U.S. District Court in New Jersey Rejects Lawsuit on Primaries Only One Day After Last Brief Filed

On August 14, U.S. District Court Judge Stanley R. Chesler upheld New Jersey’s closed primary system, in Balsam v Guadagno, 14-1388. Here is the twelve-page decision. The decision came down only one day after plaintiffs’ last brief had been filed.

The plaintiffs had not said anything about how independent candidates and the nominees of unqualified parties get on the general election ballot. However, the judge made reference to that subject, and said, accurately, that it is relatively easy (New Jersey only requires 800 signatures for such candidates to get on the ballot for statewide office, and never more than 100 signatures for other office) Thanks to Rick Hasen for the link.

UPDATE: here is an article about the decision by Shawn Griffiths. It says the plaintiffs will appeal to the Third Circuit.


U.S. District Court in New Jersey Rejects Lawsuit on Primaries Only One Day After Last Brief Filed — No Comments

  1. What does the ease of placing an independent candidate on the ballot have to do with the right to vote? The judge appears to confuse ballot access with the right to vote.

    Was Smith v Allwright wrongly decided?

  2. “The rights of voters and the rights of candidates do not lend themselves to neat separation.” Bullock v Carter, 405 US 134, at 143 (1972).

  3. What the court meant in Bullock v Carter was that even though the filing fee fell directly on potential candidates it ultimately burdened the right to vote by restricting which candidates a voter might vote for. How does that apply to the case in New Jersey where voters are prevented from voting for the candidates they prefer. Remember, that in Bullock v Carter, the court said that the fact that a candidate could run as an independent candidate and avoid the fee altogether, was no substitute. The court in New Jersey said just the opposite. You can go support an independent candidate if you don’t want to be disenfranchised.

    Do you think that a voter should be able to contribute to a candidate affiliated with a different party than the voter? Display a yard sign or bumper sticker? How about host a candidate meeting, where canape’s are served and issues discussed?

    You would presumably answer that all these forms of political association are protected by the 1st Amendment. Am I right?

    So why should political association in the form of actually voting for a candidate, which is its ultimate expression be denied by the state? Why?

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