Bringing Back Fusion Voting: Michael Tomasco & William Kibler v. NJ Division of Elections et al.

  • July 20, 2022
Bringing Back Fusion Voting: Michael Tomasco & William Kibler v. NJ Division of Elections et al.

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
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Case Documents


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