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Hearing Set in Illinois Green Party's Ballot Access Case

Published on January 24, 2013, by in Uncategorized.

A U.S. District Court in Chicago will hear Jones v McGuffage on Wednesday, January 30, at 1:30 p.m. This is the case filed by the Green Party to overturn the requirement that the party collect 15,682 valid signatures by February 2 if it wishes to run in the special April 2013 election for U.S. House, 2nd district. The case was filed on December 17, 2012, and is 1:12-cv-9997.

10 Responses

  1. Jim Riley

    Texas is holding a Top 2 special election for a State Senate seat on January 26.

    A candidate simply declares their party alignment on their application and pays a fee ($1250) or files a petition with 500 signatures.

    There are 4 Democrats, 2 Republicans, 1 Green, and 1 Independent.

    How can anyone defend party primaries, particularly for special elections?

  2. Richard Winger

    Texas is not holding a top-two special election on January 26. Texas is holding an election on January 26, and if anyone gets 50% on January 26, that person will be elected at that point. No candidate is being excluded from the election itself. If no one gets 50%, there will be a run-off.

    By contrast, in Washington and California, the first round is not an election, because no one can be elected at the first round.

  3. Funny how the Illinois Green Party goes to court “…to overturn the requirement that the party collect 15,682 valid signatures by February 2…” yet files challenges that removes 4 parties off the ballot in 2012 because they didn’t meet the requirement to file the valid number of signatures.

    One standard for the Greens and another standard for everyone else?

  4. Jim Riley

    How does the special election in Texas, differ from those in California – other than Texas does not have party qualification and permits a candidate to use the designation “Independent”?

    How can anyone defend party primaries, particularly for special elections?

  5. #4, an “election” is an event that is capable of electing someone. No one can be elected in June in California. The June event is nothing but a ballot access barrier to the election itself, which, by federal law (for Congress and President) is in November, with any run-off to be held afterwards.

  6. Ben Schattenburg

    @3 The Illinois Green Party didn’t file the chalenges. It was two guys who happened to be Green. A few ? the whole.

  7. Jim Riley

    #5 I was specifically referring to the “elections”, “events”, “hullabaloos”, or “occasions” in California Senate districts 4, 32, and 40. How do these differ from that in Texas in Senate District 6?

    You know as well as I, that your definition of an “election” is not the same as that used by the SCOTUS in ‘Smith v Allwright’, ‘Tashjian’, or ‘Foster v Love’, and of course is inapplicable to non-congressional elections.

    Are you familiar with the manner by which Tennessee appointed its presidential electors in its early elections. The legislature would appoint 3 persons in each county, and then this body would meet and appoint the presidential electors.

    So clearly a State legislature has the supreme and plenary authority to fashion a multi-stage appointment process. All Congress may do is set the time of the appointment.

    What ‘Anderson v Celebrezze’ (BTW a 5-4 decision) said was that once the Ohio legislature had decided to use a popular election as its method of appointment, that it could not foreclose would-be supporters of an independent candidate being appointed (elected) so early as March.

    Were a State to hold a Top 2 primary election in August to determine slates of electors which would appear on the general election ballot in November, it would be totally constitutional (see California 1912 or Alabama 1960). Or it might as easily choose an intermediate body that would meet on the November appointment date set by Congress. After all, when a legislature appointed presidential electors, it was not acting as a legislative body, not withstanding it had acted as a legislative body in designating itself as the appointing authority.

  8. Richard Winger

    #7, when Tennessee appointed its electors in the manner you describe, that was before Congress in 1844 passed a law telling the states to all choose their electors in November. As to California 1912 and Alabama 1960, both states had procedures for independent candidates to go directly to the November ballot, for presidential electors and all other office. Theodore Roosevelt looked at the California procedures and didn’t like the fact that his electors would have been in the far-right hand side of the ballot, so he declined to petition as an independent (with party label) and instead had his forces take over the California Republican Party, which nominated him for President even though Taft was the national party nominee. Alabama in 1960 had the Prohibition Party on the ballot, and the National States Rights Party on the ballot, for president, along with the two major parties.

  9. Jim Riley

    #8 Congress set the time of appointment of presidential electors beginning with the 1792 election. The Continental Congress set the schedule for the 1789 election (1st Wednesday in January for appointment of presidential electors; 1st Wednesday in February for the the meeting of the presidential electors in each State, and 1st Wednesday in March for the meeting of Congress and the counting of the electoral votes.

