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JCTC’s Down the Line/Film/Political Documentary

May 23 @ 7:00 pm

Down The Line / Film / Political Documentary
5/23/24 @7:00 PM Doors open at 6:00
Screening time: 15 min.

Preview screening of the DOWN THE LINE documentary will be followed by a talkback including filmmaker Vinit Parmar, former Congressional candidate Hector Oseguera, legal scholar Professor Julia Sass Rubin, and Mayor Steve Fulop. Hear directly from the key figures involved in abolishing the 80+-year-old practice of awarding “line” ballot positions to favored candidates. Democracy in New Jersey is on the line.

DOWN THE LINE is the documentary that examines New Jersey’s primary election county-line voter ballots, which are designed to favor candidates selected by county leaders. Unique to New Jersey, the ballot format empowers the county “bosses” and the fight for fair ballots reaches a critical turning point with Senate Democratic candidate Andy Kim’s legal case in this 2024 election cycle.  Former and current candidates, election experts, and voters reveal why the New Jersey county line is uniquely influential in shaping the politics of our state.

Synopsis:Hector Oseguera, a 2020 congressional candidate, examines how New Jersey’s primary ballots are manipulated. Despite having strong community backing, he lost his race, raising concerns about undemocratic tactics used by powerful political groups to retain control. Oseguera reveals the practice of ‘voting down the line,’ where ballot designs subtly push voters towards a pre-selected list of candidates. This system, unique to New Jersey, significantly disadvantages independent candidates like him by reducing their visibility.

Experts Julia Sass Rubin and Yael Niv explain how this design manipulates voter perceptions, making the endorsed candidates seem like the better options, thus ensuring their victories. Oseguera also discusses the dynamics of the 2024 Senate campaign between Andy Kim and First Lady of New Jersey Tammy Murphy, leading to Andy Kim’s lawsuit challenging county voter ballot designs. This action led to a landmark decision overturning New Jersey’s nearly century-old practice of county-line ballots, reshaping the state’s political landscape

This vent is part of Pembroke College, Oxford University’s 400th-year anniversary global celebration series. Pembroke New Jersey Alumni Ambassador HyunJu Kwak, filmmaker Vinit Parmar, and special guests invite you to learn more behind the headlines.


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