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NJ League of Women Voters, NAACP file motion in Trump vs. Murphy lawsuit on voting
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NJ League of Women Voters, NAACP file motion in Trump vs. Murphy lawsuit on voting


{child_flags:top_story}{child_flags:breaking}League, NAACP back Murphy in lawsuit


Staff Writer


The League of Women Voters of New Jersey and the NAACP New Jersey State Conference filed a motion late Monday to intervene in Trump v. Murphy, the lawsuit challenging New Jersey’s mostly vote-by-mail plan for the Nov. 3 election.

“The governor’s order prioritizes public health without jeopardizing voting rights,” said Jesse Burns, executive director of the League of Women Voters of New Jersey. “This lawsuit is an attempt by outsiders to sow discord, undermine voters’ confidence and disrupt safe voter access for New Jerseyans.”

The groups, who said it is too late to change plans now without greatly confusing the public, announced the move in a news release. They said they are represented by the Campaign Legal Center, New Jersey Institute for Social Justice and DLA Piper, a multinational law firm.

State Sen. Michael Testa, R-Cape May, Cumberland, Atlantic, who is an attorney and part of the legal team working with the GOP on the lawsuit, has said Murphy “made a hasty move without putting any of the necessary safeguards in place,” and Murphy’s actions “undermine the public confidence in the integrity of the elections.”

Trump v. Murphy argues the “U.S. Constitution entrusts state legislatures to set the time, place and manner of congressional elections and to determine how the state chooses electors for the presidency.”

It says Murphy usurped the Legislature’s authority by “purporting to rewrite the election code for the November 2020 election,” calling it a “brazen power grab.”

On Friday, Murphy signed into law three bills that regulate how the vote-by-mail election will be conducted. It remains to be seen how the Legislature’s actions may affect the lawsuit, since they do involve the Legislature in making decisions about the election.

The suit was filed in August in U.S. District Court in New Jersey by the Trump campaign, joined by the Republican National Committee and the New Jersey Republican State Committee. Similar suits have been filed in other states, with critics claiming the vote-by-mail effort will lead to more voter fraud.

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The Atlantic County Democratic Committee filed the first motion to intervene in support of Murphy, said Chairman Michael Suleiman. He said the judge is allowing the group to file an amicus brief, and is so far the only county party in the state to get involved.

The League of Women Voters of New Jersey said it has invested significant time and resources informing voters of their options and requirements to vote this year. It says a change in the governor’s executive order is likely to create voter confusion that could keep voters from the polls.

But Testa and others who have advocated allowing voters to decide whether to vote by mail or by machine have argued that many voters unfamiliar with the process of vote-by-mail will make mistakes that cause their ballots to be ruled invalid. Tens of thousands of New Jersey voters had their ballots ruled invalid in the July 7 mostly-vote-by-mail primary, they have argued.

“The New Jersey NAACP is proud to intervene in this lawsuit in order to avoid further voter confusion and to protect the format of the 2020 general election,” said Richard Smith, president of the NAACP New Jersey State Conference. “As the Black community continues to be ravaged by the COVID-19 pandemic, it is paramount to ensure people are able to exercise their franchise and feel safe when doing so.”

The league’s motion argues the suit, in seeking to block the automatic mailing of vote-by-mail ballots, will require the group to invest substantial resources to re-educate voters right before an election, with no guarantee that voters will realize they now must apply for their vote-by-mail ballots in time to vote this November.

“Voters in New Jersey are relying on receiving their ballots automatically in the mail. Altering course at this time could prevent voters from being able to participate in the presidential election,” said Paul Smith, vice president of litigation and strategy for the Campaign Legal Center.



{child_related_content}{child_related_content_item}{child_related_content_style}More Information{/child_related_content_style}{child_related_content_title}New election laws{/child_related_content_title}{child_related_content_content}

Bills Gov. Phil Murphy signed into law Friday:

A4475/S2580 (Reynolds-Jackson, Benson, Caputo/Singleton, Sarlo, Beach) — Requires county boards of election to establish ballot drop boxes in each county at least 45 days before election; revises procedures concerning mail-in ballots for 2020 general election.

A4276/S2598 (Zwicker, Benson, Conaway/Gopal, Sarlo, Gill) — Establishes “The Ballot Cure Act” to modify and establish various voting procedures.

A4320/S2633 (Zwicker, Benson, Freiman/Gopal, Sarlo) — Extends ballot receipt and election certification deadlines; increases certain messenger and bearer ballot limits; requires certain information to increase public awareness and use of voting by mail.


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Staff Writer

In my first job after college got paid to read the New York Times and summarize articles for an early online data base. First reporting job was with The Daily Record in Parsippany. I have also worked in nonprofits, and have been with The Press since 1990.

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