Home General 10th Circuit Upholds Colorado Ballot Access Restriction, Even Though the Legislature has Already Repealed That Restriction Effective in 2011
formats

10th Circuit Upholds Colorado Ballot Access Restriction, Even Though the Legislature has Already Repealed That Restriction Effective in 2011

Published on August 31, 2010, by in General.

On August 31, the 10th circuit upheld Colorado’s unique law, barring independent candidates (for office other than President) if they have been registered members of a qualified party in the 17 months before the general election.  As a result, Kathleen Curry, Colorado’s only independent legislator, must be a write-in candidate this year as she tries to be re-elected.  The 21-page decision is here.  It is by Judge Michael Murphy, a Clinton appointee, and is co-signed by Judges Wade Brorby and Deanell Tacha, both Reagan appointees.

The decision was issued without oral argument, and will not be reported.

If any ballot access decision ever can be said to have lack common sense, this one qualifies.  The Colorado legislature this year repealed the requirement.  Unfortunately for the plaintiff-candidate, the new relaxed law does not take effect until 2011.  One wonders, if the legislature doesn’t feel the old law is needed, how can there possibly be a state interest in such a law?  Furthermore, the rationale of the decision, that the law is needed to preserve “stability”, is absurd.  No other state has such a restrictive prior disaffiliation law for independent candidates, yet one doesn’t observe “instability” in the other 49 states.

The decision also lacks common sense because Colorado permits political parties to nominate someone who is newly-affiliated with that party.  Therefore, independent voters who support an independent candidate have fewer rights than political parties.  The decision’s equal protection argument pays no attention at all to the interests of independent voters.

4 Responses

  1. Jim Riley

    How is this different than California (prior to adoption of Proposition 14)? The difference between 13 months and 17 months does not make a law “unique”. And California at one time had a longer period, which was upheld by Storer.

    It is not the judgment of the court that the law is intended to preserve stability. That was an agreed to stipulation between Curry and the State of Colorado.

  2. Richard

    Under Prop. 14 and its implementing legislation, Kathleen Curry wouldn’t be allowed to be a write-in candidate in November.

  3. Demo Rep

    Mr. Winger wrote –

    If any ballot access decision ever can be said to have lack common sense, this one qualifies.
    ——
    ALL of the EVIL ballot access cases since 1968 have lacked common sense (with blatant NON-attention to the EQUAL Protection Clause in 14th Amdt, Sec. 1) — but having any common sense in the brains of party hack judges is way too much to expect.

    They are chosen because they are party hacks — following the party hack robot line — especially regarding any *real* threats from third parties and independents.
    ——
    Equal nominating petitions for ALL candidates for the same office in the same area.

    P.R. and App.V.

  4. Jim Riley

    #2 Senator Lucy Killea favored implementation of a Nebraska-style Top Two system for California. I wonder what her position was on Proposition 14?

    You may recall that Killea’s situation was quite similar to Curry’s. Having been elected as a Democrat, both became disgruntled with the party, particular its legislative leadership, and sought to run for re-election as an independent. Both ran afoul of state law that would have prevented them running as an independent because they had disenrolled too late. Both sponsored legislation to change the deadline to 12 months before the general election and were successful in passing the bill. The only difference is that in California the bill was effective with the upcoming election rather than the one after that. I don’t see that small difference, while unfortunate, warrants a claim of uniqueness for Colorado.

    If Kathleen Curry is elected as a write-in candidate in November, perhaps she will support Top 2 legislation in Colorado.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Protected with SiteGuarding.com Antivirus