Fighting New Jersey’s Ballot Bosses

March 11, 2024

Sometimes election meddling takes place in plain view. Consider New Jersey’s “party line” ballots, which let county bosses put their favored primary candidates front and center, relegating the rest to the periphery. A lawsuit in this year’s Senate race is asking for ballots based on fairness, instead of orders from the local heavy.

Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez, who is under indictment for an alleged bribe, might still seek re-election, but his support has collapsed, and he faces a bevy of challengers in the June primary. One candidate is Tammy Murphy, who enjoys strong relationships with county leaders, thanks to her even stronger relationship with the state’s Governor, who happens to be her husband, Phil Murphy.

That made her the favorite to win prime ballot placement. In 19 of the state’s 21 counties, party committees endorse a slate of candidates for office that are grouped together on the ballot, often in the same column. That usually includes current officeholders and other insiders. The rest are printed in other columns that can run to the edge of the ballot, giving voters the impression that they’re fringe candidates.

Wall Street Journal, March 11, 2024

A recent study conducted by Julia Sass Rubin, a professor at the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers, examined 45 congressional and Senate races in New Jersey between 2002 and 2022. The study found that on average, county-endorsed candidates placed in the line enjoyed a 38-point advantage.

Recent Posts

New Paper on Affordable Rental Housing by NJSOARH

Local Landscapes of Assisted Housing: Reconciling Layered and Imprecise Administrative Data for Research Purposes The New Jersey State of Affordable Housing (NJSOARH) project seeks to understand the state of rental housing affordable to low-income and very low-income...

NJSPL – Extreme Heat, Coastal Flooding, and Health Disparities

Extreme Heat, Coastal Flooding, and Health Disparities: Climate Change Impacts on Older Adults in New Jersey By Josephine O’Grady New Jersey is facing a myriad of climate challenges, including extreme heat, heavy precipitation, coastal flooding, and more natural...

New Paper on Foreclosure Crisis by Prof. Eric Seymour

Prof. Eric Seymour co-authors Judged by Their Deeds: Outcomes for Properties Acquired by Contract Sellers Following the Foreclosure Crisis in Detroit Abstract Prior research has documented the reemergence of predatory land contracts in majority-Black neighborhoods in...

EJB Talks with Professor Michael Smart

Transportation, Urban Planning, and Racial Bias: Insights from Professor Michael Smart In this episode of EJB Talks, Stuart Shapiro interviews Professor Michael Smart, beginning with how he became involved in transportation planning and its impact on poverty and...

NJSPL – New Report: 15-Minute Neighborhoods

Report Release: 15-Minute Neighborhoods: A Pathway to Creating Healthier, More Just, Resilient, & Sustainable Communities in New Jersey By Jon Carnegie, June Greeman, and Jacob Thompson READ FULL REPORT Over the past several years, several policy threads have...

Upcoming Events

Master of Health Administration Town Hall


The Town Hall is an open and informal forum discussion for students to provide feedback, offer suggestions, and hear the most up to date news about the program. Hosted by […]