Government lawyers argued Tuesday that the New Jersey Supreme Court should reject a request to move a special U.S. Senate election that Gov. Chris Christie scheduled three weeks before the state’s regular Nov. 5 election. Christie and all 120 legislative seats are up for election in November. However, the governor set the special election for Oct. 16 — the first legally allowable date — to fill the remaining year of a Senate seat left vacant by the death of Sen. Frank Lautenberg. Democrats sued, and an appeals court quickly and unanimously sided with Christie, ruling the governor within his authority to set the special election schedule. The Supreme Court received briefs this week from challengers seeking emergency consideration to invalidate the dates. They say it’s unnecessary to hold a special election so close to regularly scheduled balloting, which will cost taxpayers an extra $12 million. There is no word on when the court might rule. Party primaries are scheduled for Aug. 13. Four Democrats and two Republicans have qualified.
Christie said Tuesday he’s confident his legal argument will prevail. But, he is facing a Supreme Court not of his making. The seven-member court has two temporary justices because the Democrat-led Senate has consistently blocked Christie’s judicial nominees.
Elections expert DeForest Soaries Jr., a former secretary of state to Republican Gov. Christie Whitman and chairman of a federal voting assistance commission, wrote to Christie this week urging him to reconsider.
Soaries said Christie is so popular he shouldn’t worry about having a U.S. Senate race topping his own re-election bid, the self-serving reason critics claim was behind the decision. They say Christie — hoping for a landslide win in November — doesn’t want to risk driving up Democratic turnout by sharing the ballot with a U.S. Senate contest, especially if Newark Mayor Cory Booker wins the primary.
“The only concern should be how to make it as easy as possible for voters,” said Soaries. “No one could argue that holding four elections (two primaries and two general elections) within six months is easiest for voters.”
Soaries, like the challengers, argue that holding elections in mid-October and early November will lead to voter confusion and lower turnout.
Full Article: Christie can set NJ election date, lawyers argue – SFGate.