Judge Denies ACLU and LWV Suit to Keep Polls Open Past 8 PM

Election Day

A few moments ago, the polls in New Jersey closed, over the entreaties of two organizations that had taken legal action to keep them open.

The League of Women Voters of New Jersey and American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey filed suit today in state Superior Court, Mercer County Division, seeking an extension of open polls by an extra 90 minutes.

A judge tonight denied the suit.

The defendant was Tahesha Way, secretary of state for the State of New Jersey.

The suit cites trouble this morning with voting machines.

The ACLU issued a statement following the decision.

 The Superior Court of New Jersey Mercer County denied a request to extend polling place hours following a lawsuit filed by the ACLU of New Jersey and the League of Women Voters of New Jersey. Polling places closed at 8 p.m.

The ACLU of New Jersey and the League of Women Voters of New Jersey filed the suit earlier this evening in an attempt to keep the polls open until 9:30 p.m. due to operational problems with electronic voting machines that resulted in delayed openings at polling locations, long lines, and confusion.

“Operational issues should not prevent voters from casting a ballot,” said ACLU-NJ Legal Director Jeanne LoCicero. “We heard reports throughout the day that there were people being denied access to their right to vote and felt the need to take urgent action. We’re disappointed that the judge didn’t agree, but we will always take action to protect one of our most fundamental civil rights: the right to cast a ballot and participate in democracy.”

“Polling place delays and issues statewide caused voters to leave without casting a ballot,” said Jesse Burns, Executive Director of the League of Women Voters of New Jersey. “These voters showed up, waited in long lines, only to run out of time before they had to leave or were turned away. They had the right to have their voice heard in this election.”

New Jersey law requires that polling locations be open between the hours of 6:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. Due to widespread technological issues reported throughout New Jersey, voters throughout the state were unable to cast their ballot at their local polling locations during these scheduled hours. The late opening of numerous polling locations spread across the state and ongoing operational issues throughout the day resulted in dozens of voters being turned away, asked to return later, or leaving because of the long waits, resulting in their inability to cast a ballot.

From the suit, reprinted below in its entirety:

“This action is brought by the League of Women Voters of New Jersey and the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey to protect one of the most fundamental civil rights: the right to cast a ballot and participate in democracy.

“New Jersey law requires that polling locations be open between the hours of 6:00 A.M. and 8:00 P.M. Standard Time. Due to widespread technological issues reported throughout New Jersey, voters throughout New Jersey have been unable to cast their ballot at their local polling locations during these scheduled hours. The late opening of numerous polling locations spread across the state and ongoing operational issues throughout the day has resulted in dozens of voters being turned away, asked to return later, or leaving because of the long waits, resulting in their inability to cast a ballot. This necessitates the extension of voting hours such that voters, including Plaintiffs’ members, who were unable to wait for operational voting machines during scheduled hours can vote after 8:00 p.m.

2021-11-02 LVWNJ v Sec of State complaint
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