Analysis finds ‘county line’ gave huge advantage to New Jersey congressional candidates

New Jersey’s dominant primary ballot structure, known as the “county line,” provided a huge advantage to many party-backed candidates in last month’s primary and in some cases resulted in voter confusion and tossed-out votes, according to an analysis by a Rutgers professor.

Julia Sass Rubin, a professor at the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy who wrote the analysis for the progressive advocacy group New Jersey Policy Perspective, found that in many cases in this year’s July 7 primary, congressional and U.S. Senate candidates who had the line in some counties performed dozens of percentage points better than in counties where they did not.

“This kind of bad ballot design is a feature of New Jersey ballots with the county line. It’s not a bug,” Sass Rubin said.

Politico, August 14, 2020 (subscription required)