Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
October 3, 2002
LAW/POLITICS: What Choices Count In New Jersey?

The usual suspects - Instapundit, Kaus, Sullivan (links on my left) - lead the roundup on the New Jersey Supreme Court's decision that "51 days" doesn't mean "51 days" if it's applied to a candidate from one of the major parties (at least the court had the decency to pretend that its ruling would apply to Republicans).

Question 1: What happens if some voter who got the original ballots (let's say, for example, a Patterson native serving in Kabul or Qatar) sends it back and doesn't have time to look at the new ballot? Or what if he gets confused or concerned about his vote counting, and sends back both? Does one or both votes count, if the election is really close? Does it matter who he voted for? Will a vote for the Torch be counted for Lautenberg? (What if some serviceman wanted to reward the Torch for his position - whatever it is - on the war? Are we now back to not caring what the soldiers think about that? That was fast.)

Question 2: Is it now too late for some third-party candidate (i.e., not the Republicans) to intervene to appeal this decision to the Supreme Court (or file a federal action, which would probably face collateral estoppel problems)? Professor Eugene Volokh (as well as Kaus and Sullivan) attacks the decision's assumption that the dispositive issue is whether the candidate dropping off the ballot leaves any "voter choice," which therefore would not apply if, say, Jesse Ventura or Ross Perot or Ralph Nader or Pat Buchanan or Bernie Sanders or Jim Jeffords dropped off the ballot (hey, do Vermont voters have choices?). A non-party generally has a real hard time intervening, but this one went straight to the Supreme Court so fast they may have had little chance to get organized. I don't have my thinking cap on that one, but if you could get around the procedural issue, it's a heck of an angle and the US Supreme Court (liberals included) would likely be much more intrigued than by some GOP protest.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 7:40 AM | Law 2002-04 • | Politics 2002-03 | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
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