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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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Public Policy Polling Tells Montana Respondents that Montana Only Has Two Candidates for U.S. Senate, When There are Three

Published on July 22, 2014,

On July 22, Public Policy Polling released a poll for the Montana U.S. Senate race. Respondents in this poll were told, “The candidates for U.S. Senate are Democrat John Walsh and Republican Steve Daines.” They were then asked which of the two they prefer.

There are three candidates on the November ballot for U.S. Senate in Montana. The candidate not acknowledged by PPP is Roger Roots, the Libertarian nominee. The behavior of PPP in this instance should be condemned by every person who values honesty. It is one thing for pollsters to decide to exclude certain ballot-listed candidates from their poll; it is quite another for pollsters to mislead the voters they talk to.

The results of the poll are: Steve Daines 46%, John Walsh 39%, “undecided” 15%. Thanks to PoliticalWire for the link.

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Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Campaign Challenges Primary Petition of His Only Democratic Rival

Published on July 22, 2014,

The campaign of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is challenging the Democratic Party primary petition of Zephyr Teachout, a law professor who is also seeking the Democratic nomination for Governor. See this story. She submitted 45,000 signatures and needs 15,000 signatures of registered Democrats. Thanks to Rick Hasen for the link.

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Two Campaign Contributors File Lawsuit Against Federal Bifurcated Campaign Contribution Limit

Published on July 22, 2014,

Federal campaign law says that individuals may contribute up to $5,200 to the campaign of a congressional candidate. However, the law says the donor can only give $2,600 in the primary season, and may only give $2,600 in the general election season. On July 21, two potential donors filed a lawsuit against the “bifurcation” requirement. They argue that if Congress does not believe that a contribution of $5,200 to a candidate leads to a danger that the candidate will be bribed by the contribution, then there is no rational reason why the donor can’t give the entire $5,200 for the general election campaign season.

The case is Holmes v Federal Election Commission, U.S. District Court, D.C., 1:14cv-01243. Here is the 19-page complaint. Thanks to the Center for Competitive Politics for the link. The plaintiffs happen to live in Florida, but challenges to federal campaign laws are always filed in Washington, D.C. The case will probably be assigned to a 3-judge U.S. District Court, because non-frivolous challenges to federal campaign laws are entitled to a 3-judge court, by act of Congress.

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Political Scientists Ray LaRaja and Brian Scaffner Say Laws that Weaken Political Parties Help Cause Polarization

Published on July 22, 2014,

Ray LaRaja and Brian Scaffner, political science professors at the University of Massachusetts, here argue that strong political parties reduce polarization. They also conclude that federal campaign finance laws, especially the McCain-Feingold law which still hobbles political parties, are partly to blame for weakening parties, and therefore increasing polarization. Thanks to several people for the link.

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Curtis Gans Says 2014 Likely to Have Lowest Midterm Primary Turnout in History

Published on July 22, 2014,

Curtis Gans, an expert on the statistics of voter turnout, says in this article that 2014 seems likely to have the lowest primary voter turnout for any midterm year in U.S. history. Thanks to Thomas Jones for the link.

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Ed Rabel, Independent U.S. House Candidate in West Virginia, Certified for the November Ballot

Published on July 22, 2014,

Ed Rabel, a prominent journalist for several decades, has been certified for a place on the November 2014 West Virginia ballot. He is running for U.S. House in an open seat. See this story.