Un-Democratic ballot challenges knock reform-minded candidates off ballot

Rutgers law professor Eugene Mazo and progressive Brian Varela could not withstand a challenge to their nominating petitions by Hudson County Democratic Organization chair Amy DeGise, who filed motions to deprive the candidates of a spot on the June 7 primary election ballot.

HCDO spokesman Phil Swibinski said depriving voters of choices on the ballot is about ensuring a fair election.

“All petition challenges are based on ensuring the fair representation of Hudson County Democratic voters in the primary for the Eighth Congressional District and protecting the integrity of the process,” said Swibinski, using a trope commonly cited by Republicans and arch-conservative dark money groups. that have created false impressions, such as pervasive myths of a stolen 2020 presidential election and widespread voter fraud.

Electoral integrity and voter participation are enhanced by (1) ensuring that everyone with a legal right to vote is able to do so; (2) protecting such critical election infrastructure as storage facilities, polling places, and centralized vote tabulation locations; and (3) safeguarding such information and communications technology as voter registration databases, voting machines, and other electoral management systems.

Gerrymandering districts to maintain one party’s dominance, preventing citizens from voting, and refusing to allow the names of legitimate contenders to appear on the ballot do not enhance the democratic process.

While Mazo’s candidacy had little chance of surviving the challenge because his petitions had only 221 signatures and the law requires at least 200 valid endorsements from voting residents of the district, Varela started with 589 names but many were disqualified during a 16-hour review in court.

Mazo is a litigant, along with progressive champion Lisa McCormick, in a federal lawsuit challenging the way New Jersey rigs the ballot in primary elections by giving unfair advantages to some candidates or disadvantages to other contenders for public office.

DeGise put the Hudson Democratic organization’s support behind the unaccomplished son of corrupt US Senator Bob Menendez, 36-year-old lawyer Rob Menendez, Jr.

Four out of ten New Jersey Democrats rejected the elder Menendez in the 2018 primary election, shortly after he was unanimously admonished by the US Senate ethics committee for accepting bribes from the Florida eye doctor who was convicted in the biggest Medicare fraud case in history.

Senator Menendez later prevailed upon Republican Donald Trump to free the contributing crook from prison with a pardon issued on the disgraced loser’s last day as president.

With two of his rivals removed from the ballot, the Menendez Junior is more likely to win on June 7 but he still must get past Ane Roseborough-Eberhard and David Ocampo Grajales.

Eberhard is a mother of two who teaches History at Weehawken High School.

Ocampo is the 25-year-old son of Colombian immigrants who was the first in his family to go to college.

Varela, who scored an early endorsement from the Forward Party and former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang, withdrew his candidacy after the Hudson County Democratic Organization proved he did not have 200 valid signatures out of the 589 he submitted.

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