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President Donald J. Trump speaks at the Republican National Convention on the South Lawn of the White House, August 27, 2020. (Photo: Ken Kurson)

League of Women Voters, NAACP seek to join Murphy in fighting Trump lawsuit

By David Wildstein, August 31 2020 8:04 pm

The League of Women Voters of New Jersey and the New Jersey NAACP have filed a motion to intervene in Trump v. Murphy, a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court by President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign challenging Gov. Phil Murphy’s executive order mandating a general election conducted primarily through vote-by-mail ballots.

The two organizations are backing up Murphy and the state, along with the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) and the Atlantic County Democratic organization.

“(The) LWVNJ and NJ NAACP have advocated on behalf of their members to the State of New Jersey to expand access to vote-by-mail in light of the pandemic,” their motion states.  “Both have repeatedly urged the Governor—prior to the primary election and for this upcoming general election—to safeguard voters’ access to the ballot during the COVID-19 pandemic by mailing ballots to all voters.”

The two groups said in court filings that they have the right to intervene as defendants since the litigation “poses a significant threat to their interests, and those interests are not adequately represented by the existing defendants in this case.”

New Jersey is the latest in a series of states where the League of Women Voters (LWV) and state NAACP chapters have become involved in legal actions to protect the rights of their members to vote safely during the coronavirus pandemic.

A lawsuit filed by the two groups follows the settlement of an earlier legal action that required county election officials to give voters an opportunity to cure certain defects, like changes in signatures, on the vote-by-mail ballots.

The New Jersey Senate last week passed a bill that would make a cure period permanent.

Earlier this month, the League of Women Voters of the United States filed a lawsuit against Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, claiming  that recent changes to procedures and the removal of sorting equipment at the UU.S. Postal Service is infringes on the free speech rights of votes and their right to vote.

The New Jersey Institute for Social Justice, the Campaign Legal Center and attorneys from DLA Piper are representing the LWV and the NAACP.

Co-plaintiffs with the Trump Campaign are the Republican National Committee and the New Jersey Republican State Committee.

Also today, DCCC attorney Raj Parikh opposed a motion made by Trump and the DCCC to require them to file a joint brief with Atlantic County Democrats.

“DCCC’s participation in this case will be unduly restricted if it is required to harmonize its nationwide legal strategy with the narrow interests of the County Party, which has sought to intervene as amici. DCCC has intervened in a number of lawsuits brought by the Republican National Party to obstruct states’ efforts to ensure fair and equal elections during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Parikh wrote.  “Accordingly, DCCC has gained unique insight into the Plaintiffs’ national legal strategy and will utilize its experience in representing the interests of all New Jersey “voters who associate with the [Democratic] Party.”

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