ATLANTIC CITY — A hearing to dismiss a complaint filed by independent Assembly candidate Gary Stein, against Atlantic County Clerk Edward McGettigan over the layout of the New Jersey’s general election ballot was adjourned Friday.
The hearing was postponed until next Friday to allow Stein more time to find legal backing to support his claim, at his request.
Stein filed a complaint against McGettigan in July over the layout of the general election ballot he considers to be “grossly prejudicial” against independent candidates like himself. Under state statute, the county clerk has the discretion to lay out the ballot as he or she chooses.
“That’s not fair. That’s the issue,” Stein said.
County Counsel James Ferguson , representing McGettigan, filed a notice Aug. 29 for a motion to dismiss the complaint based on Stein’s alleged failure to state cause of action. Stein filed a response to the motion Sept. 16, and the hearing was set for Friday to determine whether or not to grant the motion.
In court Friday, Ferguson said Stein doesn’t have legal basis to move forward with his complaint.
“To put it simply, in order for (Stein) to move past today he has to establish that there is a legal predicate that will allow him to survive the motion,” Ferguson said. “There is no tenable legal basis to allow this case to go forward. He basically alleges he doesn’t like the way that the ballot is drawn.”
Superior Court Judge James Savio agreed.
“If I grant (Ferguson’s) motion, I will have found as a matter of law that your complaint doesn’t state a legal basis,” he said. “Mr. Ferguson has cited three cases and several statutes. What statutes or cases are you relying on? My job is to interpret the law, not to legislate. We’re in a courtroom I have to apply the law.”
Stein said he is citing the U.S. Constitution.
“I am a citizen of the Unites States. I have a right to run in an election and have a chance of winning,” he said. “I have no chance. It’s election fraud. ”
Savio said that wasn’t good enough and told him to come back next week with a legal basis or the motion to dismiss the complaint will be granted.
“I’m going to resolve this one way or another next Friday,” Stein said.
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