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Indiana Bill Would Restrict Write-ins

Published on January 18, 2013, by in General.

Two Indiana State Representatives, Bob Cherry (R-Greenfield) and Richard Hamm (R-Richmond) have introduced HB 1112. Indiana currently allows write-ins in general elections. The bill would provide that only self-described independent candidates would be permitted to file as write-in candidates. Each declared write-in candidate would need to affirm that he or she is “not affiliated with any party.” Here is the text of the bill.

The bill, if enacted, would violate the U.S. District Court decision Paul v State of Indiana Election Board, 743 F Supp 616 (1990), which struck down Indiana’s old write-in ban, on the basis that the ban violated the rights of voters. The bill would also violate the 14th amendment equal protection clause. The lawsuit that struck down Indiana’s ban on write-ins was filed by Ron Paul, when he was the Libertarian Party’s presidential nominee in 1988. Indiana was one of only four states in which Paul failed to get on the ballot.

Although the U.S. Supreme Court upheld Hawaii’s ban on write-ins in Burdick v Takushi in 1992, the decision says that write-ins are not needed in Hawaii because anyone can get on either the primary ballot or the general election ballot with 25 signatures, as late as July. That decision would not necessarily relate to Indiana, which has such strict ballot access for minor party and independent candidates that no statewide petition has succeeded in Indiana since 2000.

One Response

  1. Jay Parks

    Looks like the bill has been amended to only prohibit write-in candidates being associated with a ballot-qualified party. Parties not on the ballot could still run write-ins.

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