I have been a card carrying member of the ACLU of New Jersey for several years, having attended their state Board meetings, and helped raise money for their fine work with a comedy show. They do great work and Executive Director Deborah Jacobs and Legal Director Ed Barocas are outstanding at their respective jobs.
In 2004, I participated in an Election Day “Election Protection” action, making sure that new voters coming to the polls were informed of their rights. The ACLU was one of the groups that sponsored that action, and they do the same each year.
Said the ACLU in a press release:
“In previous elections, the ACLU-NJ, in conjunction with other public interest organizations, organized volunteers to hand out voter rights cards on election days to inform individuals of their rights at the polls. The voter rights cards provide general information and contain no mention of any individual running for office or any public question to be voted upon.”With regard to Election Day and Primary Day in New Jersey, Attorney General Anne Milgram “banned all contact with voters entering polling sites and all contact, except 'exit polling', with people leaving polling sites." The Attorney General's Directive also requires "media representatives or representatives of a public interest groups to obtain advance approval from their county Board of Elections to conduct exit polling, and also provide the Board with two weeks notice of the exact locations where exit polling will take place, and the names of each person conducting the polls.”
The ACLU recognized that “Free speech and voting rights are core American values," and that the “Attorney General's decision to restrict such democratic activities on Election Day goes against everything this country stands for and aspires to.” Well said.
This week the fine folks at the ACLU filed a Motion seeking to stop the State AG from enforcing her prohibition on free speech activities within 100 feet of a polling place, including handing out voter rights cards.
For their commitment to free speech, and to the their ongoing efforts for election protection---especially in this year’s very important presidential Primary Day election February 5th, the ACLU of NJ is our Mensch of the Week this week at NJPoliticsUnusual.com.
[Almost] Putz of the Week
Last week’s Putz of the Week was Congressman Ron Paul, for his absolute refusal to return a campaign contribution from a white supremacist who founded the StormFront.org website. The site espouses racism and anti-Semitism rhetoric.
Assemblyman Mike Doherty is the only elected official in New Jersey who has publicly endorsed Congressman Paul. Earlier this week, I called the Doherty office to see if he had a position on whether or not Paul should have returned the contribution.
I spoke with his Constituent Services director, and sent a follow-up email. Thus far, I have received no response. Given the fact that it is a holiday week, perhaps he has been out of his office, and not attending to business. So, that makes him an ‘almost-Putz’ of the Week.
I will follow up with a final call and follow-up email after the holidays. So, until then he is merely an “almost”.
Stay tuned for more next week.