Bloomberg News

New Jersey Appeals Court Rejects Challenge to Election Date (1)

June 13, 2013

A New Jersey appeals court rejected a challenge to Governor Chris Christie’s decision to hold a special election Oct. 16 to replace U.S. Senator Frank Lautenberg, who died last week.

Ten state organizations had supported a lawsuit claiming voting within 20 days of the Nov. 5 general election will reduce turnout and cost an estimated $12 million. The appeals court said today that the proximity of the elections doesn’t add to the time or effort required to participate, and there’s no evidence it “burdens any voter more than participating in two elections further apart in time.”

“In our view, there is no question of statutory or constitutional violation that is ripe, and, as the state’s chief executive officer, the governor’s policy decision and assessment of the feasibility of accomplishing it is not reviewable,” the three-judge panel said.

The panel issued its opinion without any oral argument in the case.

Somerset County Democratic Chairwoman Peg Schaffer filed an emergency challenge to the special election date on June 7 as a four-way battle for the Democratic nomination begins. The contest took shape after Lautenberg, an 89-year-old Democrat, died June 3, and Christie called for a quick campaign to select a successor to fill out the remainder of his fifth term.

Schaffer didn’t immdiately return a telephone message or e-mail seeking comment.

Christie appointed his attorney general, Jeffrey Chiesa, to fill the senate seat until the Oct. 16 special election.

New Jersey Citizen Action and the New Jersey Black Issues Convention were among the groups opposing the election date.

The case is Grillo v. Christie, A-4648-12T2, Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division (Trenton).

To contact the reporter on this story: Sophia Pearson in Philadelphia at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at

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