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As the 2022 midterms approach, here’s who is running and how to vote in Princeton

With this year's election season ramping up, here's an overview of local and NJ state candidates looking to secure a seat, and how you can cast your ballot.

<h6>"Voting in the United States" by Tom Arthur / <a href="https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Voting_United_States.jpg" target="_self">CC SA 2.0</a></h6>
"Voting in the United States" by Tom Arthur / CC SA 2.0

The 2022 midterms election is fast approaching, with voting coming up next Tuesday, Nov. 8. 

Residents and students registered to vote in Princeton are eligible to vote for the next representative of New Jersey’s 12th Congressional district, Princeton Town Council, the Board of County Commissioners and the school board. Eligible voters have the choice to vote early, by mail, or on the day of the election.

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In the race for New Jersey’s 12th Congressional District, incumbent Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-N.J.) is running against Darius Mayfield of the Republican party and C. Lynn Genrich of the Libertarian party.

“I’ve always made it my priority to fight for working families everywhere and to decrease costs and improve access to health care and high-quality opportunities for everyone,” Watson Coleman wrote in a statement to The Daily Princetonian. 

“If re-elected, I am going to keep working to reduce our deficits while strengthening our manufacturing and creating good-paying jobs for people throughout the district,” she said.

In the wake of the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization Supreme Court ruling last June, which upheld a Mississippi law banning abortions after 15 weeks, Watson Coleman emphasized the importance of reproductive freedom. 

“I am also going to continue to lead the charge to make sure every woman has control over their own bodies and the right to make their own health care decisions,” she wrote.

In a statement to the ‘Prince,’ Mayfield explained his hopes for the future of Princeton and also, if elected, the issues he would advocate for in Washington, D.C.

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“Here, in Princeton, I want to maintain and increase your exceptional educational system while maintaining the strong parental rights and involvement families deserve,” he wrote.

“As Congressman … I will help tackle inflation, return us to energy independence, secure our border, strengthen our legal immigration systems and, bring peace through a strong principled international policy,” Mayfield added.

Watson Coleman and Mayfield both emphasized the importance of speaking with and listening to constituents from New Jersey’s 12th Congressional district.

“I’ve been taking these last weeks and months to speak directly with constituents and discuss the things that will continue to improve the lives of people throughout the district because there is nothing more important than listening to the people I represent,” Watson Coleman shared.

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“I pledge to maintain my example of togetherness and listen to the concerns of all my constituents,” Mayfield stated. “A vote for Darius is a vote for America and common sense.”

Genrich did not respond to a request for comment in time for publication.

In Princeton, incumbent Democrat councilmembers Mia Sacks and Michelle Lambros are running unopposed for Princeton Town Council. In a joint statement to the ‘Prince,’ Sacks and Lambros stressed the importance of making sure that everyone is welcome in the town.

“With deep family roots going back several generations in Princeton -- we understand the town’s history and share a deep commitment to its future,“ they wrote. “Princeton is a town full of lawn signs announcing that ‘All Are Welcome.’ Putting those words into practice means redoubling our commitment to eliminate exclusionary zoning and housing patterns.”

In their statements to the ‘Prince,’ Sacks and Pirone Lambros explained the work that they’ve done, and their hopes for the future of Princeton. 

“Planning for our town’s future will continue to be my primary focus. I serve as the Council’s Representative on the Princeton Planning Board and its Master Plan Steering Committee,” Sacks wrote. 

“We have convened a public process for comprehensive review of the town’s Master Plan. An updated Plan, reflecting our residents’ core values, will provide a much-needed guide for municipal decision makers as we navigate the impact of growth in Princeton and in the communities surrounding us,“ she concluded.

Sacks also mentioned the work that the council has done with the University. “I am currently part of the team renegotiating the town’s voluntary contribution agreement with Princeton University. We hope the result will be an agreement which strengthens our shared interest in enhancing the town’s fiscal health, diverse population, and thriving central business District,” Sacks wrote.

Pirone Lambros wrote about her two main goals for the town: economic development and accessing affordability.

“When I ran in 2019, I promised to help drive economic development, and my other main focus was to address affordability, which is causing the evaporation of socio-economic diversity in our Town,” Pirone Lambros wrote. “I believe these two goals are synergistic; economic growth makes sense financially as our commercial tax base is critical to help offset our residential tax burden.”

Lambros also explained her efforts on the Council Finance Committee and its future projects.

“We are looking at ways that our municipal properties could better serve the town, how we can capture federal infrastructure funding for a wide array of capital improvement projects,” she wrote. “To better serve the diverse needs of our residents, we are exploring options for a community center and we are investing more in our parks and recreational amenities.”

In addition to the town councilmember seats, several other local elected positions are up for election. For the Board of County Commissioners, incumbent Democrat Nina D. Melker and Democratic candidate Cathleen Lewis are running against Republican candidates Andrew Kotula Jr. and Michael Chianese. Princeton School Board incumbents Deborah Bronfeld, Susan Kanter and Dafna Kendal are running against Margarita “Rita” Rafalovsky and Lishian “Lisa” Wu in the school board election. The five candidates are vying for three total seats on the board.

Those eligible to vote in New Jersey can participate in in-person early voting from Oct. 29 through Nov. 6. Polls are open  Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The early voting place for Princeton is located at the Princeton Shopping Center, around back by Rita's Italian Ice, at 300 N. Harrison St. 

Polls for the general election on Nov. 8 are open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. In-person voters residing on the Princeton University campus — Districts 7 & 8 — will be held at the Princeton Hook and Ladder Firehouse located at 27 N. Harrison Street.

The deadline to apply for a mail-in ballot by mail is Nov. 1 and the deadline for in-person mail-in ballot applications is Nov. 7 at 3 p.m. Mail-in ballots must be postmarked or delivered to a ballot drop box on or before Nov. 8 at 8 p.m. Princeton has two secure ballot drop box locations located near the Dinky Station and Wawa, around the circular drop-off, at 152 Alexander St. or at the front of the Princeton Municipal Building at 400 Witherspoon St.

Outside of Princeton, during this midterm election year, all 435 seats in the House of Representatives and 35 of the 100 seats in the Senate will be contested. As of Oct. 22, more than 5.5 million people have cast votes in person or by mail.

Lia Opperman is an assistant news editor for the ‘Prince who often covers University affairs, political coverage, and student life. Please direct any corrections requests to corrections@dailyprincetonian.com.

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