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Saturday, July 13, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Media Sue N.J. Over Election Day Bar

TRENTON, N.J. (CN) - The New Jersey Press Association sued the state for barring media from interviewing or photographing voters within 100 feet of polling areas on Election Day.

A dozen newspapers and a TV network joined in the federal complaint against New Jersey's Attorney General and Secretary of State.

The state barred media from "expressive activity within 100 feet of a polling place" in an Attorney General's Directive on Exit Polling: Media and Non-Partisan Public Interest Groups.

The media claims the state's prohibition "frustrates plaintiffs' goal of obtaining accurate information about the political process so that they can relay that information to the public. The greater the distance between plaintiffs' reporters and/or photographers and the polling place, the more difficult it becomes for reporters to conduct interviews and for photographers to take photographs of voters. The farther away from a polling place a reporter and/or photographer is located, the greater the likelihood that a voter will get into his/her car and drive away, get on his/her cell phone or disappear into a crowd, before the reporter and/or photographer has an opportunity to approach the voter for an interview and/or photograph. Furthermore, as distance increases, it becomes harder to differentiate those who are voters and those who are not and to discern those who are exiting the polling place, as opposed to those who are arriving to vote."

The groups seek a preliminarily and permanent injunction preventing the defendants from enforcing the directive.

They are represented by Thomas Cafferty, with Gibbons P.C., of Newark.

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