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Polls open until 8 p.m. in New Jersey for the general election

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Princeton voters will elect two council members and three school board members in the general election today, Nov. 5. They will also caste votes for the Mercer County Executive, two members of the Mercer County Board of Choosen Freeholders, and two New Jersey Assembly members.

The polls are open until 8 p.m. If you are not sure where your polling place is located, please visit the state’s polling place search page online. You can also check online to see if you are registered to vote in New Jersey.

Incumbent New Jersey Assembly members Andrew Zwicker of South Brunswick and Roy Frieman of Hillsborough will face Montgomery residents Mark Caliguire and Christine Madrid in the general election. NJ Spotlight has more information about the candidates and the other state assembly races here.

Mercer County Executive Brian Hughes is seeking another four-year term. He is being challenged by another Princeton resident, Lisa Wu. Two incumbent freeholders, Princeton resident Andrew Koontz and Nina Melker of Hamilton are running unopposed in the general election. Read Lisa Jacknow’s story about the county elections here.

Four candidates are vying for three three-year terms on the Princeton Public Schools Board of Education. The candidates have differing views on raising taxes, managing planning and building expansions for the district, and the future of Westminster Choir College. You can read our story about the school board candidates forum here. We also included a full transcript of the forum below the story.

Three candidates are seeking three-year terms on the Princeton Council. Newcomers Mia Sacks and Michelle Pirone Lambros, who battled each other in the Democratic primary, then joined forces to stave off a challenge by Adam Bierman in the general election. Bierman, a progressive Democrat, is running as in independent to protest the political system in Princeton and the power of the Princeton Community Democratic Organization.

For the first time in many years, there was no public forum for the council candidates where residents could ask questions. Candidates were offered several forum dates, and one Democrat said she could not make any of the times. Instead, the candidates were interviewed without an audience (only reporters were invited to attend), and even then, reporters were told the video would not be released unless all of the candidates approved the release after the forum. Bierman’s supporters have accused the Democrats of refusing to debate him in a public forum in an effort to starve his campaign of attention and give him any chance to gain supporters.

The Princeton Community Television video of the interviews with the three council candidates is below.

Krystal Knapp

Krystal Knapp is the founding editor of Planet Princeton. She can be reached via email at editor AT planetprinceton.com. Send all letters to the editor and press releases to that email address.

8 Comments

  1. Jean, in response to the comments you made above, it was a PCDO forum , not a public debate of democratic candidates.

    You have conveniently omitted the fact that I boycotted the PCDO forum because it is pay to play

    Some unsolicited PR advice, do not bring up voluntarily an indefensible position. The current PDMC chair whose last name rhymes with “afraid” knows enough to keep her mouth shut, though every once in a while she has emotional outbursts,and comes up with silly threats, almost looking and sounding like is still at junior high or like Trump at the WH, your choice.

    Now that you have brought up the PCDO pay to play forum, let me reiterate some key points as my reasons to boycotting it, again.

    *IT IS PAY TO PLAY

    *The County Chair told the PCDO/PDMC seven years ago on 3/25/12 that the PDMC, elected by the Princeton Democratic party is not supposed to give any control to a private club in terms of the candidate endorsement process. We still have ordinances that call for the PDMC to listen too and consider the vote of the PCDO when deciding where to list candidates on the ballot. Besides being ethically challenged, I wonder if this pay to play issue leaves up an opening for a potential sue.

    *I believe we are the only town in NJ that is involved in these pay to play shenanigans.

    *Some people say, “What is the big deal, you can pay at minimum a five-dollar fee ( or a poll tax, which this country outlawed )to join the PCDO and vote”. There is a lot of built in privilege to joining the PCDO. You need time, maybe a babysitter, public transportation if you do not have a car, etc. I do not remember seeing a lot of people of color, or lower economic status at the PCDO forum I participated in 2018.

    *If a candidate campaign is well organized, it is so easy to rig the PCDO. In that same 2018 PCDO forum, I saw and talked to many people who joined the PCDO in time to vote for their candidate of choice, they were told to pay and to bullet vote. I never saw them again, not even attending speakers sponsored by the club.

    *IT IS PAY TO PLAY No amount of twisted Trumpian logic can square this circle.

    I must laugh when some of my detractors say that I am trying to use my anti pay to play stance as some cynical political ploy, to get more votes. . I assure you, I might have gotten more votes/support from some PCDO’ers in the 2019 council race, if I did not continue to bring up this issue But some arguments I can’t compromise on , even if it is to my detriment.

    Come on fellows, we can do better. The Princeton political circle is so intertwined, some people who agree with me are afraid to speak up. Join me , speak up, be progressive , force dialogue and affect change. I repeat the comment I made at the PDMC candidate endorsement meeting in May 2019.

    “It is so easy to boycott bigots who do not show up in Palmer Square, or rally against a wall on the Mexican /US border. But real courage is going against popular opinion in your own insular political clique, that is called integrity”

    Finally, I commend the PCDO for the extraordinary job, getting out the vote every year. Also for the speakers program, the money you raise, the political information the PCDO get out to the public consciousness The PCDO must be one of the best organized , influential private democratic clubs in the state.

    Comments , muses , detractors welcomed.

  2. Not to mention that there was a Meet and Greet Princeton Council Candidates scheduled at the Senior Resource Center but the only candidates invited were the Democratic candidates. The Senior Resource Center representative called to apologise to Adam because she was not informed that there were three candidates. So, there were some cheap tricks from the PCDO, I guess. They might think that they are savvy political people but they are definitely doing a disservice to democracy and that is pathetic and wrong.

  3. On Election Day, when the President of the PCDO, an attorney, is chided by the press to “specify” her remarks, that’s a reminder to speak factually. The PCDO does not have a forum for all candidates. The PCDO has a paid vote endorsement meeting. Ms. Durbin knows that. Adam Bierman declined to participate in that meeting.

    When the League of Women Voters has two audience forums for School Board candidates yet only has one no audience forum for Princeton Council and allows Council candidates to pick a date that pleases them, something is wrong. Most outrageously, when anyone of the Council candidates can block the release of the video of the forum, something is rotten. Imagine on the national stage, candidates stopping the showing of a debate. Unimaginable.

    The smooth operators of this situation may feel hard ball smart about these moves. However, the memories of these choices will haunt the democratic process in Princeton. In politics, to borrow from Yogi Berra, even when it’s over, it ain’t over.

    For the League of Women Voters to be involved is extremely surprising. . The political discourse of Princeton deserved much more.

  4. This is a ludicrous comment by Ms Durbin. It has been well reported and documented that Adam Bierman was not for the PCDO candidates endorsement forum due to the “pay to play”, that the PCDO requires people to pay to join no matter if it is only 1 week before, to vote for the candidates, and continue to deny it. In past forums people were there to bullet vote and to never be seen again. This is a fact and should own it as the President of the PCDO.
    It is strange to me that the PCDO that praises itself as all for inclusivity and diversity, completely fail when it is about local races, they they become as intolerant as the people they demonize.

  5. Jean, you should specify that the forum was an endorsement vote during the primaries, and was an endorsement meeting for Democratic candidates. Adam Bierman is running as an independent and became unaffiliated to do so. The League of Women Voters is a nonpartisan forum and is not an endorsement meeting.

  6. Hi there. There was a candidate forum hosted by the PCDO to which Mr. Bierman was invited. He declined to attend. This is historically the largest candidate forum each year, and Mr. Bierman’s absence was a disappointment. Sincerely, Jean Durbin, President PCDO

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