Newark – The following can be attributed to Ryan P. Haygood, President & CEO of the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice, Deborah Smith Gregory, President of the Newark NAACP and Vivian Cox Fraser, President and CEO of the Urban League of Essex County, in response to Newark’s low voter turnout in Tuesday’s municipal election.

“Tuesday’s Municipal Election in Newark had a dismally low voter turnout. While disappointing, it was hardly surprising given the long history of low turnout in Newark.

The Institute’s 2020 report Our Vote, Our Power: Lifting Up Democracy’s Voices in the Garden State explored that history, asked people in Newark why people are not voting and based on those responses, proposed concrete policies to address those issues. This year’s mayoral election underscores the need for us to enact these policies – which include moving elections to November, enacting same-day registration and comprehensive civics education, and being more mindful of language access.

If we want more people to participate in our democracy, we must make sure people feel invested and represented by their elected officials, believe their votes matter and tear down the systemic barriers we’ve erected.”