PRINCETON – Senator Ellen Karcher, D-Monmouth and Mercer, issued the following statement today after the Governor signed her bill, sponsored with Senate President Richard J. Codey, to move New Jersey’s presidential primary to the first week of February:
“I would like to thank the Governor and both houses of the Legislature for moving quickly on this important issue of national relevance for the voters of New Jersey.
“For far too long, our State has run at the back of the pack when it comes to presidential primaries.
“We’ve been looked over and cast aside by major party candidates seeking to curry favor with the real players in presidential politics.
“This new law addresses a fundamental unfairness in our national political landscape which for decades, ranked New Jersey, the ninth most populous state, and one of the wealthiest, near the bottom of the presidential primary food chain.
“Aside from being an insult to our place in this nation, our last-in-the-country primary effectively disenfranchised voters, who never had a chance to select among the crowded field of presidential contenders that were pared down by elections in states like New Hampshire and Iowa.
“And when we finally tried to do something about our lot, and move our primary up through legislation last year, a national calendar change again threatened to relegate New Jersey’s voters to the voiceless masses.
“I was taught as a child that the political process is sacred, that exercising your vote is a duty to your country.
“And elections are our best chance to have a say in the workings of our government. The more options available to the voters, the better.
“However, that seems absolutely contrary to what we’ve been telling New Jersey primary voters for years, through late primaries that served only to rubber stamp decisions made hundreds, if not thousands, or miles from our homes.
“With this legislation in place, New Jersey’s voters can again take their rightful place at the table in helping steer the course of America.
“We can have a voice in the process, and can have a say in our next president of the United States, whoever he – or she – may be.
“This is a monumental step forward which will put us in the spotlight and ensure proper attention from those candidates seeking our support for the presidency.
“Even before we signed the bill, we’ve seen it in action. Greater attention earlier from the 2008 candidates for president.
“Again, on behalf of New Jersey’s voters, I’d like to thank our State leaders for making this bill a priority.
“With the Governor’s pen today, New Jersey’s electorate can once again participate in presidential politics and take their rightful role in the selection of our country’s leader.”
Senator Karcher attended the bill signing ceremony held at the Governor’s Mansion, Drumthwacket.