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N.J. Judge rejects bid by Democrats to order statewide cure for Naked Ballots

By David Wildstein, November 04 2020 11:54 am

A Superior Court Judge denied a bid by New Jersey Democrats to order the repair of Naked Ballots across the state after Attorney General Gurbir Grewal opposed attempts by voters to cure the ballot defect.

“There is no order presented to us in which a court has rejected a voter’s application to cure a deficiency under these circumstances,” wrote Judge Heidi Willis Currier.  “There is no record before us to review any other interpretation of the statute other than that of the Hunterdon County judge. Without any order or appropriate record to review, there is no disputed issue presented to us.”

Naked Ballots occur when voters fail to include and sign the inner envelope and place their ballot directly into the outer envelope — one judge is allowing it.

State law requires mail-in ballots be placed inside an inner envelope that includes a signature.  In the absence of that, ballots are rejected.

Superior Court Judge Michael F. O’Neill in Hunterdon County yesterday ruled against the attorney general, allowing five voters who didn’t use the inner envelope when returning their vote-by-mail ballot to remedy the problem by appearing at the Board of Elections office today.

But O’Neill declined to apply his ruling statewide.

Grewal has taken the position that Naked Ballots must be rejected.

Raj Parikh, the counsel to the Democratic State Committee, sought a declaratory order from the court to force all county Boards of Elections to permit voters to cure ballot deficiencies caused by Naked Ballots.

He alleged that some counties are rejecting ballots where voters created Naked Ballots by only using the the outer envelope.

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