On August 24, U.S. District Court Judge Graham C. Mullen, a Bush Sr. appointee, upheld North Carolina’s petition requirement for independent candidates for U.S. House. The law required a petition signed by 4% of the registered voters of the district. No independent candidate for U.S. House has ever appeared on a government-printed ballot in North Carolina, and such ballots have been in existence since 1901. The case is Greene v Bartlett, 5:08-cv-088. Here is the decision.
The judge noted that this year, the Service Employees International Union did succeed in qualifying an independent candidate for U.S. House in North Carolina. However, that candidate, Wendall Fant, will not appear on the ballot, even though enough valid signatures were obtained, because he didn’t want to be a candidate, and he withdrew.
The decision does say, “It is clear that North Carolina’s election laws place severe restrictions upon unaffiliated candidates. It is undisputed under the Storer test that unaffiliated candidates do not regularly qualify for the general election ballot in North Carolina.” But it says that because the U.S. Supreme Court upheld Georgia’s 5% petition requirement in 1971 in Jenness v Fortson, and because the U.S. Supreme Court has continued to mention Jenness in some recent election law decisions, the U.S. Supreme Court must still believe in Jenness.
The plaintiff has not yet decided whether to appeal to the 4th circuit.