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Election Officials Worry About New Jersey’s Vote-by-mail Primary

NJTV Online's Brenda Flanagan reports

“Our votes were not counted. My vote, my wife and our two sons.” Assemblyman Benjie Wimberly lives in Paterson where the May 12th VBM, or vote-by-mail, election is now under investigation by state and federal authorities. He says, 3,200 votes, including his, got rejected by the Board of Elections. “I was furious. One was, I had concerns about the VBM process due to COVID-19. The postal system system really wasn’t working due to the shortage of workers.”

One losing candidate recently filed a lawsuit alleging fraud but as 6.1 million New Jersey residents prepare to cast vote-by-mail ballots in the July 7th primary Wimberly pointed out vote-by-mail challenges can arise in densely-populated cities with mail carriers overwhelmed by thousands of ballots. “Under one case, they went to a development and dropped all the VBMs by the mailbox – so basically they had to sort them out and get them to people.”

Reparations Are Good For Everyone

“Negro George” lived in Morris County and his life was worth $300.

That is according to the New Jersey residents who bought and sold him multiple times between 1806 and 1808 and neatly recorded his name and price in a sales contract now in the collection of the New Jersey Historical Society.

What was his actual name? How old was he? What kind of labor was he forced to do? From whom in his family was he separated? The contract provided no answers. One thing that is clear: George, like the other enslaved Black people who helped to build the wealth of the Garden State, did not receive wages for his forced labor.

Untangling The Structural Factors Behind Montclair’s Achievement Gap

Montclair Local's Tina Kelley reports

A close study of the discrepancies in student success rates by race in the Montclair Public Schools leads directly to a deeper exploration of the challenges students of color face outside the classroom. What factors put them at risk for underachievement in school? How do racial disparities happen, and what can be done to address structural racism?

If the biases of every authority figure children interact with in school could be reduced — as the district was attempting in its districtwide Undoing Racism training for all school staff in 2015 — inequities would still remain because of structural racism: the policies and prejudices of institutions like schools, police departments, zoning boards, local governments, and, more broadly, the shape of the job, healthcare and real estate markets.

The Long Battle for Civilian Oversight of the Police

Mother Jones' Jamie Smith Hopkins and Kristine Villanueva report

This story was published in partnership with Mother Jones

In Tulsa, Oklahoma, where Black residents are three times as likely as whites to have police officers use force against them, Tiffany Crutcher is on a mission to get civilian oversight.

More than 140 such review bodies are operating nationwide, but the influence they have varies considerably — many don’t have much. An oversight proposal supported by Tulsa’s mayor last year struck advocates and some city council members as too weak. Crutcher — whose brother was outside his stalled SUV in 2016 when a Tulsa police officer shot and killed him — wants a review agency with enough authority to prompt change.

Parties Reach Agreement in New Jersey Lawsuit Establishing Fair Ballot Signature Match Process for July 7 Primary Election

 

 

Agreement Filed With District Court for Approval

 

NEWARK—Late Tuesday, parties in LWV New Jersey v. Way reached an agreement establishing a notice and cure process for mail-in and provisional ballots in New Jersey for the July 7 primary election. If the U.S. District Court of New Jersey accepts the agreement, voters who cast mail-in and provisional ballots in the state’s July 7 primary election will be notified of ballot issues and given the opportunity to fix them in time for their votes to be counted. As this agreement only applies to the July 7 primary, the case will continue until a permanent resolution is reached.

“This agreement is a significant win for New Jersey voters, and we are glad that Secretary of State Way understood that it was critical to provide a fix to New Jersey’s egregious ballot signature match process ahead of the primary election,” said Jesse Burns, executive director of the League of Women Voters of New Jersey. “We are hopeful the judge will accept our agreement so that all voters, especially disabled, elderly, and language minority voters, will be able to cast their mail-in ballots safely and with confidence, knowing that their votes won’t be rejected for signature issues without remedy or recourse.” 

