NEWARK – In response to the Senate State Government, Wagering, Tourism & Historical Preservation Committee’s vote today to send S2912 – a bill allowing police to be present when voting is occurring at schools and senior centers – to the full Senate for a vote, the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice and a group of democracy advocates (listed below) issued the following statement.
“Law enforcement and voting do not go together.
“In election after election, people are intimidated by police at the polls, especially Black and Brown voters. This is the last thing we want to do given current threats to our democracy.
“We all care deeply about keeping our children safe. That’s why we need solutions that actually work like gun safety laws – not knee-jerk reactions that make us feel better momentarily but that don’t actually move the ball forward. We should not be pitting a false sense of safety against our democracy.
“Schools concerned about safety during elections can also, if viable, go remote or close for the day, as some already do for certain elections – instead of making already over-policed Black and Brown kids feel less safe from armed officers in their schools.
“We must keep our kids and our democracy safe. This bill is not the way to do either. We urge Senators to reject this bill.”
In January, the legislature wisely passed legislation prohibiting law enforcement from being within 100 feet of polling places but allowing them to respond in emergency situations.
The following advocates sign on to this statement:
All of Us or None – South Jersey
American Friends Service Committee Prison Watch
Association of Black Women Lawyers of New Jersey – Social Justice Committee
Education Law Center
Faith in New Jersey
Hannah Walker, Assistant Professor at UT Austin
Ironbound Community Corporation
League of Women Voters of New Jersey
Liza Chowdhury, PhD Assistant Professor BMCC
Make the Road New Jersey
Meet Her at the Gate
NAACP NJ State Conference
New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice
New Jersey Black Issues Convention
New Jersey Institute for Social Justice
New Jersey Prison Justice Watch
New Jersey Working Families
Newark Communities for Accountable Policing
Our Revolution Essex
Our Revolution Trenton Mercer
Prison Justice Watch
Reimagining Justice Inc/Paterson Healing Collective
Returning Citizens Support Group
Salvation & Social Justice
The Gem Project
Transformative Justice Initiative
Unitarian Universalist FaithAction NJ