To the Editor:
I am a progressive activist and organizer from Wildwood. I am Co-Chair of Cape May County Indivisible, Regional Organizer of Cooper River Indivisible, and a member of the Working Families Party and Take Back NJ Coalition.
I filed legal action in conjunction with Working Families, and Helen Duda with NJ CD2 Progressive Democrats, against the Cape May and Atlantic County Democratic Committees.
This lawsuit was filed to protect our County Committee elections from being arbitrarily canceled. There is a shameful effort underway of party leaders in various counties who are exploiting the coronavirus pandemic to shut down elections and maintain power. They are fully aware of the grassroots movement to get progressives elected at all levels of government - and they are willing to subvert democracy in order to stop it.
On March 22, Chairman Brendan Sciarra announced that he was postponing our County Committee elections in Cape May County for a full year, effectively extending all current terms and preventing seats from being challenged.
Chairman Michael Suleiman did the same in Atlantic County. Others County Chairs followed suit as well - and some were even bold enough to put off elections for two years! With the extensive safety provisions that were made such as online petitions, and considering that all other elections are moving forward, there is no justifiable reason to cancel any County Committee elections. Elections are an essential service - the bedrock of our democracy - and we simply cannot allow party leaders to start canceling them.
In Cape May County, enthusiasm to participate in local government is at an all-time high. Cape May County Indivisible successfully organized a team of over 20 progressive Democrats, who filed to run for County Committee.
People are engaged and excited to participate in democracy! It is unconscionable that party leadership would go to such lengths to squelch this enthusiasm and shut these voices out. They should be thrilled that folks want to get involved and help build the party.
But unfortunately, progressive Democrats have been shut out of the process for a long time. That is why these elections are so important to us. And this is exactly why we filed legal action to protect them.
We are fighting for our right to have a say in our party. We are demanding to be properly represented and to have a stake in the important decisions that are being made on our behalf.
The County Committee, and the party itself, needs to be inclusive of all Democratic voices. We are not going anywhere.
We will continue standing up to make things more democratic by putting power back into the hands of the people. And we will continue to demand open, free, and fair elections because democracy is worth fighting for.