New Jersey will drop a requirement that candidates for public office sign an oath that includes the phrase “so help me God” in filing paperwork for their candidacy.
“The petitioner has the option to make a solemn affirmation or declaration in lieu of an oath,” Lauren Zyriek, acting director of the state’s Division of Elections said in a memo to all county clerks, NJ.com reported.
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The Oct. 24 memo came after Bergen County resident 70-year-old James Tosone — who hopes to run for Congress as a Libertarian — filed a federal lawsuit against Secretary of State Tahesha Way, claiming New Jersey forces people who run for office to swear to a religious oath.
In his lawsuit, Tosone, a resident of Washington Township, claimed that his conscience would not let him swear to God, the newspaper said.
“By requiring plaintiff to swear ‘so help me God,’ in order to run for public office, without a secular option, the secretary of state has inflicted, and will continue to inflict, irreparable harm upon (Tosone),” the suit states.
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Zyriek’s memo states that “in the affirmation or declaration, the words ‘so help me God’ shall be omitted.”
Tosone dropped his lawsuit this week.