New Jersey Institute for Social Justice Reacts to Trump Census Memo

 

 

NEWARK -- The following statement in response to President Trump’s Memorandum attempting to exclude undocumented persons from apportionment counts can be attributed to Ryan P. Haygood, President & CEO of the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice:

“Through today’s memorandum regarding Census data, President Trump is attempting to exclude undocumented people from representation in our government. This is both unconstitutional and morally reprehensible.

“Everyone counts in the Census. Everyone – regardless of race, age or citizenship status – everyone must be counted. New Jersey alone receives billions in federal funds allocated through an accurate Census count. The administration action today does not change that and a full count is as important as ever. Take the Census now at 2020census.gov.

Community Groups Have Consistently Failed To Improve Policing. These Advocates Are Pushing A New Way.

MotherJones.com's Jamie Smith Hopkins and Kristine Villanueva report

In Tulsa, Oklahoma, where Black residents are three times as likely as whites to have police officers use force against them, Tiffany Crutcher is on a mission to get civilian oversight.

More than 140 such review bodies are operating nationwide, but the influence they have varies considerably—many don’t have much. An oversight proposal supported by Tulsa’s mayor last year struck advocates and some city council members as too weak. Crutcher—whose brother was outside his stalled SUV in 2016 when a Tulsa police officer shot and killed him—wants a review agency with enough authority to prompt change.

One In 10 Ballots Rejected In Last Month’s Vote-by-mail Elections

NJ Spotlight's Colleen O'Dea Reports

About one in every 10 people who mailed in ballots in last month’s special elections had their votes rejected, which could forebode the potential disenfranchisement of tens of thousands of New Jerseyans in next month’s primaries.

An NJ Spotlight analysis of the vote-by-mail ballots cast in 31 municipalities that held nonpartisan municipal, school board or special elections on May 12 — an entirely mail-in election — found that election officials did not count 9.6% of ballots sent in. A database provided by the state Division of Elections shows more than a dozen reasons for rejecting ballots. Most commonly, officials did not count ballots because the signature on the ballot did not match the one on file, the ballot arrived too late or the required certificate was not enclosed.

Coalition of Housing and Racial Justice Advocates Seeks NJ State Court Measures to Protect the Rights of Tenants in an Oncoming Wave of Evictions

 

 

Coalition of Housing and Racial Justice Advocates Seeks NJ State Court Measures to Protect the Rights of Tenants in an Oncoming Wave of Evictions

 

A coalition of 29 housing and racial justice advocates have signed a letter to the Administrative Director of the New Jersey Courts requesting that the courts enforce compliance with federal law in all eviction filings and ensure constitutional due process in court-ordered mediation and settlement conferences in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

These advocates warn that mass eviction threatens further harm to communities already devastated by the coronavirus, especially communities of color. Failure to take proper measures will cause mounting displacement and homelessness, in addition to risking vulnerable citizens’ due process rights. Already deprived of economic resources, a political voice, and easy access to legal representation, such communities face widespread devastation. The coalition’s letter identifies more than 30 jurisdictions across the country that have taken additional steps to protect the rights of tenants. The advocates urge the New Jersey courts to adopt similar measures.

New Institute Report Addresses Disproportionate Burden of Student Loan Debt on Black and Other Borrowers of Color – a Problem Exacerbated by the Current Public Health Crisis

 

 

New Institute Report Addresses Disproportionate Burden of Student Loan Debt on Black and Other Borrowers of Color – a Problem Exacerbated by the Current Public Health Crisis

 

NEWARK – The New Jersey Institute for Social Justice today released Freed From Debt: A Racial Justice Approach to Student Loan Reform in New Jersey, a new report highlighting the enormous burden of student debt in the Garden State, particularly on Black and other borrowers of color. The report proposes four bold reforms that would chart a path forward for New Jersey students with a particular eye toward supporting Black and other students of color.

“Even before the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic fallout, Black students were more likely to take on student loans, borrow in larger amounts, and default on their loans than their white peers,” said Andrea McChristian, Law & Policy Director at the Institute. “While student loans once served as a resource to help students achieve economic mobility, they have, even more in this moment, become an immense financial weight that entraps Black students and other students of color in a cycle of insurmountable debt.”