Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Federal judge rejects councilwoman's challenge to NJ primary system

Federal judge rejects Morristown councilwoman’s challenge to New Jersey primary system

A federal judge has upheld New Jersey’s closed primary system, rejecting a legal challenge from Morristown Council President Rebecca Feldman and others who contended the taxpayer-funded primaries unfairly exclude nearly half the state’s voters, who are unaffiliated...
Community Activist Tia Williams talking to voters in Jersey City


“The Supreme Court has drawn an important distinction between casting a ballot in a general election, which implies the ‘fundamental’ right to vote, and nominating a candidate for general election, which does not,” wrote Judge Chesler, granting New Jersey Secretary of State Kim Guadagno’s motion to dismiss the case.



Harry Kresky, one of the lawyers representing Feldman and eight other plaintiffs, said they are weighing an appeal.

Harry Kresky, Councel for independentvoting.org
“We think the Court misunderstood our argument. The judge addressed this as a case of Independents wanting to participate in party politics. That’s not what this case is about. It’s about whether the state of New Jersey can fund and administer a system that’s for the parties and not for anyone else,” said Kresky, adding he was surprised that no oral arguments were heard in the case.



Morristown NJ Council President Rebecca Feldman
Photo by Kevin Coughlin


“This is only the first round,” said Feldman, an Independent on the town council, in a statement. “The other plaintiffs and I never thought it would be easy to get beyond the hold the major parties have on our election system.”







Go to independenvoting.org for more information about the national movement for a fair and open -- and nonpartisan -- primary election system.

A tip -- you can read more from Harry Kresky about our current constitutional crisis here.

- NH

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