October 17, 2011
Honorable Mary L. Cooper, United States District Judge
Clarkson S. Fisher Building & U.S. Courthouse
402 East State Street, Room 2020
Trenton, New Jersey 08608
Civil Action NO. 10-4149 (MLC)
Dear Judge Cooper:
After your dismissal of my complaint above in January this year, I wrote the New Jersey Division of Elections (enclosure A) requesting the material for executing the petition to become an official candidate for governor of New Jersey in 2013. That letter went unanswered however I wrote a second letter in September, this time to the Secretary of State and Lt. Governor, Mrs. Guadagno, and she was kind enough to refer the matter the director of the Division of Elections whose answer is enclosure B.
The material to file a petition does not become available until January 2013. It is clear that no petition is reviewed before the deadline for submission which is on the primaries day in June:
N.J.S.A 19:13-9. All such petitions and acceptances thereof shall be filed with the officer or officers to whom they are addressed before 4:00 p.m. of the day of the holding of the primary election for the general election in this Title provided. All petitions when filed shall be open under proper regulations for public inspection.
And it is also evident that the Secretary of State shall not certify any candidate seeking the position of governor until the end of June of the election year:
N.J.S.A. 19:13-22. a. The Secretary of State, not later than eighty-six days before any election whereat any candidates nominated in any direct petition or primary certificate of nomination or State convention certificate filed with him are to be voted for, shall make and certify, under his hand and seal of office, and forward to the clerks of the several counties of the State a statement of all such candidates for whom the voters within such county may be by law entitled to vote at such election. This statement, in addition to the names of the candidates for President and Vice-President of the United States, if any such have been included in any such certificate or petition filed with him, shall contain the names and residences of all other candidates, the offices for which they are respectively nominated, and the names of the parties by which or the political appellation under which they are respectively nominated. Candidates nominated directly by petition, without distinctive political appellation, shall be certified as independent candidates. Similar statements shall be made, certified and forwarded, when vacancies are filled subsequently, according to law.
b. The Secretary of State shall certify and forward the statement required by subsection a. of this section no later than the fourth Friday in June following a primary election for the candidates for the office of Governor for whom the voters may be by law entitled to vote at the next subsequent general election. The statement shall include the information required by subsection a. of this section. Candidates nominated directly by petition for the office of Governor, without distinctive political appellation, shall be certified as independent candidates at the same time as candidates nominated for the office of Governor at a primary election are certified by the Secretary of State. Similar statements shall be made, certified and forwarded, when vacancies are filled subsequently, according to law.
Furthermore, it is very unlikely that the legislature will appropriate any funds for public debates until the end of August or perhaps early September. These aforementioned facts and timetable, put together with the rules of the court regarding standing and ripeness, delay any possible filing to reclaim my constitutional rights to debate without accepting political contributions, until about one month before the debates and at most 2 months before the general election. It is evident that there is not enough time to legally challenge the unconstitutional clause of the election law in question with any possibility of timely remedy:
19:25-15.49 Statement of candidates electing to participate in debates
(a) A candidate who has not by September 1 preceding a general election applied to the Commission for public matching funds may elect to participate in the series of interactive gubernatorial general election debates by:
1. Notifying the Commission in writing no later than September 1 preceding the general election for the office of Governor of his or her intent to participate in the series of gubernatorial general election debates; and
2. Filing a statement of qualification containing evidence that $340,000 has been deposited and expended pursuant to N.J.S.A. 19:44A-32 for gubernatorial general election expenses. The statement of qualification shall contain the same information, as that required at N.J.A.C. 19:25-15.48(a).
I am prepared to stipulate the withdrawal without prejudice of counts 2, 3, and 4 of my complaint but I deeply believe that:
1. The combination of election timetable, court rules, and 19:25-15.49(a)-2 make it impossible to me as a candidate to have access to the debates or have the court review the constitutionality of the financial threshold above in a timely manner.
The statute and timetable in question are suspect of being tailored precisely to muzzle opponents. That is not a light advantage.
2. That such a coordination of factors to inhibit the opposition in a supposedly open and free election amounts to prior restraint not dissimilar to the findings in Bantam Books inc. vs. Sullivan 372 U.S. 58. 70. (1963) and Alexander vs. United States, 509 U.S. 544.550 (1993).
3. The duty of the court, when presented with such dilemma, is to defer all other considerations to a judicial review of an election law which violates the 1st Amendment of the Constitution of the United States.
The combination of rules and statutes form a catch-22 situation where preponderance must be given to the First Amendment.
What use is that voters have free discretion to choose when their choices are limited not by natural selection but by means and ways set so that no challenge is possible?
Accordingly, it is with the upmost respect that I ask you to reopen my complaint to due process.
Very truly yours,
Plaintiff Andrea Dealmagro
Judge Cooper declined to take any action following her receipt of this correspondence and so it was recorded on PACER:
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U.S. District Court
District of New Jersey [LIVE]
Notice of Electronic Filing
|Case Name:||DEALMAGRO v. NEW JERSEY ELECTION LAW ENFORCEMENT COMMISSION|
|Case Number:||3:10-cv-04149-MLC -LHG|
|WARNING: CASE CLOSED on 01/25/2011|
NOTICE and ORDER that the Court intends to take no action on the Submission from Plaintiff dated 10/19/2011. Signed by Judge Mary L. Cooper on 10/21/2011. (eaj)
3:10-cv-04149-MLC -LHG Notice has been electronically mailed to:
JAMES P. WYSE