Judge rules New Jersey ballots give an unfair advantage to establishment candidates

 April 1, 2024

According to Fox News, a recent decision by a federal judge could have a major impact on New Jersey's election races. 

Judge Zahid N. Quraishi ruled on Friday that the state's ballot provides an unfair advantage to party-backed candidates.

New ballots will resemble those used in other states

At issue is the location where each candidate is found on a ballot, with established candidates being placed in the same column as those running for president whereas others are relegated to what critics call "ballot Siberia."

Fox News cited research by Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Policy at Rutgers associate dean Julia Sass Rubin which found that ballot placement can affect a candidate's success by as much as 38%.

Under the new ballot rules, names of candidates will appear under the offices which they are running for in a system similar to that used in other states.

However, that change was opposed by a lawyer representing New Jersey county attorneys, who called on Quraishi to delay his ruling.

Judge says he "recognizes the magnitude of this decision"

"Implementing an entirely new style of ballot in five business days presents an undue risk to the administration of this year's primary elections," Rajiv D. Parikh was quoted as saying.

Fox News noted that the Morris County Republican Committee spoke up as well, announcing that it has interpreted Quraishi as only applying to the Democratic primaries scheduled for June 4.

For his part, Quraishi stated that he "recognizes the magnitude of this decision" before adding, "The integrity of the democratic process for a primary election is at stake."

Quraishi's ruling was welcomed by New Jersey Democratic Rep. Andy Kim, who is hoping to win scandal-plagued Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez's seat was one of the lawsuit's plaintiffs.

Congressman pledges to keep "fighting for the change we need"

"YES! For the people!" Kim wrote in a post on X, the social media platform previously known as Twitter. Kim later went on to add that "[t]oday has been a surreal experience to say the least."

"Seeing something 'impossible' happen leaves you with that feeling. We still have obstacles and challenges ahead, but I promise you I will keep fighting to do everything I can to permanently fix our broken politics," the congressman insisted.

"We fight not just for fair elections but all other important reforms needed to heal our democracy. So let’s use the progress today to recommit ourselves to fighting for the change we need in NJ and our country," Kim concluded.

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