US Senate candidates urged to help end NJ’s ‘party line’ ballot

December 13, 2023

A group of 29 New Jersey good-government organizations called on all declared candidates for the state’s U.S. Senate seat in 2024 to push for what they consider a fairer ballot, one that does not list candidates along the party line.

Fair Ballot Alliance New Jersey and groups supporting it on Tuesday asked Democratic and Republican candidates to publicly ask the state’s county party chairs to ensure that next year’s primary ballots group all U.S. Senate candidates together in what is known as an “office bloc.” That method does not give preferential treatment to any candidate by placing them on the party line with other endorsed candidates for other seats. Alternatively, they are asking that all the Senate candidates be placed on the same line in random order. Two counties, Salem and Warren, are the only ones that do not use a party-line ballot design, according to the organizations.

They are seeking the change because research has shown that appearing on the party line gives candidates an advantage. The party line ballot is unique to New Jersey and is drawing increased attention ahead of the state’s U.S. Senate race in 2024.

Nearly every state legislative incumbent who faced a challenge over the last two decades and had the party line in every county won reelection, according to a study by Rutgers University professor Julia Sass Rubin. The same study found that congressional candidates have a 38-point advantage over their opponents when they have the party line.

NJ Spotlight News, December 13, 2023

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