The optional ballot question for the 2023 mock election concerns climate change and energy resources. This is not only one of the pressing issues of our time but has also been a focus of political debate regarding state policies. Teachers should also note that the NJ Student Learning Standards now place a greater emphasis on the issue of climate change, and the ballot question is one way to help address those standards. Participation in the issue question is optional, but we hope teachers and students will carefully consider it in addition to assessing the merits of the candidates for the New Jersey Legislature.
Issue questions are included in the mock election to familiarize students with the idea that as adults they will vote on public questions as well as candidates. We will continue to offer links to the issues from recent elections for teachers who may be looking for sample issue questions for the current class of students. The information regarding ranked-preference voting in primaries is included to facilitate class discussions on possible means to address the current partisan environment. Since voting during a pandemic was an issue of historical significance, we have included information regarding voting procedures in New Jersey so that students can participate in the actual election by encouraging parents and other adults to cast their vote in a safe manner of their choosing. It is also hoped that high school students eligible to vote will embrace this important civic responsibility.
2023 Ballot Question - Climate Change and Energy Resources in NJWhere should New Jersey direct its primary investment and support for future energy resources?
c. Nuclear energy
d. Natural gas
e. Exploration of new sources of fossil fuels such as oil and coal
Explanation: Voters are being asked to choose where they think New Jersey should put its primary or main focus for energy resources for the future. The choice of a primary or main focus does not mean that other resources cannot also be used. The question is asking where New Jersey should first direct its money, research and other investments. Below are suggested resources to facilitate discussion of the issue question. Some of the resources refer to the 2016 and 2020 presidential elections.
Below is a list of potential resources to help teachers and students research the ballot question and become informed voters. The list is not a complete collection of available resources but is merely intended to provide a convenient starting point. As always, teachers and students should emphasize good media literacy skills and be mindful of potential bias.
- Princeton University – New Jersey Energy Profile and Impact of Individual Plants andd Refineries
- New Jersey Energy Profile – U.S. Energy Information Administration
- United States Department of Energy – New Jersey Energy Sector Risk Profile
- Rutgers University – New Jersey Electricity Data
- Rutgers University – Renewable Energy Data
- Rutgers University – New Jersey Clean Energy Resource Network
- United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission – New Jersey Facilities
- PSEG Nuclear LLC – Salem and Hope Creek Corporate Site
- New Jersey Nuclear Generating Stations – NJ Office of Emergency Management
- New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection – Solar Power
- New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection – Wind Power
- NJ Spotlight – New NJ Bill Mandates 100% Clean Energy By 2035
- Office of the Governor | Governor Murphy Announces Filing of Landmark Advanced Clean Cars II Proposal (nj.gov)
How to Vote in New Jersey/How Students Can HelpJust because students are under 18 years of age does not mean that they cannot contribute to our democracy and the electoral process. Students can share the information below with the adults in their family and encourage them to vote. Students over 16 years of age can also apply to work as poll workers by clicking the link below.