This letter to the editor was submitted to The Sun from Mt. Laurel resident: Michael Muller:
Monday evening, I addressed Mt. Laurel Township Council and presented the members a simple chart to understand the math behind the referendum that would shift to a nonpartisan election. The facts are simple – nonpartisan elections result in a massive decrease in voter participation. This is not up for debate. It is basic math, and why I strongly oppose the referendum.
Just look at the past three general elections in Mt. Laurel Township when board of education elections were held. Despite being on the same ballot, 44 percent of voters who cast ballots in that election skipped the nonpartisan contest. That is an average of more than 8,000 voters per election failing to continue completing their ballot. The reason for this is related to ballot placement and inability to know the candidates’ core principles by not being party aligned. Worse yet, is that the referendum being considered would shift to a May election initially, where historical results indicated that we would see 60 percent fewer voters participating.
This referendum, if successful, would disenfranchise voters, and that is not a fact up for debate. I sincerely hope after presenting this information to council members that they keep their word to the public that they want to support democracy, rather than undermine it.
If Mt. Laurel Township Council proceeds with this referendum on June 24, its vote will expose that its comments about granting more people a voice in our democracy was disingenuous to the core, and undaunted we will organize to defeat this referendum in the best interests of Mt. Laurel residents.