In 2009, Hoboken held five elections in eight months, and our citizens had to endure a seemingly endless barrage of campaigning. Few people voted in all five elections. Political consultants, printers and paid campaign workers profited from holding those five separate elections, but Hoboken’s citizens surely did not.
On Nov. 6th, in addition to voting for president, Senate, Congress and school board, Hoboken voters will have the opportunity to vote on Hoboken Ballot Questions 1 and 3, important election reform proposals that would move our nonpartisan local elections from May to November. The candidate with the most votes on that day would be elected to serve, without the need for a runoff election, just like we elect our president, our governor, and virtually every other elected official on Election Day.
This is important, since holding a low turnout runoff election in December would undermine the objective of having our leaders chosen on Election Day in an election in which the largest possible number of voters participate.
Our local elections are currently held in a separate, often low-turnout election in May, with an additional runoff election, if necessary, a month later. Consolidating the elections as proposed would increase voter participation, reduce voter fatigue and save taxpayers money – as much as $125,000 per unnecessary election.
The school board has already voted to move its elections to November, so this proposal would reduce the number of elections we hold to two – the June primary and November general election. I will be voting YES on Hoboken Ballot Questions 1 and 3 and I urge you join with me in supporting these important reforms.
Hoboken Ballot Question 2 is a proposal to move our rent control system toward vacancy decontrol. While the details are too complicated to explain in a short letter, I do not feel that the proposal contains sufficient protections to ensure that existing tenants are treated properly. While the proposal does contain some penalties for the harassment of tenants, the penalties are, in my opinion, relatively toothless and an insufficient deterrent in light of the substantial financial incentives in the proposal to create apartment vacancies. I will therefore be voting NO on Hoboken Ballot Question 2.
I urge all Hoboken voters to learn as much as they can about these important ballot questions and to remember to cast their votes on Nov. 6.
Mayor Dawn Zimmer