Man Without Qualities

Tuesday, October 01, 2002

Put My Name on the New Jersey Ballot as the Democratic Nominee

A hilariously dishonest festival of statute-misreading is of course underway in New Jersey. The New York Times, for example, predictably misrepresents the matter as follows:

Title 19 of the New Jersey election law clearly states that if a ballot vacancy occurs 51 days or more before an election, the party may nominate a new candidate. What it does not say, and what lawyers say will be the crux of the coming battle between Democrats and Republicans over Senator Robert G. Torricelli's ballot line on Nov. 5, is what happens when the vacancy occurs 36 days before the election.

What is obviously wrong about this approach is that unless there is affirmative statutory authorization for anyone to put a name on the ballot, there is no right to tamper with a ballot. The New Jersey statute's authorization extends only to 51 days - there is no statutory authorization for the Democratic party to modify the New Jersey ballot after that. So there is no right of the Democratic Party to alter the ballot. Nor has it ever been an accepted principle of fair elections that adding names to a ballot lies within some free-form equity power of any court - including the New Jersey Supreme Court.

So the statute does quite clearly answer the relevant question - contrary to the deliberate misreading the Times makes pari passu with the statute's plain meaning.

If any further argument were needed: Why would the legislature have inserted any number (51? 50? ..36? ... 8? ...2?... 0!) if it wasn't intended to be a cut-off?

I hereby demand that my pseudonym be added to the ballot in lieu of Senator Torricelli's! To what authority can the Democratic Party point that gives it a right superior to mine? Not this statute or any other New Jersey or federal law.

Just how dishonest are the Democrats, the Times, the liberal legal academics interviewed by the Times and the New Jersey courts willing to be to override this statute?

And will the federal courts have to step in, again?

UPDATE: KausFiles pretty much nails the New Jersey election laws and how wildly out of control the New York Times spin on this topic really is.

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