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Ninth Circuit Will Hear Peace & Freedom Presidential Primary Case on February 13, 2014

The Ninth Circuit has scheduled oral arguments in Peace & Freedom Party v Bowen for Thursday, February 13, in San Francisco. The issue is whether the Secretary of State should have listed Peta Lindsay on the party’s presidential primary ballot in 2012. Lindsay is under age 35.

The issue of whether California should print the names of candidates on the ballot who don’t meet the constitutional qualifications is very confused. In 2012, the California Court of Appeals ruled in Fuller v Bowen, 203 Cal App 4th 1476, that election officials do not have the authority to judge the qualifications of candidates for state legislature. The court said the Secretary of State was correct to list a particular Republican candidate for State Senate on the ballot, even though he admitted he had not lived in the district for a full year before filing. The court said only the legislature can judge the qualifications of candidates.

Also, in 2010, the same California Court of Appeals ruled that the Secretary of State should not investigate the qualifications of candidates for president. The decision in Keyes v Bowen, 189 Cal App 4th 647, says, “With respect to general elections, section 6901 directs that the Secretary of State must place on the ballot the names of the several political parties’ candidates.” The word “must” is in italics.

Yet in the Peace & Freedom case, the U.S. District Court ruled that because Lindsay admits she does not meet the qualifications, the Secretary of State was correct to keep her off the ballot. Long ago, in 1892, California printed the name of the Prohibition Party’s vice-presidential nominee on the ballot even though he was under age 35. Also, in 1972, the California Secretary of State permitted Linda Jenness to be a qualified write-in presidential candidate, even though she was under age 35.

4 Responses

  1. Demo Rep

    Qualification stuff for state legislatures is different from other offices – for history reasons -

    The corrupt Brit monarchs vs. the House of Commons for centuries.

    The olde quo warranto stuff in the courts was used regarding officers in office allegedly NOT qualified to hold the office involved.

    Thus – no injury unless an un-qualified candidate is allegedly elected ???
    – UNLESS the law declares that a person must be qualified to be on the ballots ???

  2. Dave Terry

    “Also, in 2010, the same California Court of Appeals ruled that the Secretary of State should not investigate the qualifications of candidates for president. The decision in Keyes v Bowen, 189 Cal App 4th 647, says, “With respect to general elections, section 6901 directs that the Secretary of State must place on the ballot the names of the several political parties’ candidates.” The word “must” is in italics.”

    Absurd! The court ruled that the Sec’y of State “MUST” become an accessory to a political party’s deliberate violation of the Constitution of the United State??????

    • Putting a presidential candidate on the ballot who does not meet the constitutional qualifications does not violate the U.S. Constitution. Presidential candidates’ names on general election ballots are not there as candidates; the names of the presidential candidates are there as markers to identify slates of presidential elector candidates. The presidential elector candidates of PFP have a First Amendment right to say that if they are elected, they will vote for Peta Lindsay. Congress would then count the electoral votes and set aside those votes. That is what happened in the 1872 election. Three Democratic presidential electors voted for Horace Greeley in the electoral college in 1872, even though he was dead. Congress set aside those 3 electoral votes on the theory that votes for a dead person are invalid.

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