Join Our Movement

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Making New Jersey Elections Fair

End the "Line"

For representative democracy and accountability in New Jersey

Join our fight to Restore Democracy in New Jersey.

It’s time to reform New Jersey’s unfair ballot system, which cuts out voters and tips the scales for candidates chosen by party insiders who are awarded the coveted county line. New Jerseyans deserve a fair ballot, one that empowers voters to choose the candidates who will fight for them – and not party bosses.

In New Jersey, party insiders hand-select their candidates to be placed in a favorable "line" on the ballot.

In other states, candidates are presented alphabetically, randomly or rotationally. No primary candidates is given special advantage.

Election Day
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New Jersey Ballot

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Ballot

The Problem

In New Jersey, county party chairs and elected clerks have unprecedented power to design our ballots. These politicians award the coveted party “line” to favored candidates, grouping them together in a prime position on the ballot to attract maximum attention from voters.

The candidates who are not endorsed by party bosses are relegated to “Ballot Siberia,” in places where voters have a harder time finding them, minimizing visibility. The result is devastating for candidates fighting for political change, as no incumbent state legislator has lost a primary in New Jersey since 2009

Candidates awarded the county “Line” position gain, on average, a 35-point advantage. The result is an election system that is fixed, which diminishes the power of voters and ensures that politically connected candidates are elected again and again. 

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The Fix

New Jersey Working Families Alliance and several other partners filed a lawsuit to end this unfair ballot and make politicians accountable to the people rather than party insiders.

Our lawsuit will make elected officials, from township councilmembers to state senators to members of Congress, accountable to the preferences of voters, rather than party chairs. 

As the lawsuit works its way through the courts, consider signing up to join Better Ballots New Jersey with our partners at the Good Government Coalition of New Jersey.

ELIMINATING THE LINE WILL:

Help New Jersey realize its democratic potential

By the Numbers

68%

The percentage of legislators who are male. NJ is in the bottom half of states in the US for gender equity in its state legislature. Other groups are also sorely underrepresented in NJ's legislature: Hispanics make up 7.5% of the legislature (20% of the NJ population overall); and Asians make up 2.5 of the legislature (10% of the NJ population overall). The Line is a barrier to entry for many underrepresented groups. 

source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KuScIbuHGuw

0

2

There are only two counties in NJ who traditionally do not structure their ballots around the county line: Salem and Sussex.

35

According to research by Professor Julia Sass Rubin,the average vote margin between appearing on the county line and having your opponent on the county line was 35 percentage points. That's a 35 point advantage bestowed by The Line!

The number of legislative incumbents who have lost a primary in NJ since 2009.