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  Ballot Access News is edited and published by Richard Winger, the nation's leading expert on ballot access legal issues.

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North Carolina Representative Jason R. Saine Expected to Introduce Bill to Ease Number of Signatures for Ballot Access

Published on December 19, 2014,

North Carolina Representative Jason R. Saine (R-Lincolnton) is expected to introduce a bill in 2015, lowering the number of signatures for newly-qualifying parties and independent candidates to get on the ballot. Currently, North Carolina requires more signatures to get a party, or a statewide independent candidate, on the ballot than any other state. The 2016 petition requirement for both is 89,366 signatures. The petition for a party is due in May, and for an independent candidate, in June.

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California Minor Parties Ask State Appeals Court to Take Note of Low Voter Turnout in 2014

Published on December 19, 2014,

Attorneys for the Libertarian, Peace & Freedom, and Green Parties have asked the California State Court of Appeals to take judicial notice of the Secretary of State’s Statement of Votes for the November 2014 election. That document says the turnout in November 2014 was substantially lower than in any other regularly-scheduled California general election in history. The submission was made in the lawsuit Rubin v Bowen, which challenges the top-two primary on voting rights grounds. The State Court of Appeals will hear the case on January 15, 2015, in San Francisco.

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Illinois Governor Wants Legislature to Pass Bill, Authorizing Special Election for Comptroller in 2016

Published on December 19, 2014,

As note earlier, Judy Baar Topinka, who was re-elected Illinois State Comptroller, died after the election but before her new term started. Governor Pat Quinn wants a special election to fill the second half of the term. He has called the legislature into session for January 8, 2015, to pass a bill authorizing such a special election to be held in November 2016.

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Michigan Bill to Allow Out-of-State Circulators Passes Legislature

Published on December 19, 2014,

On December 18, the Michigan legislature passed SB 1167. It repeals laws that ban unregistered circulators, and out-of-state circulators, from working in Michigan. The bill had been introduced on December 4, 2014, and made rapid progress through the legislature. Here is the analysis of all the changes the bill makes. Thanks to John Anthony LaPietra for this news.

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Arizona Green Party is Back on Ballot

Published on December 19, 2014,

On December 18, the Arizona Secretary of State notified the Green Party that its petition for qualified status has enough valid signatures. The Green Party had submitted 30,667 signatures, and 84.6% of them (25,951) are valid. Most of the signatures on this petition had been collected to get the party on the ballot in time for the 2014 election, when the requirement was 23,041. The deadline for the 2014 election was February 28, 2014. The party missed that deadline but submitted its signatures anyway, but the state rejected them. The party then sued to overturn the February 28 deadline. The U.S. District Court upheld the deadline, and the party is appealing to the Ninth Circuit.

The appeal won’t be moot, because in 1969 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that ballot access constitutional challenges don’t become moot just because the election is over; the issue needs to be resolved for future elections.

The U.S. District Court decision said that the signatures could be used to try to get on the 2016 ballot. It’s not clear if the Secretary of State would have permitted those same signatures to be used for 2016 if the Court had not said that, but in any event the party then supplemented the petition, and turned in the petition again. Neither the party, nor anyone else, could have known that the November 2014 turnout would be so low, the requirement declined from 23,041 signatures to 20,086 signatures.

Arizona law, amended in 2011, says a petition is good for the next two elections, so now the Greens will be on not only for 2016, but 2018, and the state will again keep a tally of the number of voters who register Green. However, the state won’t print the name of the Green Party on the voter registration card; state law says only the two largest parties should have their own checkbox on the voter registration form. The constitutionality of that policy will be heard in the Ninth Circuit on January 29 in Tucson. Thanks to Angel Torres for the news about the petition success.

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Virginia Legislator Resigns from Legislature, but Will Run in the Special Election to Regain his old Seat

Published on December 18, 2014,

Virginia will hold a special election soon to fill a vacancy in the House of Delegates. The vacancy was caused when Delegate Joseph D. Morrissey, a Democrat, resigned. He resigned because he plea-bargained to a misdemeanor; this article explains more about that. He recently announced that he will run in the special election to return to the legislature. See this story, which suggests that the Democratic Party is not likely to nominate him, but that he is free to run as an independent.

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