Challenging the Constitutionality of N.J.’s Anti-Fusion Laws

Election Ballot

Our rigid two-party system frames political conflict as a zero-sum, existential fight for the soul of the country. In New Jersey and other states, anti-democratic extremism and polarization are rapidly accelerating. Fusion voting is the off-ramp we need to break this cycle.

Fusion allows multiple political parties to nominate the same candidate on the ballot. With fusion, a centrist minor party can cross-endorse the Democratic or Republican candidate demonstrating a stronger commitment to democracy and the rule of law. This would allow voters, parties, and candidates to put aside differences in order to form the cross-partisan, pro-democracy coalitions needed to stem the rising authoritarian threat.

Voting on the minor party line gives voters a permission slip to vote across partisan lines without sacrificing their partisan identity: they can support the candidate who shares their values without having to support the major party itself. This is a powerful tool. When fusion was legal nationwide throughout the 1800s, minor parties thrived and often played a decisive role in local, state, and federal elections.

Protect Democracy is representing two New Jersey voters, Michael Tomasco and William Kibler, in a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of New Jersey’s statutory prohibition on fusion voting. Our clients are among a broad coalition of liberal, conservative, and centrist voters fighting to bring fusion back to the Garden State.

Fusion voting is good for our democracy: it makes the ballot more informative, it gives a greater voice to citizens who don’t identify with the two major parties or who feel alienated from the political process, and it solves the ‘spoiler’ problem facing minor parties and their supporters.

Miles Rapoport, former Connecticut Secretary of State
Press Coverage

Moderate Party asks Supreme Court to hear fusion voting case
By Nikita Biryukov, New Jersey Monitor, July 20, 2023

‘Anti-Fusion Voting’ Laws and the Problem with a Two-Party System By Udi Ofer, New Jersey Law Journal, July 17, 2023

Appeals court denies bid by N.J., GOP to toss fusion voting lawsuit By Nikita Biryukov, New Jersey Monitor, May 2, 2023

Want to encourage centrists? Tell the party bosses to back off By Editorial Board, Star-Ledger, Apr. 27, 2023

Why we need a 3rd political party in New Jersey By Gov. Christine Todd Whitman and Sen. Robert Torricelli, Star-Ledger, Apr. 23, 2023

Nine months later, fusion voting case trudges on By Nikita Biryukov, New Jersey Monitor, Apr. 20, 2023

FDU Poll: Majority in New Jersey support Fusion Ticket laws By Dan Cassino, Fairleigh Dickinson University Poll, Feb. 16, 2023

Push for fusion voting in New Jersey didn’t end with Rep. Tom Malinowski’s loss By Terrence T. McDonald, New Jersey Monitor, Nov. 22, 2022

Does Fusion Voting Offer Americans a Way Out of the Partisan Morass? By Blake Hounshell, The New York Times, Nov. 21, 2022

Why pro-democracy advocates want to bring back this electoral system from the 1800s By Talib Visram, Fast Company, Oct. 20, 2022

New Jersey Centrists Seek to Legalize Their Dream: The Moderate Party By Blake Hounshell, The New York Times, June 7, 2022

Heard of fusion voting? It would actually benefit New Jersey By Miles Rapoport, The Star Ledger, Sept. 30, 2022

I’m suing NJ to fix election laws. Why? We need fusion voting By Michael Tomasco, The Bergen Record, September 30, 2022

What is fusion voting and why do some want to revive it in New Jersey? By Dana Difilppo, New Jersey Monitor, Aug. 1, 2022

The Regional Roundup WHYY Radio Times, July 25, 2022

Case Documents

Case Documents

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