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Students First Candidates Rally to Stop Voter Suppression in New Brunswick

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Community advocates and residents plan to rally to stop voter suppression at the Board of Elections Meeting in Edison NJ. 

On Thursday April 1, the Middlesex County Board of Elections is expected to make the final decision on the proposal to eliminate 6 polling sites for the upcoming New Brunswick School Board election.

What: Stop Voter Suppression in New Brunswick Rally 
When: April 1, 2021 at 5pm
Where: Middlesex County College, College center, Lot 16, Cafeteria (2nd Floor), 2600 Woodbridge Avenue , Edison, NJ 08837

The “Students First” Candidates Linda Stork, Matt Rivera, and Jenifer Garcia plan to speak out at Thursday’s Board of Elections meeting. They will be joined by concerned residents and community advocates, some of whom plan to address the board directly and others who plan to protest outside the building.

Amidst news of voter suppression tactics and legislation passed in Georgia and pushed in other states, the pressure for the Board of Elections commissioners to restore the 6 polling sites in New Brunswick has been building up. 

The Students First candidates first got word of the proposal to close the polling locations on March 17th and spoke up at the New Brunswick City Council meeting where City Clerk Leslie Zeledon, who has stated she chooses the polling locations with guidance from the board, was present. Zeledon, when questioned on her decision to close nearly half of New Brunswick’s polling locations, cited precautions to stop the spread of COVID-19. 

“If you’re trying to social distance, common sense would say don’t have more people going to less places.  The more places you have open, the more room people would have,” said Linda Stork, a retired teacher who is challenging the establishment in her second run for the New Brunswick Board of Education. “So what was the real reason that we couldn’t have all the polling places already open?”

The Board of Education was also questioned during the Board of Ed meeting on March 23 for their alleged involvement in the decision to close the polling locations. 

In the following days dozens of emails from residents in the area were sent to the commissioners asking them to reconsider. A letter by The Institute for Social Justice signed on by a growing list of NJ organizations and Rutgers student organizations will be presented to the commissioners as well. 

The residents are hopeful that the Board will side with the public as one of the four commissioners, Don Katz, came out against the decision in an email sent to Middlesex County Board of Elections Administrator Thomas Lynch and the other commissioners on the Board on March 22.  

“We have not approved reducing the number of polling places for the New Brunswick School Board Election and, to the best of my knowledge, none of the Governor’s executive orders specifically authorize or require such a reduction in the number of polling locations. Please see that this is corrected immediately,” Katz wrote.

The Students First candidates Lindy, Matt and Jenifer are pleased with commissioner Don Katz for doing the right thing and hope the other commissioners will join him at today’s meeting.

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