Want politics to be more civil? Host a potluck through Voting Block

August 17, 2017 Joe Amditis

What issues are most important to you and your neighbors this November? Taxes? Crime? Policing? Education? Here’s an opportunity for you to amplify your concerns and talk to your neighbors about what matters most.

This November, New Jerseyans will choose a new governor without an incumbent in the race for the first time in 12 years. It’s a critical moment for the future of the state, and it comes at a time when Americans are deeply divided along ideological lines.

Voting Block – a collaboration of newsrooms serving New Jersey – is working to bridge these political fissures and support more civil civic dialogue. We’re organizing “Political Potlucks” in neighborhoods across the Garden State to spark constructive conversations about politics ahead of the election. And we want you to be a part of it.

We like to think of them like block parties, where you get to break the cardinal rule of dinner-party etiquette: you get to talk about politics.

The premise is simple: Invite your neighbors or friends to your house, favorite restaurant or anywhere that can host a group meal. You can even host a conversation at your church, synagogue or barbershop. Ask guests to bring their favorite dishes, fire up the grill or order in pizza. We will help you with the rest.

We’ve created a guide to help you host your own Political Potluck. It includes step-by-step instructions on how to organize your event and guide a conversation along five major discussion questions. By participating, you’ll inform our coverage of the governor’s race and spark healthier political discourse in the process.

Want to join? Just fill out this short form to host your own Political Potluck, or join one near you.


Why host a Political Potluck?

Create more civil political discourse. The goal of these conversations isn’t to argue, but to listen, learn and share your political beliefs and priorities with people from across the political spectrum.

Add your voice to our Voting Block coverage. We’ll feature insights from your Political Potluck with other conversations from across the state through an interactive map. Our newsrooms may also follow-up with your group for their reporting.

Make your priorities heard. Voting Block newsrooms will compile your insights into a people’s agenda that we’ll deliver to the gubernatorial candidates before the election.

Get your questions answered. Our reporters will look for answers to questions that arise in your Political Potluck conversation and provide more coverage on the issues raised by your group.


Sign up to host or join

Take two minutes to fill out the form below and let us know if you’re interested in hosting or joining a Political Potluck. If you plan to be a host, we will send you the “Political Potluck” toolkit, which includes our guide and some Voting Block swag to sweeten the deal.

After your Political Potluck, we’ll ask you to share highlights from your discussion with our newsrooms through a quick survey. Your insights will help inform our reporting and will be featured with neighborhoods from across the state on our website and in a report we’ll create for the candidates.


You can follow our ongoing Voting Block coverage and hear insights from other Political Potlucks on our website, votingblocknj.com and on Twitter by following the #votingblocknj hashtag.

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Joe Amditis

Joe Amditis is the associate director of the Center for Cooperative Media at Montclair State University. He can be reached via email at amditisj@montclair.edu and on Twitter at @jsamditis.

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