Judge scraps controversial ‘county line’ on primary election ballot

A federal judge on Friday took the “extraordinary” step of stopping the use of the preferential “county line” on ballots in this June’s primary elections. The decision is a big win for U.S. Rep. Andy Kim (D-3rd), now the front-runner for the Democratic U.S. Senate nomination, and progressive groups that have fought the system for years.

In a 49-page ruling, U.S. District Court Judge Zahid N. Quraishi granted the preliminary injunction sought by Kim to prevent the use of county-line bracketing on the primary ballots in June.

The ruling appears to end the use of the county line not just for the Senate race, but for all seats on the ballot and for both Democratic and Republican candidates.

Quraishi issued an order stating that county clerks can only draft ballots that use an “office-block” style, with a randomized order that gives each candidate for a given office an equal chance at getting the top ballot position.

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