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New Jerseyans are invited to share their stories and ideas about our democracy.

New Jersey's Democracy Conversation

See what your neighbors are saying about democracy in our state.

Use the submission link below to add your own thoughts to the conversation. Responses from your fellow New Jerseyans can be viewed below. Use the various filters and click the "Submit" button to see only the responses that fit your selected criteria.


Tell Your Story

What do you think about the state of our democracy? Add your personal reflection to the statewide conversation about democracy in America through a written statement, photograph, or audio/video submission.

Filters

“The first time I voted was in 1960 – for John F. Kennedy”

Howard
What do you remember about the first time you voted?

“I was happy to see that New York State had a Right to Life party”

Lisa , 60
What do you remember about the first time you voted?

“The feeling of awe, solemnity, and excitement”

Barbara , 70
What do you remember about the first time you voted?

“I was in 2nd grade and I was voting for the student council”

Adyant , 12
What do you remember about the first time you voted?

“He dressed in a suit every time he voted”

Albert , 74
What do you remember about the first time you voted?

“I hurried toward the Democrat table and she turned toward the Republican table”

Annie , 63
What do you remember about the first time you voted?

“I felt compelled to vote for my parents choice”

Poppy , 18
What do you remember about the first time you voted?

“I will vote for the 1st time this November”

Donna , 17
What do you remember about the first time you voted?

“No vote = no voice”

Anonymous , 68
Why is voting important to you?

“Every vote matters”

Herb , 68
Why is voting important to you?

“The best way to affect change is to vote”

Quinn , 43
Why is voting important to you?

“Why live in a world you have no say in”

Azirah , 16
Why is voting important to you?

“Politicians, on paper, are supposed to help people”

Michael , 29
Why is voting important to you?

“Even if my side doesn’t succeed, I want to try”

Emma , 37
Why is voting important to you?

“It gives me a voice that my grandmother didn’t have”

Francesca , 87
Why is voting important to you?

“They valued the rule of here and never failed to vote”

Karen , 75
Why is voting important to you?

“It gives me a say”

Anonymous , 75
Why is voting important to you?

“Making your community a better place”

Andrea , 11
What does it mean to be a good citizen?

“Pays attention and participates”

Anonymous
What does it mean to be a good citizen?

“environmental agenda”

Wale , 36
What do you remember about the first time you voted?

“To give back to the community”

Faith , 18
What does it mean to be a good citizen?

“Uninformed citizens”

Samriddhi , 18
What are the main challenges facing democracy today?

“Your actions benefit those around you”

Shane , 18
What does it mean to be a good citizen?

“Many people risked their lives and have died for you to vote”

Ricky , 18
Why is voting important to you?

“To contribute towards the whole”

Yesin , 20
What does it mean to be a good citizen?

“Obeying the law and paying taxes”

Sean , 18
What does it mean to be a good citizen?

“Aware of current events”

Eva , 18
What does it mean to be a good citizen?

“I can’t vote, I’m an immigrant”

Samriddhi , 18
What do you remember about the first time you voted?

“Technology has allowed for ‘group think/echo chamber’ environments to flourish.”

Julius , 18
What are the main challenges facing democracy today?

“People who will govern my life for the next 4 years”

Samriddhi , 18
Why is voting important to you?

“In 7th grade for my school’s mock election”

Shane , 18
What do you remember about the first time you voted?

“A good citizen is aware of the whole story”

Melanie , 18
What does it mean to be a good citizen?

“It gets your voice out there”

Gus , 18
Why is voting important to you?

“Law abiding person that works hard”

Allan , 18
What does it mean to be a good citizen?

“Divided nation”

Dhwani , 18
What are the main challenges facing democracy today?

“Being up to date with what is happening in politics”

Erjana , 18
What does it mean to be a good citizen?

“Polarized views”

Swathi , 18
What are the main challenges facing democracy today?

