State of New Jersey

New Jersey Republican Primary Ballot Design Challenge

Maia-Cusick v. Sollami-Covello

Lawsuit filed by four Republican candidates for federal office against 18 county clerks challenging New Jersey’s Republican primary ballot design for the 2024 primary election. In these 18 counties, ballots use a “party column design” to group together candidates running for different offices who were endorsed by county party leadership under the same column. Candidates who are not endorsed by leadership are not included in this preferential column known as the “county line,” and are instead placed in their own separate column, often leaving one or more blank spaces in between them and the county line or stacking candidates who are unassociated with one another into the same column. This is an outlier to the traditional office-block design used in most other ballots across the country, in which all candidates running for the same office are listed together. 

In a similar lawsuit filed in February by three Democratic candidates, the court blocked the use of the county line design for the June 2024 Democratic primary while the case proceeds. In a clarifying letter, the court specified that it did not bar the party column design in the Republican primary. The plaintiffs claim that by mandating the use of the office block design for Democratic ballots but not Republican ballots, “the court left Republican candidates and Republican voters with what it believes to be an unconstitutional system while relieving Democrat candidates and Democrat voters of the same harm.” The plaintiffs ask the court to pause statewide preparation and printing of all primary ballots and remove the county line design from Republican primary ballots for the 2024 election. 

On April 8, 2024, the case was consolidated with Burlington County Regular Republican Organization v. Schwartz, where all future filings can be found.

RESULT: On May 9, 2024, the plaintiffs filed their stipulations for dismissal. Burlington County’s office block ballot design in the 2024 Republican Primary will remain.

Case Documents

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