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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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All Five Ballot-Listed Gubernatorial Candidates in Massachusetts Debate Each Other

Published on September 29, 2014,

All five candidates who are on the ballot for Governor of Massachusetts participated in a televised debate. See this story.

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Kansas State Court Hears Case Over Whether Democrats Should be Forced to Nominate a U.S. Senate Candidate

Published on September 29, 2014,

Here is a newspaper story describing the September 29 hearing in Orel v Kansas Democratic Party, the case in which a voter sued the party to force it to run a U.S. Senate candidate. The plaintiff did not appear in court. There is nothing that says plaintiffs must appear in court in their own cases, but his absence was still noted in the oral argument. The judges refused to let the Secretary of State intervene in this case.

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Libertarian Candidate for U.S. Senate in Kentucky Sues Public TV for Admission into October 13 Debate

Published on September 29, 2014,

On September 28, David Patterson, Libertarian nominee for U.S. Senate in Kentucky, sued Kentucky Educational TV for refusing to invite him into the only U.S. Senate debate in Kentucky this year. Libertarian National Committee v Holliday, eastern district, 3:14cv-63. The case is assigned to U.S. District Court Judge Gregory VanTatenhove, a Bush Jr. appointee.

The lawsuit charges that the station’s original criterion for an invitation to the debate, which Patterson met, was changed with the intent to exclude him. Polls have shown Patterson above 5%. The original rules required a 5% showing, but after the poll came out, the station altered its rules to require a higher level of support. Here is the Complaint. The text is 22 pages and the additional pages are copies of internal communications within Kentucky Educational TV.

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U.S. Supreme Court, by Vote of 5-4, Blocks Early Voting in First Week of October in Ohio

Published on September 29, 2014,

On September 29, the U.S. Supreme Court, by a vote of 5-4, blocked last week’s Sixth Circuit order which told Ohio to let voters cast “early votes” during the first week of October. See this Scotusblog story.

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Kansas Democratic Party Files Brief, Arguing State Cannot Force it to Nominate a U.S. Senate Candidate

Published on September 29, 2014,

On September 29, the Kansas Democratic Party filed this 31-page brief in a trial court in Shawnee County, Kansas, in Orel v Kansas Democratic Party. The brief argues many reasons why the Secretary of State is wrong to insist that the Democratic Party must nominate a candidate for U.S. Senate. Pages 19-23 of the brief make the First Amendment argument, that the Constitution protects the ability of a party to make these decisions for itself.

In addition, the brief says if the Democratic Party voter who filed the case wants to vote for a Democrat for U.S. Senate, he is free to cast a write-in vote in the general election. Thanks to Rick Hasen for the link. UPDATE: here is the Secretary of State’s brief.

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U.S. Supreme Court Likely to Make Decision about Three Election Law Cases on Monday, September 29

Published on September 29, 2014,

The U.S. Supreme Court holds a conference on Monday, September 29. The Court will consider whether to hear Williams-Yulee v Florida Bar Association, 13-1499, over whether candidates for judge can be told they may not solicit campaign contributions for themselves.

Also the Court will consider whether to hear Arizona State Legislature v Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission, 13-1314. The issue is whether Article One of the U.S. Constitution, which requires state legislatures to write laws about congressional elections, is violated by independent congressional redistricting commissions. The lower court had upheld the Arizona redistricting commission’s authority by 2-1.

Finally, the Court will consider whether to countermand last week’s order of the Sixth Circuit that Ohio must permit early voting during the first week of October and on the Sunday and Monday before election day.

It is not clear when the Court will reveal what it has done at conference. It could be this afternoon, or Tuesday morning.