I would never minimize anyone’s vote
Mar 17, 2013 | 1205 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print

Dear Editor:

I want to thank Lois Gross for proving the point I was trying to make in my last letter. I am sorry that the flooding forced her to evacuate, but ultimately her great desire to vote in the election and on the Hoboken public questions encouraged her to return to Hoboken to vote in person to insure that her vote was counted. I readily acknowledge and appreciate Lois’ struggle and determination.

My letter was directed at the 114 Hoboken voters who voted provisionally in Hudson County but outside of Hoboken. Unless they voted at the Hudson County Court House in Jersey City, they were unable to vote on the Hoboken public questions. The point I was trying to make was that if voting on November 6th was as important to them as it was to Lois, they would have found a way to come back into town to vote on the local issues.

As far as I know, none of these 114 people have come forward to complain that they could not vote on Hoboken public questions. And yet, based on the unproven assertion that these 114 voters were deprived of their right to vote on Hoboken local issues in a lawsuit filed by the landlord/developer/realtor group Mile Square Taxpayer Association (MSTA), a New Jersey Superior Court Judge ruled that the outcome of the vote on Hoboken Public Question No. 2 (HPQ2) be overturned. This means that 16,444 HPQ2 votes, including votes from citizens like Lois who had to struggle to cast their votes, were thrown in the garbage so that MSTA could have another chance to win an election they fairly lost. If MSTA’s “yes” vote on HPQ2 were to win, then rents will be decontrolled for all new tenants, and many renters will lose their homes.

On November 6 there were no more flood waters to prevent voters who had been displaced from returning to Hoboken by car or bus to vote at one of the 22 available polling places. Even though New Jersey made email/fax voting available and extended voting until November 9th, most votes were successfully cast at the polls.

Like many others, I had no choice but to stay in town without electricity and to deal with little food, the cold, and bailing water. Like so many others, I was determined and grateful to vote on Election Day. I never intended to minimize the effort that voters such as Lois obviously went through to be able to vote. By successfully convincing a New Jersey Judge to overturn an election which they lost, MSTA undermined our democratic election process and disenfranchised all who voted on Hoboken Public Question No. 2, including those who, like Lois, had to struggle to even get to the polls.

Mary Ondrejka

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