The Sayreville Republicans live and operate in Middlesex County, a county dominated by the Democrats since the early 1930s. Despite the Democrats majority at the county level, the GOP hold the Sayreville Mayors office and a majority on the Sayreville Borough Council.
On September 30, their luck seemed to run out when one of their two borough council candidates withdrew from the race for personal reasons. They had a ready, willing and able replacement candidate. However, they needed a court order to get him on the ballot.
That maneuver is now possible, thanks to the case of New Jersey Democratic Committee v. Samson. In the Samson case, the New Jersey Supreme Court allowed the Democrats to substitute a new candidate, Frank Lautenberg, for a withdrawing candidate, Bob Torricelli, just 35 days prior to the election.
In Samson, the New Jersey Supreme Court found that there was a hiatus in New Jersey election law. Specifically, the high court found that Title 19 does not provide a mechanism for a political party to fill a vacancy on a general election ballot in the forty-eight day period immediately preceding a General Election. Prior to the forty-eight day period, N.J.S.A. 19:13-20 allows a political party to replace a candidate on the ballot ғwith impunity. As a result, our Supreme Court allowed the party to nominate a new candidate 35 days prior to the general election, and ordered the preparation of replacement ballots.
The Samson Court held that the proper approach for judicial determination whether to prepare replacement ballots is for the court to consider ԓwhether the dual interests of full voter choice and an orderly administration of the election can be effectuated if the requested relief were to be granted.
In this case, the court held a full hearing. The court found that there was ample time to design, print and distribute new ballots, despite the fact that the absentee ballot process had already commenced. The court found that the interest of the voters in having a full and clear choice of candidates for both borough council offices was paramount.
Now itԒs up to the Sayreville GOP to win the election.
Howes & Howes has fourteen years experience in election law, representing Republicans, independents and Democrats in elections ranging from small town councils to county, legislative, congressional and statewide office.