Edward “NJ Weedman” Forchion’s independent candidacy for governor has hit a snag, with the New Jersey Democratic State Committee filing a challenge to the validity of his nominating petitions.
Forchion has argued that Gov. Phil Murphy hasn’t done enough to legalize marijuana and that the policy he backed doesn’t help communities of color.
He filed with 836 signatures – just slightly more than the 800 required – as the candidate of the Legalize Marihuana Party and with the slogan “#HOMEGROW $ALL.”
According to Raj Parikh, the counsel to the Democratic State Committee, Forchion “failed to obtain the signatures of 800 qualified voters” required under state election law.
The challenge involves 134 signatures.
Parikh claims that some of Forchion’s signatories are either not registered to vote, not residents of the addresses listed on his petition, have incomplete information, or whose signatures didn’t match what is on file in the Statewide Voter Registration System database.
“These individuals are not ‘qualified voters’ who could properly sign Mr. Forchion’s petitions and/or their indorsements are fatally defective,” Parikh said.
Democrats are also challenging Forchion’s digital petition signatures, saying that they did not follow guidelines established by the Division of Elections
“It is clear that Mr. Forchion did not follow either of these processes,” Parikh wrote in a letter to the state. “None of the electronic petition pages have a digital signature stamp, nor were they printed, signed and scanned as required by State law and Division’s regulations.”
Earlier this year, Parikh mounted a successful legal effort to toss two candidates off the ballot in the June Democratic primary. A judge ruled that none of the signatures on nominating petitions for shadowy perennial candidate Lisa McCormick were valid. Secretary of State Tahesha Way referred McCormick’s allegedly fraudulent petitions to the state attorney general for a possible criminal investigation.
Forchion filed on Tuesday, just before the deadline.
A challenge is also being made to Green Party candidate Dominique Faison, a candidate for State Assembly in Monmouth County. Robyn Gedrich, who filed the challenge, alleges that “there are an insufficient number of legally qualified voters that resident within the 11th legislative district.”
The deadline to challenge independent petitions was at 4 PM today.