The New Jersey Democratic Party v. Samson
175 N.J. 178, 814 A.2d 1028 (2002)
- Senator Toricelli dropped out
of his reelection campaign 35 days before the election.
- New Jersey State law (N.J.S.A.
19:13-20) says that, " if a
ballot vacancy occurs 51 days or more before an election, the party may
nominate a new candidate."
- However it was unclear
whether the courts will allow a substitution after that.
- The limits are in place
because it takes time to print up ballots, especially absentee ballots. But,
the County Clerks agreed that a substitution was logistically possible if
it occurred immediately
- Although it might cost up
- The Democrats wanted to
replace Toricelli with another candidate, Lautenberg.
- The Democrats argued that
there was still time to notify all the absentee voters and Torricelli had
the right to withdraw.
- The Republicans (and their
candidate Forrester) opposed the replacement, since it was late in the
campaign season. They sued.
- Forrester argued that the
state statute generally forbidding the replacement of a candidate should
be obeyed because "here, there are really no extraordinary
facts" such as "death and incapacitation".
- The Trial Court allowed the
- The Trial Court found that N.J.S.A.
19:13-20 "does not preclude the
possibility of a vacancy occurring within 51 days of the election."
- The Trial Court also found
that while Forrester would gain from denying the substitution, the New
Jersey citizens would not.
- "We see what advantage
this has for Mr. Forrester; we fail to see what advantage this has for
the people of New Jersey."
- The Court compared the
purpose of preserving the franchise of people and the purpose of
conducting orderly elections.
- Having looked at the
statute, finding a purpose and finding two of them, the Court found that
they arenŐt in conflict.
- The Court billed the
Democratic party for the $800k of extra costs.
- The Court noted that the laws
of other States clearly say that you can replace the nominee or explicitly
- Since the New Jersey Statute
was silent on the issue, the Court could be flexible.
- The Court suggested that the
New Jersey Legislature could fix the Statute if they didn't like the