2013 New Jersey Revised Statutes
Title 19 - ELECTIONS
Section 19:44A-46 - Number of debates; timing, sponsorship.


NJ Rev Stat § 19:44A-46 (2013) What's This?

19:44A-46 Number of debates; timing, sponsorship.

10. a. The series of gubernatorial primary debates under subsection a. of section 9 of P.L.1989, c.4 (C.19:44A-45) shall consist of two debates. Each of the debates shall be of at least one hour's duration. The first debate in the series shall occur not earlier than the date on which the ballot for the primary election in which candidates are to be nominated for election to the office of Governor is finally certified by the Secretary of State to the clerks of the several counties, and the second debate in the series shall occur not later than the 11th day prior to the primary election to select candidates for that office unless an emergency, as determined by the vote of a majority of the participating candidates, requires the postponement thereof, but the second gubernatorial primary debate shall in no event be held later than the second day preceding that primary election.

b.The series of gubernatorial election debates under subsection b. of section 9 of P.L.1989, c.4 (C.19:44A-45) shall consist of three debates, two for candidates seeking the office of Governor and one for candidates seeking the office of Lieutenant Governor. The debate for candidates seeking the office of Lieutenant Governor shall be the second of the three debates. Each of the gubernatorial election debates shall be of at least one hour's duration. The first debate in the series shall occur not earlier than the third Tuesday following the first Monday in September of the year in which a general election is to be held for the offices of Governor and Lieutenant Governor, and the third debate in the series shall occur not later than the 11th day prior to the general election for that office unless an emergency, as determined by the vote of a majority of the participating candidates, requires the postponement thereof, but the final gubernatorial election debate shall in no event be held later than the second day preceding that general election.

c.Organizations which are not affiliated with any political party or with any holder of or candidate for public office, which have not endorsed any candidate in the pending primary or general election for the offices of Governor and Lieutenant Governor, shall be eligible to sponsor one or more interactive gubernatorial primary debates or interactive gubernatorial election debates under subsection a. or subsection b., respectively, of this section. In addition, any association of two or more separately owned news publications or broadcasting outlets, including newspapers, radio stations or networks, and television stations or networks, having between or among them a substantial readership or audience in this State, and any association of print or broadcast news or press service correspondents having among them a substantial readership or audience in this State, shall be eligible to sponsor any such gubernatorial primary or gubernatorial election debate, without regard to whether that association or any of its members shall previously have sponsored any debate among candidates for Statewide office.

The Election Law Enforcement Commission shall accept applications from eligible organizations and eligible associations of news publications and broadcasting outlets or news or press service correspondents to sponsor one or more of those interactive gubernatorial debates. Applications to sponsor debates under subsection a. shall be submitted to the commission no later than March 15 of any year in which a primary election is to be held to nominate candidates for the office of Governor, and applications to sponsor debates under subsection b. shall be submitted to the commission no later than July 1 of any year in which a general election is to be held to fill the offices of Governor and Lieutenant Governor.

Where the number of eligible applicants to sponsor gubernatorial primary debates or gubernatorial election debates exceeds the number prescribed under subsection a. or subsection b. of this section, respectively, the Election Law Enforcement Commission shall select the sponsors from among the applicants within 30 days of the last day for submitting those applications, as provided by this subsection. To the maximum extent practicable and feasible, the commission shall select a different sponsor for each of the interactive gubernatorial debates, but shall not be precluded from selecting the same sponsor for more than one debate.

The sponsors selected by the commission shall be responsible for selecting the date, time and location of the debates, subject to the limitations set forth in this section. The rules for conducting each debate shall be solely the responsibility of the sponsors so selected, but shall not be made final without consultation with both the chairman of the New Jersey Republican State Committee and the chairman of the New Jersey Democratic State Committee in the case of gubernatorial primary debates, and with a representative designated by each of the participating candidates in the case of gubernatorial election debates.

L.1989, c.4, s.10; amended 1991, c.317; 2009, c.66, s.26.


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