“Inequalities”

Erjana , 18
What are the main challenges facing democracy today?

“Good people in power”

Dhwani , 18
Why is voting important to you?

“Women’s rights and gun rights”

Madeleine , 18
What are the main challenges facing democracy today?

“Being nervous”

Allan , 18
What do you remember about the first time you voted?

“To be present in the process of living in democracy”

Erjana , 18
Why is voting important to you?

“Caring for your community and environment”

Madeleine , 18
What does it mean to be a good citizen?

“Voting can impact our laws and very way of life”

Megan , 19
Why is voting important to you?

“To get a say in how the state/nation is run”

Farhana , 18
What do you remember about the first time you voted?

“To get Joe out”

James , 77
Why is voting important to you?

“To be as educated as much as you can”

Kyra , 20
What does it mean to be a good citizen?

“I was the only person there at the time under 35”

Megan , 19
What do you remember about the first time you voted?

“The first time I voted was through the mail-in ballot sheet”

Saoirse , 18
What do you remember about the first time you voted?

“The nation is divided”

Tom , 59
What are the main challenges facing democracy today?

“I remember feeling very insignificant”

Julius , 18
What do you remember about the first time you voted?

“Creating a net positive effect on the world”

Julius , 18
What does it mean to be a good citizen?

“Not littering”

Megan , 19
What does it mean to be a good citizen?

“Extreme polarization”

Megan , 19
What are the main challenges facing democracy today?

“Corporate greed”

Kara , 18
What are the main challenges facing democracy today?

“So many people forget the right to vote”

Tamara , 22
Why is voting important to you?

“My opinion matters”

Saoirse , 18
Why is voting important to you?

“Vote freely and without scrutiny”

Melanie , 18
What do you remember about the first time you voted?

“Provide for the community and obey laws”

Gabrielle , 18
What does it mean to be a good citizen?

“Those that are trying to silence others opinions”

Shane , 18
What are the main challenges facing democracy today?

“Help out in society and contribute to the community”

Angelina , 18
What does it mean to be a good citizen?

“It gives the people a voice”

Yejin , 20
Why is voting important to you?

“Politics will not change people, good people will”

Yejin , 20
What are the main challenges facing democracy today?

“I want to make my choices and voice heard”

Eva , 18
Why is voting important to you?

“Doesn’t represent all the voices”

Eva , 18
What are the main challenges facing democracy today?

“We should take advantage of that freedom”

Matthew , 18
Why is voting important to you?

“Actively participate”

Samriddhi , 18
What does it mean to be a good citizen?

“Your voice is being heard”

Shane , 18
Why is voting important to you?

“I want my right to a representative in office”

Gabrielle , 18
Why is voting important to you?

“Using skills or talents to contribute to society”

Jayden , 18
What does it mean to be a good citizen?

“protect democracy”

Kyra , 20
Why is voting important to you?

“Voting is something that has been fought hard for”

Melanie , 18
Why is voting important to you?

“I was a little scared when the curtain closed behind me”

James , 65
What do you remember about the first time you voted?

“It allows for people to have their voice heard”

Sharika , 17
Why is voting important to you?

“The lack of unity”

Gabriella , 18
What are the main challenges facing democracy today?

“Getting involved in one’s community”

Swathi , 18
What does it mean to be a good citizen?

“I want my voice to be heard”

Julie , 50
Why is voting important to you?

“Supporting our troops”

Rafi , 18
What does it mean to be a good citizen?

“Following the laws”

Saoirse , 18
What does it mean to be a good citizen?

“Stand for the ones who need our help

Gus , 18
What does it mean to be a good citizen?

“Always involved in their community”

Amy , 18
What does it mean to be a good citizen?

“White nationalistic fascist conservatives”

Kyra , 20
What are the main challenges facing democracy today?

“Participate in government”

Farhana , 18
Why is voting important to you?

“Follow the laws”

Farhana , 18
What does it mean to be a good citizen?

