On Thursday, New Jersey voters responded in court to a motion to dismiss a lawsuit, filed by New Jersey Secretary of State, Kim Guadagno.

Investigative Journalist, Ben Swann, first placed a spotlight on the lawsuit in March, when he discussed “End Partisanship” on an episode of Truth in Media. “New Jersey requires that a voter affiliate with a political party approved by the State as a precondition to participating in the primary process,” explained Swann.

This requirement has created major problems for the 47.6% of voters in New Jersey who don’t fall into the State’s approved category of either Democrat or Republican, yet are still required to fund the primary elections through tax dollars. Those who weren’t being properly represented in New Jersey chose to fight back with a lawsuit, using the organization End Partisanship.

End Partisanship is a coalition formed by leaders from different political organizations who seek to to break the two-party system’s hold on primary elections by making their candidates stronger, and by giving a voice to those who either have a third party affiliation, or none at all. A legal advisor from the Independent Voter Project, Chad Peace, described End Partisanship as having developed a “state by state legal strategy defending the rights of individual independent voters in the courtroom.”

The lawsuit End Partisanship filed in New Jersey was a first from the organization, and its leaders plan to use it as a blueprint they can eventually apply to all states. Ben Swann explained that the suit “seeks to protect the fundamental right to vote under the New Jersey and United States Constitutions, which have no requirement that a voter forfeit their First Amendment right not to associate with a political party.”

In May, General John J. Hoffman, an Attorney for the secretary of state’s office, filed a motion to dismiss the challenge on the constitutionality of New Jersey’s primary election system. New Jersey Secretary of State, Kim Guadagno, responded to the constituents by arguing that while American citizens in New Jersey do not have a right to vote in primary elections, political parties do have a right to use taxpayer dollars to fund them.

The supporters of End Partisanship took to court on July 3, to respond to the motion to dismiss the lawsuit. They stated that they had simply asked the State to ensure that the publicly funded primary election system not function as a private enterprise that deprives them of their ability to cast a meaningful vote. They pointed out that by keeping their votes from having equal representation, the state “confers on those private political parties a gratuitous advantage.”

The lawsuit acknowledged the fact that giving the State, “the veil of state sovereignty would de facto immunize private interests from constitutional scrutiny whenever the State, or an actor of the State, is so influenced by those private interests that they become one and the same.”

The lawsuit went on to say that while the State looks to extend its holding by arguing that voters have no fundamental right to participate in the primary stage of an electoral process, the Plaintiff contends that “the State’s primary election system, taken as a whole, confers a special benefit to the dominant private political parties and their members to the complete exclusion of nearly half of all registered voters.”

Plaintiffs assert the necessity of an electoral system that provides all voters an equally meaningful opportunity to participate at all integral stages of the election process, including the primary,” stated the lawsuit.

At a time when unaffiliated voters make up 47 percent of the State’s electorate, the need for judicial intervention is compelling.”

  • Shorty Stuff

    You know what they’re trying to do, don’t you? They are trying to get it set up where liberals can vote in Republican primaries. What that will do is allow them to get liberals elected to run as Republicans.

    • JazzMaster

      This is not about liberals vs republicans or dems vs repubs, its the fact that the majority of the voting block in NJ (and in the rest of the country) are not being properly represented unless they register as part of the 25% republican or 25% dems party in order to cast a vote. Since they/we cant vote for anyone (because we choose to be independent), we dont want our money being funneled towards their (reps and dems) elections unless independent voters can vote for their candiate of choice regardless of party affilations. As it works right now, we are forced to pay for NO CHOICES and suffer/made out to be inhearently evil/wrong/baised/stupid if we are not a registered democrap or rebloodlican.

      • JazzMaster

        Remember that 47% of NJ voters are registered independent and 50% of voters nationwide are registered independent. As of right now we are forced to pay to not have a voice.

    • CementCityBoy

      Doesn’t matter how many laws they make/change, it will happen just like it did in MS.

  • larf

    Fantastic article. Excellent work. Looks like a rock solid case and it will be interesting to see how SCOTUS handles this when it eventually reaches them.

    • Phydeux

      If the system works as intended, it shouldn’t reach the SCOTUS, the state supreme court should knock it down.

  • I’ve always thought that political parties, credit card issuers, and insurance companies had it made. Those three entities manage to play all points on a sphere against the middle. I don’t think this lawsuit will go very far. Too many monied interests will line up against it once a certain amount of traction is gained.

    The State certainly isn’t going to concede the issue as that would require special accounting to allocate tax dollars based on political membership. They are not going to want the extra work. Likewise simply stopping the taxpayer funding, they won’t want to lose the grip on the public or the potential loss of revenue.

  • deh3

    Partisanship would decrease if the legislatures were enlarged (due to the reduced dependence on centralized messaging to be elected), if there were higher voter turnout, and if a higher proportion of the population were enfranchised.

    • Phydeux

      Doesn’t work like that. Many states have increased their legislatures as their population has increased, and yet the two party system remains intact because they have the money and power to fight off enough third party people as to keep them ineffectual.

      • deh3

        Can you be more specific as to which states have enlarged their legislatures? Based on my understanding, over the past 50 years, the average size of state legislatures have decreased by approximately 5%, while the population have increased.

  • NJ voter

    If a recount was done as to how many Independents voted for the current party now in place ,that would show a need for a third party to be able to participate in the primary. Could a Executive Order change that ?

    • Phydeux

      LOL No. This is a constitutional challenge, that’s strictly the bailiwick of the courts.

  • theLast American Bastard

    pimp those fact Ben – Pimp those Facts – I mss hearing Ben say my name – say it 😉 – theLast American Bastard

  • Tannim

    They’re doing it wrong. There should be no primaries, just nomination by convention.