Democratic Primary Challengers Sue Middlesex County Clerk for Ballot Placement, Proof

The Central Jersey Progressive Democrats, a consortium of Democratic primary challengers who have eyed a coup in the state’s 17th legislative district and in Piscataway Township and New Brunswick, have filed suit against the Middlesex County Clerk’s office, alleging that the office has “refused to provide proofs of the mail ballot, despite election law requiring the office to do so and a statutory deadline for the Clerk to begin mailing ballots this Saturday.”

The group, led by Piscataway Board of Education President Bill Irwin, who is challenging 17th district Sen. Bob Smith in the June 6 primary, is also contesting their candidates’ ballot placement – column C – when they claim that Column A was “available and was publicly and verbally indicated by the Clerk as the logical place to put our slate during the ballot draw earlier this week.”

Specifically, the group alleges that the County missed the deadline for preparation of the printing proof of the official primary election ballot, as stipulated in N.J.S.A. 19:14-1, that states:

Every county clerk shall have ready for the printer on or before the 50th day prior to the general election a copy of the contents of official ballots as hereinafter required to be printed for use at such election. He shall also on or before that time place another copy of such contents on file in his office and keep the same open to public inspection until the sample ballots hereinafter provided to be printed shall have been distributed.

“We are concerned that the mail ballot, as we have been informed by staff in the Clerk’s office, appears substantially different to voters than the ballot that voters see on a machine located in a polling place. We are asking the Court to compel the Clerk to provide the same ballot to all voters, regardless of how they vote,” the group said in a statement released exclusively to Blue Jersey.

Regarding ballot placement, the group is requesting that its nearly 100 bracketed candidates, which also includes two 17th District Assembly candidates, two Middlesex County Freeholder candidates, and dozens of Democratic County Committee candidates, be placed in Column A, alleging that County Clerk Elaine Flynn gave them verbal assurance of being placed in the first column, only to then backtrack:

“The Clerk and her staff indicated verbally that Column A would be the likely location of Central Jersey Progressive Democrats. Others in the room, including veteran State Senator, Sam Thompson (R-Middlesex), concurred that Column A was the logical place for the nearly full slate of candidates. Ms. Flynn’s office is now claiming that the CJPD’s nearly full slate should be placed to the right of a full slate of candidates.”

More to come.

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