Federal judge reverses ban on exit polling in New Jersey

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October 26, 2009

TRENTON, NJ-Federal judge Peter Sheridan reversed a decision by the New Jersey Supreme Court to ban exit polling within 100 feet of polling places[1].

The National Election Pool consisting of the four major news networks that are covering the New Jersey Governor's race and the Open Space ballot question challenged the decision claiming that similar attempts to ban exit polling in other states were unsuccessful. Many polling experts said that if New Jersey enacted the ban, there would be higher error rates in conducting exit polling. Experts also said that pollsters are supposed to approach voters in a present pattern by going after every fourth voter. It was noted that if the buffer zone was enacted it would inhibit the ability of a exit pollster's job of gathering timely information[1].

In issuing his ruling, Judge Sheridan said: "there is simply no evidence that exit polling has caused disorderly conduct at the polls." The judge also upheld the First Amendment rights of journalists in the case saying: "news groups have a protected interest in reporting news to the public[1].

See also

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* New Jersey Open Space Bond Issue (2009)