At 11pm last Tuesday, it appeared that Republicans had won stunning victories in New Jersey. Jack Ciattarelli was 40,000 votes ahead with 70% of voting districts reporting, and more than a dozen pick-ups in the Legislature.
However, the next morning, Ciattarelli was leading by only 1,800 votes. That afternoon, Ciattarelli was behind Democrat Phil Murphy by several thousand votes. He is now behind by roughly 60,000 votes. Republican gains in the Legislature were down to just one new State Senate seat, and 8 new Assembly seats. That left Democrats still in control of the State Senate 24 to 16, and the Assembly 44 to 36.
Jack Ciattarelli and the Republican candidates did their best. Yet they could not overcome the Republican decline that has been going on since the 1980s. They could not overcome 40 years of damage done by former Governors Tom Kean, Christie Todd Whitman, and Chris Christie. They could not overcome the damage done by local Republican leaders like Bill Gormley, former Atlantic County State Senator.
Here is what those Republicans did to their party and our state during the past 40 years:
1. They systematically eliminated basic bipartisan rules and procedures that gave us honest elections for more than a hundred years. These included:
a. One Election Day from 8AM to 7PM. No early—or late—voting. Rare mail-in “absentee” ballots only with doctor’s notes or proof of travel plans. Easy to find volunteers and election officials for all candidates to work a single 11 hour day. (Later, polls closed at 8PM, opened at 6AM, making it difficult to supervise polls, without increasing turnout).
The simple, mechanical Shoup voting machine was invented in 1898, and used throughout New Jersey until about fifteen years ago. It was inexpensive, and easy to operate, repair, replace, and fix. It could not be hacked electronically. Who benefitted when it was replaced by complicated computer-dependent machines that few people understood, and which could be easily hacked, disabled, or manipulated?
b. Simple, mechanical “Shoup” voting machines with register tape that could be maintained and fixed by a bicycle mechanic.
c. Superior Court judges available on Election Day to decide disputes over who could vote with live, in-person, sworn testimony. No “provisional ballots” to be approved with no testimony days or weeks later.
d. All votes counted by midnight.
e. No new voter registrations less than 30 days before election day. No automatic registrations through motor vehicle applications. Plenty of time for candidates, parties, and election officials to make sure all voters were citizens who lived where they said they did.
f. Polling places in each neighborhood, where election officials, candidates, and challengers familiar with voters and where they live.
Current four month “vote harvest” makes it easy to stuff ballot boxes with illegal votes from non-citizens and people submitting fake ballots from voters who moved, dead, or otherwise inactive. Also favors parties and candidates who gain financially from government, and can afford to pay an army of paid “vote harvesters” for nearly a month.
2. They made government complicated and unaccountable with dozens of “independent” government authorities. They are run by massive bureaucracies of political appointees who are not accountable to voters. They are paid for with borrowed money and confusing, hidden taxes and fees
3. They lost support by raising spending and debt in New Jersey to unsustainable levels. The “Property Tax Relief Fund” paid for with the State Income Tax was used prop up corrupt Democrat schools and local governments, while punishing Republican suburbs with endless property tax hikes. They opposed internal enforcement of immigration laws. For 40 years, self-sufficient Republican and independent voters forced out by high taxes were replaced by government-dependent legal and illegal immigrants attracted by government handouts.
4. They refused to recruit, train, or support principled and credible Republican minority candidates in minority districts. They thought it was “smart politics” not to invest money or talent in minority districts they could not win. They claimed that uncontested elections in minority districts would reduce turnout there. However, the opposite happened. With no Republican candidates to keep elections honest, these districts now turn out massive legal and illegal votes with lopsided majorities for Democrats.
5. They gave far-left college and school administrators, teachers, and professors lavish funding and total control of our public schools and colleges. The last two generations of students have been systematically taught to hate America and Republican and to love socialism and “woke” Democrats.
Last Tuesday showed that Republicans can win statewide elections in New Jersey again. However, they will not win unless or until we address these five key issues.
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Seth Grossman, Executive Director