Home>Campaigns>League of Women Voters joins progressives in challenge to organization lines

Neptune School Board member Christine Conforti is a plaintiff in a lawsuit to eliminate organization lines in New Jersey primary elections. (Photo: Christine Conforti.)

League of Women Voters joins progressives in challenge to organization lines

By David Wildstein, June 01 2021 11:09 am

The League of Women Voters Of New Jersey is opposing a move by Attorney General Gurbir Grewal to dismiss a lawsuit that challenges the constitutionality of organization lines in Democratic and Republican primaries.

The amicus brief for the LWVNJ and Salvation and Social Justice was field by the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice and Campaign Legal Center in support of a move by progressive groups and former candidates to eliminate organization lines.

“Fair voter access is about more than just drop boxes and early voting hours. New Jersey’s primary ballot layout confuses voters, leading to decreased participation and keeping voters from having their voices heard,” said Jesse Burns, executive director of the League of Women Voters of New Jersey. “We cannot accept the disproportionate effect that our ballot design has on voters and candidates of color. New Jersey must do away with this overly-complicated ballot layout in favor of one that displays all candidates equally and provides voters with a straightforward ticket.”

Henal Patel, the director of the Democracy and Justice Program at the New Jersey Institute of Social Justice, alleges that  “ballot design flaws disproportionately burden Black and other voters of color and make it more difficult for candidates of color to win office, undermining the goal of fair representation.”

“This is exactly the opposite of what our state should be doing during these pivotal times,” Patel said.

Rev. Charles Boyer said that the case “presents an opportunity for our state to align with jurisdictions across the country to safeguard a healthy democracy for all.”

“New Jersey’s current ballot structure unfairly burdens communities and candidates of color. Without a fair opportunity to run for office, our entire state suffers,” said Boyer, who runs Salvation and Social Justice.  “The time is now for New Jersey to do what’s right. Our democracy depends on it.”

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