A slate of Piscataway Democratic council candidates running off-the-line in the June 7 primary are challenging a decision by Middlesex County Clerk Nancy Pinkin to not give them a chance to compete with the organization for a preferred ballot position even though they are bracketing with two county commissioner candidates.
Yael Bromberg, an attorney representing the “Democrats for Transparency and Fairness” slate, said she was told by Pinkin last week that the drawing would not include her candidates because they only filed two candidates for four countywide offices.
“Such an interpretation of the statute would not only lead to nonsensical results, as illustrated below, but would be plainly unlawful, and arguably unconstitutional,” Bromberg wrote in a response to the county clerk. “Such an interpretation would undermine legislative intention for a systemic and intelligible ballot design.”
New Jersey has no statute defining a full slate to include all open offices to qualify for bracketing and a tier one ballot draw, Bromberg said.
Carmen Salavarrieta, Ralph Johnson, Staci A. Berger, and Jonathan Powers are seeking Piscataway council seats and have bracketed with Atif Nazir and Herbert Tarbous for county commissioner. The slate did not file a third county commissioner candidate or a challenger to Sheriff Mildred Scott.
Bromberg said that Pinkin has refused to provide her with any legal reference to justify her position.
“I look forward to receiving any citation to legal support to justify a position that singles out my clients and appears to sit squarely at odds with decades-long precedent to the contrary,” Bromberg stated.
She hinted that the matter could wind up before a judge.
Pinkin is inexplicably out of the country during a busy week for county clerks. She is in Ireland as part of a trip of state legislators, even though she gave up her Assembly seat more than fifteen months ago.
It’s not clear if Pinkin plans to return to the United States in time for the ballot drawing on April 14.
In a text message, Pinkin declined comment, citing a county policy that prohibits her from answering questions.
This story was updated at 3:08 PM with no comment from Pinkin.