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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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New York State Senate Race Won by Democrat Who Only Polled 32.65% of Vote Cast

Published on December 21, 2014,

The State Senate race in New York’s 60th district in Buffalo featured a four-candidate race, in which the winning Democrat, Marc Panepinto, won with only 32.65% of the vote.

The incumbent State Senator, Republican Mark G. Grisanti, lost the Republican primary to Kevin T. Stocker. Grisanti had voted for a gun control measure and Stocker based his campaign on opposition to the measure, although it had already been passed and signed into law. But Grisanti was still in the general election because the Independence Party nominated him. The Conservative Party ran its own nominee, Timothy D. Gallagher, because both Grisanti and Stocker support same-sex marriage. Thus, there were four candidates in the race.

The results were: Panepinto received 27.71% on the Democratic line and another 4.94% on the Working Families line, for a total of 32.65%.

Stocker received 30.86% on the Republican line.

Grisanti received 28.10% on the Independence line.

Gallagher received 8.40% on the Conservative line.

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Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel Challenges Three-Fourths of Willie Wilson’s Signatures, Including Wilson’s Own Signature

Published on December 21, 2014,

Here is an article about the challenge to Willie Wilson’s petitions to be on the ballot for Mayor of Chicago. Incumbent Rahm Emanuel has challenged approximately three-fourths of Wilson’s petitions. According to this story, Emanuel even challenged Wilson’s own signature on his own petition.

Everyone needs at least 12,500 signatures to be on a Chicago ballot for citywide office.

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Arizona Bill to Protect Political Signs During Election Season

Published on December 20, 2014,

Arizona Representative John Allen (R-Scottsdale) has introduced HB 2002, to make it a misdemeanor for anyone to remove or deface a campaign sign between the period 45 days before a primary, and ending a week after the general election. The bill, of course, permits a candidate or his or her representative to remove his or her own sign. Here is a link to the text of the bill. This seems to be the only election law bill introduced so far in the Arizona legislature.

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North Carolina Supreme Court Upholds 2011 Congressional and Legislative Redistricting

Published on December 20, 2014,

On December 19, the North Carolina Supreme Court upheld the 2011 redistricting plan for both U.S. House and state legislature. See this story. The voting rights advocates who brought the case say they will ask the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse the State Supreme Court. A similar case is before the U.S. Supreme Court now, concerning Alabama legislative districts. Both sets of plaintiffs argue that the districts pack too many African-American voters into certain districts, which prevents them from having an impact on most other districts. There were other issues in the North Carolina case as well, concerning splitting precincts.

The North Carolina case is Dickson v Rucho, 201PA12. Here is a link to the 51-page decision. The vote was 4-2, with one justice not voting.

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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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