WASHINGTON – Democratic Sen. Robert Torricelli's attempt to get off the New Jersey election ballot may not be as easy as he thought.
Thirteen of New Jersey's 21 counties have already printed ballots with Torricelli's name on them. Five counties have mailed absentee and military ballots with Torricelli's name on them and at least one county -- Mercer County -- has begun to receive back some completed absentee ballots with votes cast.
Torricelli dropped out of the race on Monday, saying that he didn't want to be responsible for the loss of the one-seat Democratic majority in the Senate. Scandal has plagued Torricelli for a year as investigators looked into allegations that he received illegal campaign contributions.
While no legal charges were filed, last summer the Senate ethics committee "severely admonished" Torricelli for his behavior. Since then, he has been steadily declining in the polls until reaching a 14-point deficit in a Star Ledger/Eagleton-Rutgers poll last weekend.
But Torricelli may have waited too long to drop out of the race.
According to New Jersey law, candidates must give elections officials 51 days notice prior to Election Day if they want to quit. Legislation states that the advance notice is needed in order to allow elections officials enough time to print and distribute ballots.
Torricelli wrote the 21 county clerks, the director of the Division of Elections and the New Jersey secretary of state on Monday telling them he wanted to be removed from the ballot.
In his letter to Attorney General Dave Samson, Torricelli wrote: "I am further requesting that you direct each and every County Clerk to refrain from proceeding to print the general election ballot -- in order to effect a substitution of my candidacy."
Samson responded by writing the 21 county clerks and warning them that ballots may have to be changed.
Democratic State Committee counsel Angelo Genova filed a petition in Middlesex County Superior Court on Tuesday to block 21 county clerks from printing Torricelli's name on the Nov. 5 ballot and to allow the Democratic State Committee to name his replacement. The court has kicked the case to the state Supreme Court, which has agreed to hear arguments on Wednesday.
A draft of the Democratic motion acknowledges what the law says then argues that if the 51-day deadline is enforced, the democracy will be thwarted.
"New Jersey voters would be deprived of the opportunity to make a choice between the two major political parties, an opportunity which is paramount under our election laws," Genova's letter said.
Fox News' Carl Cameron contributed to this report.