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Rep. Tom Malinowski. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for the New Jersey Globe)

Malinowski campaign drops naked ballots suit

Looming cure deadline left legal bid with little time

By Nikita Biryukov, November 16 2020 1:00 pm

Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-Ringoes) dropped a suit seeking to force five counties to release a list of voters whose ballots were rejected Monday.

The suit’s dismissal comes about two days ahead of the deadline for voters to cure their ballots. Even had Malinowski’s campaign been able to secure the list, it may not have been possible for election officials to send cure letters or for residents to receive them.

The congressman wanted Hunterdon, Warren, Essex, Somerset and Morris Counties to provide his campaign with a list of voters whose ballots had been rejected for any reason. His campaign was seeking cures for voters who returned naked ballots, ones lacking an inner envelope that bears a voter’s signature.

They argued voters should be able to cure those ballots because state law requires cure letters for ballots with a missing or mismatched signatures. Without an inner envelope, there is no signature.

The dismissal comes as Malinowski is locked in a tight race for a second term against State Sen. Minority Leader Tom Kean (R-Westfield).

As of Sunday afternoon, the incumbent led Kean by 4,961 votes, 209,933 to 204,972 (50.6% to 49.4%) in the close race for Congress in New Jersey’s 7th district.

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