What do you need to vote this election?

This Sunday the Trenton Journal and the Trenton NAACP will hold a mayoral candidate forum at Shiloh Baptist Church at 4 p.m. Reverend Charles Boyer will host the forum and Trenton’s own, Dr. Princess Hoagland who will give an overview of civic engagement and the role of mayor. All candidates running for mayor have been invited to the forum.

As of this writing there are only 44 days until the November 8th election. There are a total of 27 candidates running for city council and the mayor’s seat. What happens and what doesn’t happen on Election Day will impact our lives for years to come. It’s vital that we all get the information we need about the candidates running for office so we can make an informed decision when we open the curtain, step inside the booth and cast our ballots.

An important question to ask during this critical time in our city is how we are getting the information we need and where to find it. There’s been a dearth in local news coverage since Isaac Avilucea, the Trentonian’s sole full-time reporter, left the daily newspaper to work for Axios.

“In my opinion, the city suffers from a cycle of trauma and disenfranchisement that has almost become expected,” Avilucea told the Trenton Journal. “What I mean by that is this: If you look at the last election, only 8,848 voters cast ballots in the mayoral runoff between Reed Gusciora and Paul Perez. The 2018 election turnout was one of the lowest in Trenton in a decade. That tells me there's an entrenched sense of apathy in Trentonians. Candidates aren't engendering excitement or hope in constituents. And why would they? There was a hangover from the Tony Mack years where a corrupt local government almost became an expected norm, not the exception.”

The Trenton Journal is independently owned and operated. We are non-partisan. We don’t care who you vote for, we just want to give you the information you need to make a decision, which is why we created a “Meet the Candidate” series, where candidates had an opportunity to tell voters their Trenton story and their reason for running for office. Thank you to all the candidates who have shared their stories in the Trenton Journal and all other media outlets. Increasing voter engagement and registration is the reason why we teamed up with the NAACP Trenton Branch to hold candidate forums and voter registration drives leading up to Election Day.

As November 8 draws near, I see more campaign canvassing in my neighborhood and promotional flyers asking for voters. I never paid attention to those flyers in the past, because it doesn’t detail plans of executing campaign promises. We all have a different motivation to vote. I feel we should reframe the narrative of just telling people they should vote during elections, we should also ask residents what they need to make that trip to cast their ballot, such as access to transportation or understanding campaign material?

I’m particularly excited by this year’s election and have met some people in the city doing some innovative work to help engage voters for a bigger turnout that will be revealed in early October. Please bring your friends and family and anyone you know who may not be registered to vote and play an active role and determining who will lead a city government.

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✉️ Got questions, story ideas or comments, contact: Kenneth@trentonjournal.com

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