New Jersey Secretary of State Asks Federal Court to Dismiss Lawsuit on Semi-Closed Primary

On May 9, the New Jersey Secretary of State filed a brief in Balsam v Guadagno, U.S. District Court 2:14cv-1388. This is the case, filed in March 2014, in which some New Jersey voters complain that they want to vote in Democratic or Republican primaries, but they don’t want to be listed as members of those parties.

As to the point that the voters’ complain that their right to vote is being injured, the state’s brief says, “Their mere desire is overborne by the countervailing and legitimate right of political parties to exclude non-members from their nominating processes.”

As to the point that the New Jersey Constitution seems to have a provision making it illegal for the state to pay for the primaries, the state says that is a matter for state court, and also that the particular voters who filed the lawsuit don’t have standing because they haven’t showed how the payment injures them specifically.

New Jersey lets independent voters vote in major party primaries. However, if an independent chooses to vote in a major party primary, he or she is then listed as a party member. However, anyone is always free to re-register and revert back to independent status.

The plaintiffs haven’t yet filed a brief in this case.

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