Carl Lewis gets back on the ballot for state Senate

Appeals court says Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno did not show good enough reasons for enforcing the residency requirement for candidates.

Carl Lewis

He was on the ballot, he was off. He was on, he was off.

Now a federal appeals court has ordered Carl Lewis back on the ballot for state Senate – and this time, it could be for good.

In Lewis’ latest legal action, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit said the state of New Jersey – specifically, Secretary of State/Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno – did not show good enough reasons for enforcing the residency requirement for candidates.

In the order issued late this afternoon, Circuit Judge Thomas L. Ambro further pointed out that, although Guadagno’s arguments were logical enough, they didn’t really show how state interests were threatened.

Lewis has been struggling to get his name on the ballot for the 8th Legislative District senate seat, to run against state Sen. Dawn Marie Addiego (R-Burlington). Republicans had argued that he did not meet the state’s four-year residency requirement, because he had voted in California as recently as 2009.

However, the former Olympian says he has owned two homes in the state since 2005, has had a driver’s license here since 2006, and has been a volunteer track coach back in Willingboro since 2007. Beyond that, he argued that keeping him off the ballot violates the federal constitution.

In earlier reports of the discussions in court today, judges were also questioning the need for a residency requirement in Lewis’ case, since he is familiar with state issues and is well known to New Jersey residents.

About Barry Lank

Barry Lank is a former TV and radio writer, and, like most people, was editor of the Courier-Post opinion page in Cherry Hill, at some point. If you look up, you'll realize he's watching you read this.View all posts by Barry Lank