LETTER: The terms ‘freeholder’ and ‘opponent’ are outdated, along with provisional ballots

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In a letter to the editor, District 4 Democratic freeholder candidate Yraida Aponte-Lipski said she believes the terms “freeholder” and “opponent” are outdated, along with provisional ballots.

Facebook photo.

Dear Editor,

As I wait for the results from this year’s primary election, I thought I’d share some thoughts from my run for freeholder.

The term “freeholder” has to go. I applaud Governor Murphy, Senate President Sweeney, and Assembly Speaker Coughlin for their plan to change it.

Changing “freeholder” to “commissioner” will not only eliminate the negative historical baggage associated with the title, but also allow me to translate it to a comparable word in Spanish so my family will know what office I ran for.

Freeholder, in Spanish, doesn’t exist. The title commissioner does exist and is defined as one who’s sent on a mission with others; it suits the office better.

Throughout my campaign I was constantly asked, “Who’s your “opponent?” We equate
running for office to fighting a battle against an enemy. The majority of candidates aren’t
enemies. They’re neighbors.

Maybe we could refer to them as competitors and reserve the label opponent for real enemies? It’ll have more sting when needed.

Lastly, the provisional ballot should be retired. A number of people brought their vote-by-mail ballot to a polling place only to be told they either had to find a post office/mailbox to cast it or discard it to vote in person.

Maybe the vote-by-mail ballot could be the same for in person voting? It would allow for one ballot that’s counted by a machine and eliminate the provisional ballot that is counted by hand.

Switching to one ballot would save time and money.

Yraida Aponte-Lipski