Action Together New Jersey has formed a new non-partisan, non-profit advocacy group to educate residents on vote-by-mail as a way to reduce barriers for low-income communities, as well as communities of color and New Jerseyans with disability.
ATNJ Education Fund (ATNJEF) will be chaired by Winn Khuong, who founded ATNJ in 2016.
Ahmed Al-Shehab will serve as treasurer, Samantha Bobila as secretary, Scott Salmon as a member of the Board of Trustees. Donna Pepe will serve on the Advisory Board.
“My family helped the Americans to usher in democracy during the Vietnam War. They failed,” said Khuong, emigrated from Vietnam as a child. “While we live in a democracy here in the U.S., the fight to strengthen our democracy on issues such as having secure elections, lowering barriers to voting, and making sure everyone is counted in the Census are critical now.”
Khuong has been one of the statewide leaders in expanding early voting in New Jersey.
Al-Shehab, a technology entrepreneur, co-founded the New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations seventeen years ago, and serves on the state and national boards.
“I strongly believe in the power of grassroots organizing and I feel that ATNJEF is one of the most effective grassroots organization,” he said.
Bobila, the director of fund development for the YWCA of Princeton, is a professional fundraiser.
“The mission of ATNJEF has never been more critical than at this moment,” Bobila said of her service on the new board. “I believe in the power of grassroots advocacy work – where people are encouraged and welcomed to participate in democracy and their efforts are valued.”
Salmon, a rising star in New Jersey election law, briefly sought the Democratic nomination for Congress in the 7th district in 2018. He withdrew and endorsed Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-Ringoes) and later became counsel to his campaign that ousted five-term Rep. Leonard Lance (R-Clinton Township) two years ago.
“ATNJEF has established itself as the premier organization for voter education and outreach on Vote By Mail, which has been demonstrated to decrease the barriers to voting along economic, racial, and educational lines,” Salmon said. “It is so gratifying to see such an organization build itself from the ground up and I’m excited to help ATNJEF develop into the change we need.”
Salmon represented Democratic candidates in several high-profile election law cases, including the gluegate race in Morris Township last year that forced all votes cast in a local race to be counted.
Pepe was a co-founder of Emerge NJ and later served on the board of Emerge NY. She runs a Madison-based public relations and marketing company, Communications Strategies.