Today, a federal district court held that New Jersey’s “county line” ballot design procedures are likely unconstitutional and prohibited their use in the upcoming June primary elections. The following statement can be attributed to ACLU of New Jersey Staff Attorney Liza Weisberg: 

“Thanks to today’s ruling, when New Jersey voters go to the polls this primary season, they will be casting ballots that fairly reflect their political preferences – not the preferences of party insiders. As the ACLU of New Jersey highlighted in its amicus brief, the state has an obligation to serve as a neutral referee in administering elections, but it defies this obligation when it manipulates election outcomes by giving preferential ballot positions to candidates endorsed by county political parties. Through this ‘county line’ design, county clerks engage in unconstitutional viewpoint discrimination and undermine voters’ power at the polls.

“The preliminary injunction issued in this case is a temporary form of relief, and litigation will continue in the district court. The preliminary injunction may also face an appeal to the Third Circuit. Today’s decision is a first – but momentous – step toward permanently overturning New Jersey’s unconstitutional primary ballot design laws and practices.”