    The 1st Wednesday in March 1789 happened to be March 4, and that was how the starting of congressional and presidential terms was established (until passage of the 20th Amendment).

    The electoral votes for Washington and Adams election were not counted by Congress until after the two houses had established a quorum, and Washington was not inaugurated until June 1789.

    Congress decided that it was not a good idea to count the electoral votes after the term of the president began, particularly since they expected that they would be regularly choosing the President from among the Top 5 candidates. But this presented a problem since their terms also began on March 4.

    So they devised a schedule where the lame duck Congress meeting from December 1792 to March 3, 1793 (and every 4 years thereafter) would count the electoral votes and if necessary elect the President.

    They worked backward from March 3, providing enough time for the President-elect to reach the capital, have Congress conduct an election – they used much of this time in 1801 and 1825 when they actually did elect the president. This meant that the electoral votes would need to be received in the capital by January. So they established a date in early December for the meeting of the presidential electors in each State, and set the time for appointment of electors as the month of November.

    States that used popular election to appoint their electors gravitated toward the first week in November for the election. This gave time for the votes to be cast, and tallies forwarded to the state capital for the statewide canvass, for the electors to be notified of their appointment and to travel to the meeting place, typically at the state capitol to vote in December.

    In 1844, when Congress set the time of appointment as the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November, they were simply consolidating existing practice to a common date from a period of a few weeks. The odd construction that prevents an election on a November 1 was to ensure that there was a uniform number of weeks until the meeting date of electors.

    So when Tennessee had a two-stage process, the actual appointment stage had to be in November, though not on the date we think of as election day. If the authority of the State legislatures to prescribe the manner of appointment of electors is to indeed be supreme and plenary, then Congress may not attempt to coerce a particular method through their time regulation. That is why ‘Anderson v Celebrezze’ was wrongly decided.

    In 1844, some states had procedures in place in case of non-majority elections. So when Congress set the “time” as a single date, they also said that States could make a later appointment if they failed to do so on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November. Massachusetts in 1848 and Georgia in 1860 used these provisions. In the 1844 debate, Congress noted the practice in South Carolina of the legislature making its appointment in late November at the beginning of their regular session. They considered letting States such as South Carolina continue to make an appointment anytime in November, so they would not have to schedule a special session for early in the month, but ultimately made the time uniform throughout the United States (the uniform date provision in the Constitution applies only to the meeting date).

    Though the South Carolina legislature made their appointment on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November, they were elected in a popular election some time earlier. If the Florida legislature had made the appointment of electors in 2000, it would have been the legislators elected in 1996 and 1998, and not those who were elected in 2000.

    If the California legislature were to use a popularly-elected body to make the appointment, they might be elected early in the year so that they would have an opportunity to meet the presidential candidates along with associated elector candidates throughout the year, before they made their appointment at the time designated by Congress for doing so.

    In 1912, Hiram Johnson was governor of California, and leader of the Republican Party in the State. After Roosevelt won all the primaries, but was shut out at the national convention by delegates from convention states, he organized the Bull Moose movement and Johnson became his running mate.

    In California, presidential elector candidates were chosen in a partisan primary in September. Johnson encouraged the election of Republican elector candidates who would vote for Roosevelt and Johnson. It was simply a primary, not a “take over by Roosevelt forces”.

    There was no independent elector procedure and Taft supporters were unable to qualify a new party at that late date. His elector candidates were forced to run as write-in candidates (voters had to write in each of 13 names) and he did quite poorly, finishing 5th behind the Republican (Roosevelt), Democrat (Wilson), Socialist (Debs), and Prohibition (Chafin).

    There is no reason that California in 1912 could not have used a Top 2 primary election to choose the elector candidates for the November appointment event, nor that California in 2012 could not do the same.

    Have you stopped referring to Louisiana as a Top 2 state.

  10. Richard Winger

    #9, California Attorney General U.S. Webb ruled in July 1912 that independent candidates for presidential elector, with a party label, could petition onto the California general election ballot. The Prohibition Party, which had gone off the ballot in November 1910 for failing to poll as much as 3% of the vote, took advantage of the ruling to place its presidential electors on the November 1912 ballot. The procedure was in section 1188 of the Political Code.

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