Councilwoman Jen Giattino: ‘Ending voter fraud should not be confused with public’s right to choose on runoffs’
Dear friends and neighbors –
On January 17th the City Council in a 6-2 vote passed an ordinance approving a referendum question to reinstate run-off elections. The ordinance was vetoed by Mayor Ravi Bhalla.
I believe that the people of Hoboken should decide if they want to reinstate run-off elections. The vote by the council to put the referendum question on the ballot does just that — gives Hoboken residents the opportunity to have a full community conversation about the pros and cons of run-off elections and vote.
Unfortunately in a recent email Mayor Bhalla claims that council members who vote to put the referendum question on the ballot do not believe in good government. I can assure you that nothing could be further from the truth and I will continue to work for you and what is best for Hoboken.
During and after the 2017 mayoral election I heard from countless residents who wished that we still had run-off elections. Many were concerned that the mayor could be elected by a minority of voters which is in fact what happened.
I agree with Mayor Bhalla’s concerns about the impact of voter fraud but this shouldn’t be used as an argument against run-off elections. Ending voter fraud and the abuse of Vote By Mail ballots should be a high priority for Mayor Bhalla and addressed immediately. Newly appointed New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal is a close friend of Mayor Bhalla’s and spoke at his inauguration. I expect that Mayor Bhalla will ensure the Attorney General will look into this issue.
Although instant run-off elections are not permitted in New Jersey I am interested in actively exploring this prospect with my council colleagues, Mayor Bhalla, the State Assembly and Governor Phil Murphy.
Let’s do what we as Hobokenites do best and come together to have a discussion about our elections and not divide Hoboken. As always I welcome your feedback on this matter.