“Holding people accountable”

Sharika , 17
What does it mean to be a good citizen?

“Don’t always listen”

Saorise , 18
What are the main challenges facing democracy today?

“Not putting ego to the side”

Gabrielle , 18
What are the main challenges facing democracy today?

“It means that I have a voice in my community”

Swathi , 18
Why is voting important to you?

“Republicans and Democrats are becoming politically polarized”

Gus , 18
What are the main challenges facing democracy today?

“Average Joe cannot afford to live”

Jillian , 44
What are the main challenges facing democracy today?

“Cancel culture”

Rafi , 18
What are the main challenges facing democracy today?

“It allows me to express my opinion with no judgement”

Gabriella , 18
Why is voting important to you?

“Being heard and making an impact”

Amy , 18
Why is voting important to you?

“Your voice is heard”

Sharika , 17
What do you remember about the first time you voted?

“I’m looking forward to doing so”

Erjana , 18
What do you remember about the first time you voted?

“There will still be issues that I don’t feel will or can be solved as a state”

Trista , 18
Why is voting important to you?

“Works to make the country better”

Susan , 35
What does it mean to be a good citizen?

“Lack of diversity in power”

Melanie , 18
What are the main challenges facing democracy today?

“I can be part of a group”

Maddeine , 18
Why is voting important to you?

“Misinformation or contradictory information”

Sharika , 17
What are the main challenges facing democracy today?

“Have some compassion and empathy!”

Tara , 47
What does it mean to be a good citizen?

“listen to the voices of the people”

Mike , 16
Why is voting important to you?

“I rushed to get my paperwork”

Nancy , 23
What do you remember about the first time you voted?

“I felt so grown up”

Renee , 50
What do you remember about the first time you voted?

“If we lose our right to vote we lose our right to choose”

Maribel , 57
Why is voting important to you?

“follow the rules”

Lavanya , 33
What does it mean to be a good citizen?

“it was a thrill”

Michael , 71
What do you remember about the first time you voted?

“corruption”

N.
What are the main challenges facing democracy today?

“Careful, planned prejudice”

Evo , 15
What are the main challenges facing democracy today?

“Not being truthful”

Stan , 77
What are the main challenges facing democracy today?

“The internet is making us childish!”

Anonymous , 40
What are the main challenges facing democracy today?

“Material conditions”

Anonymous
What are the main challenges facing democracy today?

“context”

Amy , 46
What are the main challenges facing democracy today?

“Creeping authoritarianism”

Bill , 83
What are the main challenges facing democracy today?

“PAC money”

Priyantha , 66
What are the main challenges facing democracy today?

“two separate worlds”

Christine , 37
What are the main challenges facing democracy today?

“schools teach biased versions of American history”

Jose , 40
What are the main challenges facing democracy today?

“Donald Trump et al”

Pam , 81
What are the main challenges facing democracy today?

“Individuals who do not work”

A Farmer's Daughter
What are the main challenges facing democracy today?

“The movement to limit voting”

Anonymous
What are the main challenges facing democracy today?

“we are dependent upon each other”

Krista , 40
What does it mean to be a good citizen?

“lies in public space”

Nicole , 72
What are the main challenges facing democracy today?

“respect for others”

Anonymous , 95
What does it mean to be a good citizen?

“dishonesty…censorship”

Marck , 58
What are the main challenges facing democracy today?

“media not reporting facts”

KTN , 49
What are the main challenges facing democracy today?

“my opinion/voice is heard”

Amelia , 38
Why is voting important to you?

“far right terrorists”

Isabel , 88
What are the main challenges facing democracy today?

“democracy won’t survive”

Hossein , 22
What are the main challenges facing democracy today?

“politicians invested in turning back the times”

Karen , 60
What are the main challenges facing democracy today?

“I was helping shape the course of our country”

Kasey , 24
What do you remember about the first time you voted?

