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The name Carl Lewis will be on the ballot for the New Jersey senate election this November. Republicans claimed Lewis, a Democrat, was not eligible to run for senate, but much to their dismay, the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals overturned previous ruling to take Lewisâ name off the ballot on September 13.
Republicans, including New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, claimed Lewis, who is running for the 8th Legislative District Seat currently held by Dawn Marie Addiego (Rep.), did not fulfill the residency requirements needed to become senator of New Jersey. In Article IV, Section II, Paragraph 2 of the New Jersey Constitution, it states that a senate candidate must have been a legal resident of New Jersey for four years before running for senator.
Lewis, 50, grew up in New Jersey and went to Texas for college. He moved to California after finishing school. In 2005, he bought a pair of condominiums in New Jersey, and in 2007, he bought a house in the same state. However, Kim Guadagno, Lieutenant Governor and Secretary of State of New Jersey, argued that Lewis bought the house eight days after the election-date cutoff, which is November 8.
Complaints about his residency also stemmed from records showing he voted in California as recently as 2009. The complaint was filed in April, stated that by voting in California in 2009, Lewis was still legally a resident of California, and could not have been a resident of New Jersey at the same time.
Republicans contested Lewisâ candidacy in April, just after announcing that he would be running for Senate. On September 7, a federal district court in Philadelphia decided Lewis did not fulfill the requirements of residency. Lewis and his attorney, Bill Tambussi, contested that decision and appealed to federal and state courts to try to reverse the ruling.
Tambussi opposed arguments that the four-year residency rule helped candidates see which issues were important to voters. In court, he argued that anyone with access to a computer would be able to read about the issues and judge which issues were important.
United States District Court Judge Noel Hillman countered this argument by saying that there was a difference between reading news on the computer and listening to what local people have to say about the issues. However, the judges allowed Lewisâ name to be reinstated on the ballot â though they never issued an official opinion, given the panel room to reconsider the decision if needed.
The decision to reinstate Lewisâ name came just days before printing November ballots was to begin. On September 19, the panel of judges began reconsidering the ruling, and asked both sides to appear in court to answer additional questions.
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