In a letter to the editor, Hoboken resident Kevin Davis gives his take on why the $241 school referendum set for Tuesday is not progressive.
All over the country there have been efforts by Republicans to limit the number of people who vote.
They have fought for voter ID laws where people without photo ids are disenfranchised from voting. The problem with voter ID laws is that it is hard to get an ID if you don’t have one. To quote rapper Mos Def “Why do I need ID to get ID, If I had ID I wouldn’t need ID”.
Republicans have fought to limit early voting and vote by mail because those voters lean more Democratic than the electorate.
But there is something that the Hoboken school board did that would make Mitch McConnell blush, they scheduled a $241 million school bond vote on this Tuesday, January 25th.
This will likely have a turnout of only 10-12% of registered voters, which is much lower than the 36% of registered voters that came out this last November.
You may think that the timing of the election is a Republican idea, but there are no registered Republicans on the nine-member Hoboken school board.
In fact, there are six registered Democrats on the school board (Sheillah Dallara, Joyce Simons, Alex De La Torre, Melanie Tekirian, Ailene McGuirk, and Thomas Kluepfel).
Considering that Democrats are fighting against voter suppression laws nationally, why would the six registered Democrats vote to put this on a January ballot? It is because they are betting that a low turnout election will make this bond more likely to pass.
Originally, the school board tried to schedule this vote in December, but thankfully failed on a clerical error. Even with a January vote, the design of the election timing was so that there wouldn’t be organized opposition to the bond.
There are several well-meaning parents who are enthusiastic about this school bond. In a low turnout election, they will make up a larger portion of the electorate than they would in November making it easier to pass the bond.
The board has claimed that they wanted this vote in an off-cycle election so that this bond wouldn’t be associated with other political campaigns, but this campaign has been completely political.
Before the proposal got a public hearing, Mayor Ravi Bhalla and City Council members Emily Jabbour, Phil Cohen, and Jim Doyle endorsed the proposal.
There are plenty of reasons to vote against this bond such as the fact that it costs $170.6 million more than the average budget for new school constructions proposed to NJ voters in the past ten years, was developed without community input, comes with a 20% school tax increase, and has $0 in state funding, but voters should be aware of why the school board scheduled an election in the middle of the winter: To decrease the number of voters so the bond has a better chance of passing.
Vote NO on Tuesday, January 25th.