NJ Supreme Court Allows Senate Special Election To Proceed

TRENTON – New Jersey voters will choose a replacement for the late U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg on Wednesday, Oct. 16, since the state Supreme Court declined to hear a challenge to the special election date.

Somerset Democratic Chairwoman Peg Schaffer unsuccessfully tried to prevent the special election from being held separately from the Nov. 5 general election, arguing that having two separate elections in three weeks would confuse voters and create logistical obstacles for county boards of election.

The governor’s office said that state law grants him the right to set the date of special elections.

Holding a separate special election will cost New Jersey taxpayers an estimated $12 million, and at least one county has balked at funding it.

“The Supreme Court’s refusal today to even hear a challenge to the Governor’s decision to move the special election to October is simply astounding,” said U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ-6), one of four Democrats running for the Senate seat. “The waste associated with Governor Christie’s political maneuver that will be taxed upon New Jerseyeans is significant. The Governor’s aggressively partisan decision reeks of the same voter suppression tactics employed by Tea Party Republicans across the country and is the type of action I have spent my entire career fighting. In a democracy, we should all be striving to increase voter participation and civic engagement.  Like many in New Jersey, I had hoped the Supreme Court would at least allow a fair and just hearing on this matter which clearly holds great import for people across the state.  Their decision to not even provide the opportunity to be heard is unfortunate, and a disservice to New Jersey’s voters.”

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