Independent Voter Project
Third Circuit to Hear Oral Argument Challenging Closed Primaries
Oral argument in the case Balsam, et al. v. Guadagno is set for March 17, 2015, before the U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals. At issue in the case is whether the fundamental right to vote applies to the primary stage of the public election process.
The state by state legal strategy filed in March 2014, argues that the election process in New Jersey grants the Republican and Democratic Parties a monopoly over the election process in the state while denying approximately 48 percent of the electorate full and equal access to public elections.
“A political party can always hold a Candidate Nomination Proceeding without the blessing or funding of the State. The issue of whether the State should fund, administer, and/or sanction the results of these proceedings requires an inquiry as to the State’s regulatory interest in doing so, balanced against the individual right to vote,” appellants argue.
To be clear, appellants are not challenging the right political parties, as private organizations, have to hold their own nomination proceedings. The challenge is that the state’s overall process does not serve a public purpose because it violates the individual rights of voters to participate in all integral stages of state elections.
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