended to limit voting by putting barriers in front of certain voters, and strangely those voters are generally in a block that backs Democrats.  

What New Jersey has is not really early voting as Christie suggests, but excuse-free mail-in absentee balloting.  Any eligible voter can request a mail-in ballot for one election or for every election.  Their county election board will then mail out the requested absentee ballot, and the voter fills it out and mails it in.  

April 27, 1994 – Big day in voting history

Somewhere in my house, there’s a little, creased yellow Post-It note with words quickly scrawled on it in my handwriting. From 1994. It doesn’t really have a place; it doesn’t live in a desk drawer or file cabinet. Part of the reason is my sloppy housekeeping. Most of the reason is that every time I find it, I have to sit down and remember all over again one of the most incredible things I’ve ever seen on the news. Things I wrote down on the first little scrap I could get to, so I’d never forget.

Election Day April 27, 1994 South Africa

New Jersey History I Did Not Know: Thomas Mundy Peterson & the 15th Amendment to the Constitution

Every week I scan two sources for progressive U.S. history that touches on New Jersey. I highly recommend both. Zinn Education Project promotes the use of the late Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States and other materials – offering free, downloadable lessons and articles for middle and high school learning. And This Week in History, compiled by my old friend Carl Bunin of peacebuttons, proprietor of union-made progressive merch.

Thomas Mundy Peterson - NJThis is Thomas Mundy Peterson of Perth Amboy, New Jersey. And this, from Zinn Education Project, is NJ history I did not know:

On Mar. 30, 1870, the Fifteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was formally adopted. The following day, Thomas Mundy Peterson became the first African-American to participate in an election in a state where Blacks had not been allowed to vote before the 15th Amendment.

He participated in a local election in Perth Amboy, New Jersey. He later held political office and sat on a jury. Decades later in 1989, the school where Peterson had worked as a custodian was renamed after him. That school, the Thomas M. Peterson School, is now annexed to the city’s McGinnis Middle School. There’s a plaque outside the building on State Street honoring Peterson.

In 1884, the citizens of Perth Amboy raised $75 (over $1,000 in 2015 dollars) to buy a gold medallion for Peterson to honor him for his vote. He proudly wore the medal, which featured a clean-shaven profile of Abraham Lincoln, until financial difficulties forced him to sell it. The medal now resides at Xavier University in New Orleans.