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NJ Party Bosses' Outrageous Ballot Trick to Maintain Power

by Hugh J. Campbell, Jr., published

In the op-ed,"The Voting Shell Game," which appeared in The Star Ledger and The Times of Trenton in February, Yael Niv highlights how a handful of unelected power brokers run our state, through alliances that benefit them, and not necessarily voters. This should be of particular concern to unaffiliated NJ voters because it’s these same power brokers from both major political parties that keep New Jersey from being an open primary state, which allows unaffiliated voters to vote in partisan primaries without joining the respective political party.

Fortunately, proactive unaffiliated voters can vote in the upcoming Tuesday, June 5 primaries, if they are willing to have their voter registration change, even just for a day, to the party whose primary they vote in.

Independent voters that want to move New Jersey closer to being an open primary state may want to vote for the candidates that are least beholden to the unelected power brokers. These candidates can usually be found in the far right columns -- past the empty columns that follow columns A and/or B -- on the ballot.

As "The Voting Shell Game" suggests, those in power, Democrats and Republicans, were often elected through this system, and once seated, have little incentive to change it. So, it is up to us, the citizens, to fight for our democracy.

Among the factors that severely compromise New Jersey’s democracy, "The Line" (see image above) is perhaps the most devious, giving us the illusion of choice while effectively taking away our voice. Voting for candidates penalized by "The Line" diminishes to power of the political machines and these candidates are the most receptive to reforming "The Line" and New Jersey’s closed primary system.

Learn more about "The Line," and how party bosses use it to manipulate the ballot for their own interests here.

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