On Monday, Sept. 10, an Order to Show Cause, Verified Complaint, and Brief were filed by the Hoboken City Clerk with the NJ Superior Court concerning the rent control public question which will be on the Hoboken ballot in November. I applaud the mayor for recognizing that it would be unfair for the wording of the public question taken from the initiative petition to go on the ballot because it is confusing and misleading to the voter. It is important that voters have a fair and balanced description of what they are being asked to vote on when they read the public questions. Voters have the right to vote as they see fit, but if the wording is confusing, they might not vote at all or vote contrary to what they really intend.
This filing will ask the court to permit the City Clerk to formulate the rent control public question for clarity to avoid any possible misunderstandings that the voter could experience. It is crucial for Hoboken voters to have clear wording when asked to vote on such a serious matter as rent control. If the court does not permit the Clerk to formulate the public question with sufficient clarity for the voters to understand the consequences of their vote, then the clerk wants an interpretive statement to accompany the public question on the ballot to provide clarity. The city is also asking the court to issue a stay against printing of ballots by the Hudson County Clerk until this matter is resolved.
This November’s ballot will be loaded with so many candidates and questions that it may not all fit on one machine. In addition to Hoboken’s three public questions, there will be other public questions and candidates on the ballot. I strongly suggest that everyone read the ballot you get in the mail before you vote. Since Nov. 6 is a presidential election and many citizens must vote before or after work, the polls will be crowded and many voters will be forced to wait in lines. I have never been able to understand why in the U.S. workers do not get Election Day off to vote as in many other countries, since voting is so critical to democracy and should be exercised by all. I actually wish voting was mandatory, since lack of voting can change the results of an election and undermine the democratic process.
The voters’ response to Hoboken rent control public question will have very serious consequences if the outcome eliminates tenant protections. Thankfully the city is acknowledging that they must act to insure that the thousands of Hoboken voters are given the information they need and be able to understand this public question and vote as they intend. Hopefully, the lines will not be too long. Please leave for work a little early on Nov. 6 so that you have the time to vote on the important public questions as well as for your choice for our next president.