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Deja vu all over again

In 2000, there was a battle over election rules. Boiling down the positions of the two parties to their essences, Republicans argued that voters should have to follow instructions in order to have their votes counted, while Democrats argued that the rules were less important than making sure all voices were heard.

Now what do we have in New Jersey? Republicans arguing that the law should be followed, and Democrats arguing that the law doesn't really matter if another principle -- electing Democrats -- is involved. Of course, the New York Times comes down on the side of law-breaking:

In his emotional announcement, Mr. Torricelli said he would file a court petition to remove his name from the ballot and clear the way for another candidate, to be named in coming days from a short list being considered by Governor McGreevey. The Republicans are likely to argue that under New Jersey election law, it is too late to put another name on the ballot. But legal wrangling over ballot access cannot be allowed to obscure the central issue, which is one of democracy. The guiding principle should be the voters' basic right to a genuine election. With a month to go before Election Day, there is still time for a spirited campaign.
I wonder what Liz Macron would think of the claim that Torricelli's departure from the race means that it's not a "genuine election." Obviously nobody expects the New York Times to support a policy which might help a Republican get elected, but doesn't this go a little far? To claim that an election is not truly democratic if a Democrat isn't on the ballot?

But get past that partisanship, and think about the practical issues here. The New York Times wants a judge to rewrite the laws, after the fact, so that a Democrat can get elected. Sure; I don't see any potential controversy there. Certainly there won't be an appeal. And then another appeal, perhaps to federal court. Definitely we won't end up with federal judges deciding on which party controls the Senate. And it won't all be happening when we're under time pressure to determine the election winner. Didn't we do this before?

Contrast the New York Times' view with that of the Washington Post, which pointed out that voters did have a choice:

Still, it's reassuring that in one sense, at least, the process worked well. The ethics committee acted unequivocally and in time for its findings to be absorbed by New Jersey voters, and they -- to the evident and cynical surprise of Mr. Torricelli and the Democratic Party -- in turn registered their displeasure without even having to cast their votes.
Darn right. Just because we made our choice about the Democratic candidate before the election doesn't mean we were denied our right to an election.


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Comments (3)

Torricelli is such a loser. Ron Kuby (on Curtis & Kuby, 770AM) says that either the Republicans let the Dems put another person on the ballot, or Torricelli will resign less than 30 days out, McGreevey will appoint a replacement, and that would put the election off for two years. Kuby is a lawyer, so he may be right.

My question is - what does the statute mean if it doesn't mean what it says?


I think I have discovered the new Democrat election strategy. What fiendish devils they are. This strategy was partially tested by Andrew Cuomo in the NY Governor's primary. It is as follows: if you find that your candidate is trailing badly in the polls, you have him resign, and then demand to be allowed to run a new candidate. Well I have come up with a simple and fool-proof way for the Republicans to counter this fiendish plan. I tested it as a child and it works to perfection. The Republicans just have to go up to the Democrats and continue to shout the following: No do-overs! No do-overs!

I demand to be placed on the ballot.

By the way, Susanna, I wrote a little more about the statute above.


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