On February 28, the Coalition for Free and Open Elections (COFOE) held its annual board meeting, in New York city. COFOE is a coalition of most of the nation’s nationally-organized minor parties, as well as certain other organizations that support their right to be on the ballot. COFOE was formed in 1985.
The board voted to spend $2,000 on a cert petition for the Alabama ballot access lawsuit, Shugart v Chapman. The issue is whether Alabama may require an independent candidate for U.S. House to submit more signatures that are required for an independent presidential candidate. Alabama has six U.S. House districts.
The 11th circuit had upheld the Alabama law on February 10, even though the U.S. Supreme Court has twice ruled that states cannot require more signatures for an independent candidate in just part of the state, than for a statewide office. The 11th circuit did not even mention Norman v Reed, one of those two U.S. Supreme Court precedents. Also, Norman v Reed said that when states have such laws, those laws are discriminatory, and can only be upheld if they are necessary for a compelling state interest. The 11th circuit did not apply strict scrutiny.