Lawsuit Filed in New Jersey Federal Court Challenging Constitutionality of Partisan Primaries

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March 21, 2014
Independent Voter Project

On March 5, 2014, the coalition EndPartisanship.org filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court in Newark, New Jersey, challenging the constitutionality of partisan primaries. The suit argues that every voter should have full and equal access to every stage of the electoral process, including the primaries, regardless of party affiliation.

The lawsuit has not gone unnoticed by local media:

Primaries Barring 50% of Electorate Challenged in New Jersey Lawsuit

The Committee for a Unified Independent Party and The Independent Voter Project, which together form Endpartisanship.org, have joined a group of seven registered voters in filing the suit against Secretary of State Kim Guadagno seeking to have the current primary system declared unconstitutional because it bars nearly 50 percent of all state voters from the process.

“Defendant barred nearly half of New Jersey’s registered voters from participating in New Jersey’s 2013 primary election because they exercised their right not to associate with either the Democrat or Republican Party,” the brief, filed in District Court earlier this month, states. “This action seeks to protect the fundamental right to vote under the New Jersey Constitution and U.S. Constitution from the condition required by the New Jersey Primary Election Law that a voter forfeit his or her First Amendment Right not to associate with a political party.”

The suit goes on to claim that the state, which foots the bill for the annual primary election, is violating the New Jersey constitution by allocating money for the primaries, which are held on behalf of private political parties.


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A related article can be read here, Fighting for Voters Without Parties fromt the Daily Record, dated March 25, 2014.

10 thoughts on “Lawsuit Filed in New Jersey Federal Court Challenging Constitutionality of Partisan Primaries

  1. Jed Ziggler

    If the primary is taxpayer funded, then all taxpayers should have equal access to the primaries. If the primaries are privately funded by the parties (as they should be), then the parties should have discretion to conduct them as they wish. This is not a difficult concept.

  2. Deran

    So, the Committee for a United Independent Party evolved out the Lenora Fulani/Fred Newman New Alliance Party via their involvement with the Perot campaign? And now CUIP are trying to break political parties? Are these people at all related to the billionaire behind the Top Two primary movement?

  3. Richard Winger

    No independent voter is New Jersey is excluded from voting in a Democratic or Republican primary. On primary day, if an independent candidate walks into the polling place, he or she is free to ask for a major party primary ballot. That voter will then be automatically listed as a member of the party whose primary ballot was chosen. But the voter, after voting, is then free to fill out a new voter registration form, going back to independent status.

  4. George Phillies

    An amusing solution is to have an Independent Primary, in which independent candidates may petition onto the Unenrolled Voter ballot, and everyone not enrolled in a party can vote in the unenrolled primary.

  5. Electoral Watch

    Wow, what a great coalition! Party primary subsidies must ended. It is a key to purging all political parties from publoic life so that only truly independent politics remain.

    And yes, one fo the founding organizations of this coalition helped craft nonpartisan majority-runoff elections in California.

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