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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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Utah Republican Party Will Sue to Eliminate Petition Bypass for Primary Ballot Access

Published on November 25, 2014,

In 2014, the Utah legislature passed a bill providing that a candidate can get on a primary ballot even if he or she does not have much support at a party caucus. Prior the the 2014 bill’s passage, Utah was the only state in which it was impossible for anyone to get on a partisan primary ballot for any office unless the candidate showed prior support at a party caucus.

The Utah Republican Party doesn’t like the 2014 bill, and will soon file a lawsuit to overturn it, according to this story.

The U.S. Supreme Court decision New York State Board of Elections v Lopez Torres, issued in 2008, makes it likely that the proposed lawsuit will win. That decision, which was unanimous, affirmed that political parties have a First Amendment right to stop direct nomination of candidates in their own primaries, if that is what they want. The 2008 decision upheld a New York law that says political parties nominate candidates for Supreme Court Justice in party conventions. The lower courts had said there must be a method for candidates to get on a primary directly, but the U.S. Supreme Court reversed the lower courts.

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Zoltan Istvan is Working to Create the Transhumanist Party

Published on November 25, 2014,

Zoltan Istvan said last month that he intends to form the Transhumanist Party, and to be its presidential candidate. In California, groups that wish to qualify for the ballot must notify the Secretary of State. Upon receiving the notification, the Secretary of State asks county election officials to keep a tally of how many voters register into the group. The group becomes qualified if at least one-third of 1% of the registered voters have joined. So far, the Transhumanist Party has not registered, even though Istvan lives in California.

See this interview with Istvan. Also, see this wikipedia page about Istvan. Thanks to IndependentPoliticalReport for this news.

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Florida Sets Date for Special Election for Vacant State House Seat

Published on November 24, 2014,

On November 24, Florida Governor Rick Scott set dates for a special election to fill the vacant State House seat, district 64. The seat is only vacant because the legislature earlier rejected the results of the regular election of November 4 for this seat. See this story.

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Some California Political Analysts Believe Order of Candidates on Ballot Determined Winner in One Legislative Race

Published on November 24, 2014,

See this newspaper story about the California legislative race in the 39th Assembly district in the San Fernando Valley portion of Los Angeles County. The incumbent Democratic Assemblyman, Raul Bocanegra, who enjoyed a 39 point lead in the June primary over his opponent Patty Lopez, lost to her in November.

California rotates names of candidates within each Assembly district. For a statewide race, that gives every candidate the top spot on the ballot in some parts of the state, and all candidates are treated equally. But for a solitary Assembly race, one candidate will enjoy the top spot throughout the district. The article explains why it appears that Bocanegra would not have lost if he had been in the top spot on the ballot. Thanks to AroundtheCapitol for the link.

UPDATE: see this story, which has evidence of ballot order affecting other same-party California races as well. Thanks to Rick Hasen for that link.

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Montana Republican Party Lawsuit for a Closed Primary Moves Ahead

Published on November 24, 2014,

As previously noted, on September 8, 2014, the Republican Party of Ravalli County, Montana, filed a federal lawsuit to obtain a closed primary for the Republican Party. A pre-trial conference in that case has been set for December 11. However, on January 10 the state Republican central committee will meet and vote on whether the state party should join the lawsuit. It’s somewhat likely the pre-trial conference will be postponed, to wait for the state party’s decision. The case is Ravalli County Republican Central Committee v McCulloch, 6:14cv-58. The case is assigned to Judge Brian Morris, an Obama appointee and a former member of the Montana Supreme Court.

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Florida Governor Still Hasn’t Called a Special Election, so One Legislative District Has No Representative

Published on November 24, 2014,

This story says that the residents of Florida’s 64th State House district almost certainly won’t have anyone representing them in March 2015, when the legislature convenes.