Herb Tarbous, a progressive activist from Piscataway, will seek the Democratic nomination for Middlesex county clerk on a platform of eliminating organization lines in primary elections.
Elaine Flynn announced this week that she will not seek re-election to a sixth term after 25 years in office.
“It was during a discussion I had with Elaine last year regarding ballot construction and the use of the county line in the primary election in which a key distinction occurred to me,” Tarbous said. “The use of the county line, while considered to be a valuable party building tool by some, has also been used to exclude people from the political process when deployed in the county committee races.”
According to Tarbous, “a true democracy does not use a ballot device to exclude grassroots participation in our political system and our government.”
“As Middlesex County Clerk I will work tirelessly to lobby for changes on behalf of the people of Middlesex County who have been excluded from participating by working to ensure a completely democratic electoral system,” said Tarbous.
Middlesex County Democrats will hold an open convention in March to award their organization line, and Tarbous will have an opportunity to make his case to his fellow county committee members.
He says he supports legislation sponsored by Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker (D-South Brunswick) to establish ranked choice voting.
Tarbous ran for Middlesex County Democratic chairman in 2019 and lost to incumbent Kevin McCabe. He serves as vice president of the Piscataway Progressive Democratic Organization which is part of the Central Jersey Progressive Democratic coalition.
He was elected to the Middlesex County Democratic County Committee in June of 2017, running off the line. Tarbous has also been a supporter of a grassroots group, Take Back New Jersey, after reports of politically-motivated tax breaks at the New Jersey Economic Development Authority.
A 61-year-old retired engineer, Tarbous says his work performing complex systems analysis and design for Telcordia/Ericsson and Bell Labs/AT&T Labs will help him use the county clerk’s office to protect the integrity of elections.
“Election security is of paramount importance, I believe my experiences analyzing and designing network surveillance software has prepared me well for this 21st century challenge,” he said.