“takes individual responsibility”

Greg , 28
What does it mean to be a good citizen?

“I’m seen and heard”

Quincy , 21
Why is voting important to you?

“to help”

Anonymous
What does it mean to be a good citizen?

“focus on important issues”

Roxanne , 70
What does it mean to be a good citizen?

“my vote doesn’t count”

Anonymous
What are the main challenges facing democracy today?

“we all have responsibility”

Barbara , 88
What are the main challenges facing democracy today?

“actively engage”

Ben , 38
What does it mean to be a good citizen?

“magic!”

Anonymous
What do you remember about the first time you voted?

“candidates who…represent the interests of all of us”

Patricia , 19
What does it mean to be a good citizen?

“contribute to the fabric of democracy”

Claire , 60
Why is voting important to you?

“values of the preamble of the Constitution”

Cheyenne , 32
What does it mean to be a good citizen?

“returning land stewardship to my people”

Sophia , 19
Why is voting important to you?

“What we say and how we say it matters”

Eileen , 41
What are the main challenges facing democracy today?

“active participant”

Anonymous
What does it mean to be a good citizen?

“I was bound and determined”

Carol , 58
What do you remember about the first time you voted?

“do service”

Maria , 51
What does it mean to be a good citizen?

“one party that is totalitarian”

Laura , 62
What are the main challenges facing democracy today?

“committed to public service”

Ariel , 38
What does it mean to be a good citizen?

“every election day is a chance to be thankful”

John , 75
Why is voting important to you?

“thankful to have my voice heard”

Ann Marie , 69
Why is voting important to you?

“a commitment to serve the greater good”

Leslie
What does it mean to be a good citizen?

“cynicism”

S. , 35
What are the main challenges facing democracy today?

“culture of quickness”

Anonymous
What are the main challenges facing democracy today?

“Practicing radical empathy”

Allie , 26
What does it mean to be a good citizen?

“The people who make the rules are a panel made up of Democrats and Republicans”

Fred , 71
What are the main challenges facing democracy today?

“The very rich are taking far more than their ‘share’ just because they can”

Eleanor , 75
What are the main challenges facing democracy today?

“Threats of violence as acceptable methods to accomplish their goals”

Maryann , 67
What are the main challenges facing democracy today?

“Help the elderly people and the community of need”

Mina , 9
What does it mean to be a good citizen?

“Help the community”

Niya , 9
What does it mean to be a good citizen?

“There were party levers”

James , 51
What do you remember about the first time you voted?

“Good citizens live according to God”

Anonymous , 62
What does it mean to be a good citizen?

“Equal educational opportunity…Accessible healthcare…Freedom of speech…”

M , 59
What are the main challenges facing democracy today?

“Misinformation”

Marrin , 30
What are the main challenges facing democracy today?

“We’ve allowed wealthy people to exert an insane level of power”

Larissa , 56
What are the main challenges facing democracy today?

“A good citizen prioritizes our interconnectedness over individualism”

Larissa , 56
What does it mean to be a good citizen?

“We are increasingly living in a gerontocracy”

Carlos , 20
What are the main challenges facing democracy today?

“The challenge to each of us to *listen*”

Roberta , 56
What are the main challenges facing democracy today?

“Participating on a local level to ensure the common good”

Carin , 41
What does it mean to be a good citizen?

“Keep the powerful in check and ensure they work for the betterment of all Americans”

Elias , 26
What are the main challenges facing democracy today?

“Peeking out at the poll workers”

Gwen , 45
What do you remember about the first time you voted?

“A bright future require us to nurture the hope that such a future is possible”

Tyler , 34
What are the main challenges facing democracy today?

“Taking the time to learn about the important policy issues of the day”

Michael , 57
What does it mean to be a good citizen?

“One’s vote was an expression of one’s commitment and beliefs”

Howard , 61
What do you remember about the first time you voted?

“The rights I have today are not givens”

K , 33
Why is voting important to you?

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