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West Virginia Secretary of State Grapples With Partisan Affiliation of Presidential Candidates

Published on September 29, 2007, by in General.

Since 1991, West Virginia has had an election law that says candidates (other than independent candidates) must be registered members of the party that nominates them. On September 17, the West Virginia Secretary of State’s office informed the Mountain Party that if it wants to nominate a presidential candidate in 2008, that candidate must be a registered member of the Mountain Party.

In response, the Mountain Party pointed out that the Secretary of State had never enforced this law in the past against presidential candidates. If she had, George H. W. Bush, Ross Perot, George W. Bush, and Michael Badnarik, could not have appeared on the West Virginia ballot, since they all live in Texas and Texas has no registration by party. Similarly, Bill Clinton could not have appeared on the ballot, since Arkansas did not have registration by party. Also Ralph Nader could not have been the Green Party nominee in 2000 since he is a registered independent in Connecticut.

Also, the Mountain Party pointed out that the true candidates in November of presidential election years are the candidates for presidential elector. Presidential candidates’ names appear on the ballot in their capacity as labels for competing slates of presidential elector candidates, not as candidates per se. Article II of the U.S. Constitution compels this conclusion.

In response, the Secretary of State has said she will ask the legislature to amend the law, making it clear it doesn’t apply to presidential candidates. She is also free to seek an Attorney General’s Opinion, which might be simpler.

5 Responses

  1. This was the same crap that Pennsylvania tried using to keep Nader off the ballot in 2004. It worked long enough for them to invalidate enough signatures for bogus reasons to keep him off the ballot, anyways.

  2. Dozens and dozens of grocery store selection[s] for break fast and only two choices for presidential tickets every four years?

  3. Michael Monson

    It sounds like the Secretary of State is saying “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.” Does Orwellian doublespeak just come naturally to politicians or must they consciously work at it?

  4. The Mountain Party became the West Virginia Green Party US affiliate in 2007. Its chair Jesse Johnson is seeking the Green party US nomination for President.

  5. JIMMMY

    Hi,
    Does any one think there is any question about ms. Irelands effectivness and efficency in knowing and executing the election laws? What qualified her to be in her present office if she is not informed about the law and has not been exicuting the laws regarding elections in a knowlagable, efficent and through way?
    Thank you
    All the best
    jimmyf

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