Thursday, June 8, 2017

NJ Primary Disenfranchises Million of Voters

Millions of New Jersey Voters were faced with a difficult decision Tuesday: Join a Party or don’t Vote at all.
That’s because the first stage of New Jersey’s Taxpayer-Funded and Publicly-Administered Elections are Open to Republicans and Democrats only. So, for a Plurality of New Jersey Voters who choose not to join either Party, too bad.

New Jersey held its 2017 Primary Election on Tuesday, June 6th. Lt. Governor and Secretary of State Kim Guadagno easily won the Republican Nomination for Governor with 47% of the vote. She will face Phil Murphy in the November General Election, the Democratic Party choice with 48% of the vote..

The Primary Election got an unusually high level of National Coverage for a New Jersey Race as several National outlets propped it up as a referendum on Gov. Chris Christie. Left undiscussed, however, is the Low Voter Turnout and the total Exclusion of Independent Voters from New Jersey’s Primary Election process.

New Jersey Voters spend $100 Million on Elections and Over 2.4 million Independent Voters could Not Participate in Tuesday’s Primary.

So, with all the talk of Hyper-Partisanship in Washington DC, why doesn’t anyone talk about the Natural Consequences of Excluding Independent Voters from the First and Often most Important Part of the Public Election process? Fact is, both Major Parties hold a monopoly over the Primary Elections in New Jersey. This means only members of the Republican and Democratic parties get to vote.

Sound unfair? Well, a Nonpartisan Coalition led by the Independent Voter Project filed a Lawsuit in 2014, challenging the State’s Closed Primary Law. The Coalition made a pretty simple argument: forcing a Voter to Join a Private Organization as a condition of Participating at an important Stage of the Election Process Violates our First Amendment right of Non-Association. In other words, you shouldn’t have to Join a Party to Vote.

Secretary of State Kim Guadagno disagrees. She defended the Closed Primary in Court and argued that if Voters want to Participate in the Taxpayer-Funded Election, the 2.4 million New Jersey Voters who are Registered Independent should “simply join a party.”

A Federal District Court and the Third Circuit Court of Appeal ruled against the Plaintiffs, holding that Voters do not have a Fundamental Right to Vote in a Primary Election in New Jersey until they Join a Party. Yes, that’s the Ruling. Seriously.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker
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richardwinger said...

What is the theory that says a non-member of an organization should be allowed to help choose that organization's nominees? There is a lot of emotion about this, but I seldom see anyone set forth a theory.

mhdrucker said...

If a Political Party calls themselves a private entity, why are the taxpayers of the State paying to run their Party's Candidates selection process, the Primary. They should run there own selection process or pay the State for the use of the State's Voting Equipment. I agree that only Party members should vote on Party Officials, County and State Committee members, and Presidential Electors. But I think there should be a way for all State Voters to have a say on who gets to the General Election Ballot. Maybe a separate Open Ballot that would not include those Party elections.