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

Federal judge dismisses law suit challenging NJ primary election system

Aug. 18, 2014
Federal judge dismisses suite challenging NJ primary election system
by Karen Sudol in The Record


...“By denying over 2.6 million New Jersey voters the right to cast a vote in primary elections, the state has disenfranchised nearly half of its electorate, thereby, giving private political parties a state subsidized advantage and partisan voters greater and unequal access to the voting franchise,” the lawsuit contended.

Harry Kresky, one of three lawyers representing the plaintiffs, said they were considering an appeal.

“Judge Chesler treated the case from a vantage point that the plaintiffs who were mainly independent voters were seeking to vote in the primaries,” he said. “That’s not what they’re seeking – it’s whether the state can fund and conduct an election system that gives favorable treatment to voters who are members of major parties.”...
Harry Kresky, one of three lawyers representing the plaintiffs, said they were considering an appeal.
“Judge Chesler treated the case from a vantage point that the plaintiffs who were mainly independent voters were seeking to vote in the primaries,” he said. “That’s not what they’re seeking – it’s whether the state can fund and conduct an election system that gives favorable treatment to voters who are members of major parties.”
- See more at: http://www.northjersey.com/news/federal-judge-dismisses-suit-challenging-nj-primary-election-system-1.1069358#sthash.77x0Bn8J.dpuf
Harry Kresky, one of three lawyers representing the plaintiffs, said they were considering an appeal.
“Judge Chesler treated the case from a vantage point that the plaintiffs who were mainly independent voters were seeking to vote in the primaries,” he said. “That’s not what they’re seeking – it’s whether the state can fund and conduct an election system that gives favorable treatment to voters who are members of major parties.”
- See more at: http://www.northjersey.com/news/federal-judge-dismisses-suit-challenging-nj-primary-election-system-1.1069358#sthash.77x0Bn8J.dpuf
The Record
Independent voters who challenged the constitutionality of New Jersey’s primary election system by claiming they had a right to vote in elections that nominate candidates for general runoffs received a blow last week when a federal judge determined that the system will remain intact.
Judge Stanley R. Chesler of U.S District Court in Newark wrote that while the plaintiffs in the suit believe the fundamental right to vote extends to primary elections conducted by political parties of which they are not members, that is not the law established by the U.S. Supreme Court.
“The Supreme Court has drawn an important distinction between casting a ballot in a general election, which implicates the fundamental right to vote and nominating a candidate for a general election, which does not,” he wrote in his 12-page decision that dismissed the suit on Thursday.
The lawsuit was filed in March by seven registered voters – four unaffiliated, including one from Bergen County, and three registered with a party – and two non-profit organizations that represent independent voters. Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, who serves as the acting secretary of state, was named as the defendant because she administers the state election system.
The plaintiffs challenged the constitutionality of New Jersey’s primary election system that allows political parties the right to use taxpayer money to pay for the elections. By appropriating public money for private purposes, it forces unaffiliated voters to pay for an election process that denies them full participation, according to the lawsuit.
“By denying over 2.6 million New Jersey voters the right to cast a vote in primary elections, the state has disenfranchised nearly half of its electorate, thereby, giving private political parties a state subsidized advantage and partisan voters greater and unequal access to the voting franchise,” the lawsuit contended.
Harry Kresky, one of three lawyers representing the plaintiffs, said they were considering an appeal.
“Judge Chesler treated the case from a vantage point that the plaintiffs who were mainly independent voters were seeking to vote in the primaries,” he said. “That’s not what they’re seeking – it’s whether the state can fund and conduct an election system that gives favorable treatment to voters who are members of major parties.”
Representatives of the governor’s office could not immediately be reached for comment on Monday evening.
- See more at: http://www.northjersey.com/news/federal-judge-dismisses-suit-challenging-nj-primary-election-system-1.1069358#sthash.77x0Bn8J.dpuf
The Record
Independent voters who challenged the constitutionality of New Jersey’s primary election system by claiming they had a right to vote in elections that nominate candidates for general runoffs received a blow last week when a federal judge determined that the system will remain intact.
Judge Stanley R. Chesler of U.S District Court in Newark wrote that while the plaintiffs in the suit believe the fundamental right to vote extends to primary elections conducted by political parties of which they are not members, that is not the law established by the U.S. Supreme Court.
“The Supreme Court has drawn an important distinction between casting a ballot in a general election, which implicates the fundamental right to vote and nominating a candidate for a general election, which does not,” he wrote in his 12-page decision that dismissed the suit on Thursday.
The lawsuit was filed in March by seven registered voters – four unaffiliated, including one from Bergen County, and three registered with a party – and two non-profit organizations that represent independent voters. Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, who serves as the acting secretary of state, was named as the defendant because she administers the state election system.
The plaintiffs challenged the constitutionality of New Jersey’s primary election system that allows political parties the right to use taxpayer money to pay for the elections. By appropriating public money for private purposes, it forces unaffiliated voters to pay for an election process that denies them full participation, according to the lawsuit.
“By denying over 2.6 million New Jersey voters the right to cast a vote in primary elections, the state has disenfranchised nearly half of its electorate, thereby, giving private political parties a state subsidized advantage and partisan voters greater and unequal access to the voting franchise,” the lawsuit contended.
Harry Kresky, one of three lawyers representing the plaintiffs, said they were considering an appeal.
“Judge Chesler treated the case from a vantage point that the plaintiffs who were mainly independent voters were seeking to vote in the primaries,” he said. “That’s not what they’re seeking – it’s whether the state can fund and conduct an election system that gives favorable treatment to voters who are members of major parties.”
Representatives of the governor’s office could not immediately be reached for comment on Monday evening.
- See more at: http://www.northjersey.com/news/federal-judge-dismisses-suit-challenging-nj-primary-election-system-1.1069358#sthash.77x0Bn8J.dpuf