The Walkerville Weekly Reader

National Desk: Hard-hitting journalism from your completely un-biased (pinky swear!) reporters in Walkerville, VA.

Walkerville, VA
Monday, September 18, 2017
Carolyn Purcell, Editor

Democrats relegated to third party status in Jersey

New Jersey law designed to block third parties may shift Senate control from Democrats to Republicans.

New Jersey Senator Robert Torricelli’s decision to end his campaign may inadvertently lead to a Republican majority in the Senate. New Jersey state law requires that any changes to a party’s ticket must occur at least 48 days before an election, and there are only 34 days remaining. The deadline for naming a replacement passed last month.

Since Democrats now enjoy a slim one-person majority in the Senate, the loss of the New Jersey Senate seat would shift power to a new Republican majority. Torricelli bowed out due to ethics concerns. Polls showed him heavily trailing his Republican opponent.

Democrats are arguing that if voters aren’t given both a Democrat and a Republican, “they are being denied their democratic right to a free and fair election.” According to the Democrats, “third party choices don’t matter. That’s why it’s called a democratic right. People have the right to vote for Democrats.”

According to the Democrats, the law’s wide lead-in time was meant to make it more difficult for third parties to field candidates. Third parties “often are less organized than us,” said a Democratic Party spokesperson, “and their candidates also often have other issues pressing their time, such as a real job.”

Democratic strategist Mark Mellman says that current New Jersey law “is not clear at all. It doesn’t say that it was meant only to lock out lesser parties.” Because the law was never meant to apply to the Democrats, Mellman claims, “but doesn’t actually say that, it is clearly not clear enough to be valid.”

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