PLAINFIELD, NJ — Social media was abuzz Thursday about a political mailing sent from the desk of Mayor Adrian O. Mapp on Plainfield Democratic City Committee letterhead urging voters to support Column B candidates. The mailing appeared to include a real ballot rather than a sample one, and candidate names in the other columns were blurred out. Saturday, a statement was issued, indicating it was understood the ballot was a part of the campaign's literature, and may have led to voter confusion.
TAPinto Plainfield reached out Thursday to Union County Clerk Joanne Rajoppi. "Here’s my policy. Somebody asks for a ballot for educational purposes," she said, "I give them one, but it says across the ballot in big, red letters — SAMPLE — it is not a real ballot, it is a facsimile ballot.” She said the only real ballots she gives out are to voters; they are not given out for advertisement purposes.
Governor Phil Murphy, by Executive Order, had suspended the mailing of sample ballots. A sample ballot is a machine ballot, Rajoppi noted, with a button next to candidate names, and it is different from a vote-by-mail ballot which has an oval next to the names. “This didn’t appear to be a ballot that we had posted on our website.”
Mayor Mapp responded to a TAPinto Plainfield inquiry Thursday about the ballot and letter that were mailed. "As the Chairman of the Plainfield Democratic City Committee my responsibility is to support and advocate for candidates that have been endorsed by the local democratic party. That is what party chairs do."
He added, "The political mailer that you are referencing is simply that, a political mailer intended to get Plainfield’s registered Democrats to support our candidates in column B. They are the best candidates with a proven track record who are committed to working with my administration and moving Plainfield forward. A copy of a ballot has long been used as a tool to garner support for preferred party candidates. This is not the first time the sample ballot has been used and it will not be the last. As Mayor of the City and as the chairman of the PDCC I proudly support Council President Steve G. Hockaday and Councilor Charles McRae."
But Saturday, the Plainfield Democratic City Committe - PDCC Facebook page shared a photo featuring the mayor and the following message:
This last week, you may have received a political mailer that included what was purported to be a sample ballot. We understood this ballot to be a part of our campaign literature and not an actual voting ballot or official sample ballot. However, some individuals may have been confused by our materials. Therefore, out of an abundance of caution, we are advising all who received this mailer that the example of the ballot we attached was in no way an official sample ballot or an actual ballot and cannot be used for voting purposes. Further, this example of a ballot should not be mistaken for the official ballot, which will be sent by the Union County Clerk's Office.
If you have any questions or require further assistance, please check out the Union County Clerk's website, unioncountyvotes.com.
Deadlines that apply to the July 7 Primary Election are as follows:
- Final day to register to vote in time for the Primary Election: June 16
- Deadline to apply by Mail for Primary Election Vote By Mail ballot/unaffiliated voters to declare a party is June 30
- Deadline for a walk-in to obtain a vote-by-mail ballot: July 7 before 8 p.m.
- Primary Election Day: July 7, polls close at 8 p.m.
- Deadline to mail/postmark or drop off a VBM ballot is July 7 at 8 p.m. (drop off locations will be announced prior to Election Day)
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Editor's Note: Jennifer Popper, an editor of TAPinto Plainfield, ran for the Democratic municipal committee in Plainfield and won in her district.