Motion Filed: NJ Secretary of State Defends Interests of Political Parties, Not Voters

Created: 03 July, 2014
Updated: 14 October, 2022
2 min read

(Newark, NJ) — In May, New Jersey Secretary of State Kim Guadagno filed a motion to dismiss a lawsuit filed on behalf of the 47% of New Jersey voters who choose not to join a political party. The secretary of state argued that voters have no fundamental right to participate in primary elections despite the fact that their tax dollars fund them.

Independents in New Jersey are required to join a political party in order to vote in the primary.

On Thursday, the Plaintiffs filed their response:

The two main issues in the case include: (1) whether the fundamental right to vote includes the right to vote in a primary election, and (2) whether Plaintiffs' claim brought under the state of New Jersey’s constitutional prohibition against the use of public funds for a private purpose is barred by state sovereign immunity:

Plaintiffs, on the fundamental right:

"Plaintiffs have merely asked the State to ensure that the publicly funded primary election system not function as a private enterprise that deprives Plaintiffs of their ability to cast a meaningful vote, and in doing so, confers on those private political parties a gratuitous advantage." – Page 22

On state sovereign immunity:

"Affording Defendant the veil of state sovereignty would de facto immunize private interests from constitutional scrutiny whenever the State, or an actor of the State, is so influenced by those private interests that they become one and the same." – Page 31


New Jersey plaintiffs are represented in the suit by the EndPartisanship.org coalition and include Mark Balsam, Charles Donahue, Hans Henkes, and Rebecca Feldman who are registered as unaffiliated voters, plaintiff Jaime Martinez, a registered Democrat, and plaintiff Tia Williams, a registered Republican.

The EndPartisanship.org coalition was co-founded by the Independent Voter Project and IndependentVoting.org, both national 501(c)(4) nonprofit organizations.

The EndPartisanship.org coalition is the first organized effort to defend and promote the principle that every voter is entitled to an equal right of meaningful participation in the election process, whether or not they choose to affiliate with a political party.

Read the Full Opposition Motion and learn more about the EndPartisanship.org coalition on their website: EndPartisanship.org.

Photo Credit: Brian A Jackson / shutterstock.com

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