On October 25, the New Jersey Superior Court in Atlantic County upheld that county’s general election ballot format, a format that strongly discriminates against candidates other than the Democratic and Republican nominees. The two major parties each have their own party column. All other candidates are squeezed into a column headed by “Nomination by Petition” on the far right-hand side of the ballot. The case, Stein v McGettigan, will be appealed.
The plaintiff, Gary Stein, is an independent candidate for Assembly, 2nd district, in the November 5, 2013 election. He had filed the case on July 15, 2013, but for some reason it was not heard until it would have been too late for any relief anyway.
New Jersey has not had any ballot-qualified parties other than the Democratic and Republican Parties ever since the definition of “political party” was amended in 1920. There is no other state with a historical record that restrictive. The law requires a group to have polled 10% of all the votes cast for lower house of the state legislature, for its nominees for state legislature. New Jersey is the only state that has ever had a vote test that excludes all the statewide offices.
See this story about the court hearing. As the article notes, not all counties in New Jersey use a discriminatory ballot format. State law permits each county to design its own general election ballot.