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  Ballot Access News is edited and published by Richard Winger, the nation's leading expert on ballot access legal issues.

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Pennsylvania Judge Declines State Request to Combine the Two Ballot Access Cases

Published on September 10, 2014,

On September 9, U.S. District Court Judge Stewart Dalzell declined Pennsylvania’s request to combine the two minor party ballot access cases. The Constitution Party case was filed in 2012 against the state’s unique system of putting petitioning groups at risk of hundreds of thousands of dollars for court costs if their petitions are found invalid. The Green Party case, filed this year, challenges the need to notarize each signature, the requirement that only registered voters may sign the petition, and the need to segregate signatures by county.

The two cases each have their own U.S. District Court Judge.

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Kansas Democrat Asks State Supreme Court to Remove His Name from Ballot

Published on September 10, 2014,

On September 9, Chad Taylor asked the Kansas Supreme Court to remove him from the November ballot. The case is based partly on statutory construction, and partly on the Constitution. Taylor won the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate, but then the Democratic Party endorsed independent Greg Orman, so Taylor wants to be removed from the ballot. However, the Secretary of State refuses to remove him.

In 1968, New York state Court of Appeals (the highest state court in New York) ruled that candidates have a common law right not to be forced to be candidates against their will. That decision removed Eugene McCarthy from the November ballot as an independent presidential candidate. McCarthy did not wish to run but some supporters had petitioned to put his name on the ballot. The Court removed him, per his wishes.

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Montana Open Primary Lawsuit

Published on September 9, 2014,

On September 8, the Ravalli County, Montana, Republican Party filed a federal lawsuit to obtain a closed primary for itself. Montana has open primaries. The county party took this action because in the June 2014 primary, Democrats intervened in the Republican primary for State Representative and apparently altered the outcome of a very close race.

The state will probably defend the open primary by saying a county party doesn’t have standing to sue, and that only the state party has standing. That has been an issue in the South Carolina lawsuit on the same subject, in which only the Greenville County Republican Party sued, not the state party. Thanks to Mike Fellows for this news.

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Kentucky U.S. Senate Poll

Published on September 7, 2014,

On September 6, an NBC/Marist Poll was released for Kentucky Senate. The results: Republican McConnell 47%; Democrat Grimes 39%; Libertarian Patterson 8%; undecided 6%. Although I am away from home for a 3-week vacation and can’t check the records, my memory tells me that no minor party or independent candidate for U.S. Senate has ever polled as much as 8% in Kentucky. Thanks to PoliticalWire for the poll.

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Pennsylvania Minor Parties File Evidence that Pennsylvania Petition Validation is Intrinsically Flawed

Published on September 6, 2014,

On September 3, the Pennsylvania Green, Libertarian, and Constitution Parties filed expert evidence in Green Party of Pennsylvania v Aichele, the pending case that challenges various aspects of the Pennsylvania ballot access petition process. The expert, handwriting analyst Michelle Dresbold, shows (1) an expert can detect instances of the forgery of many names on a petition by a single individual, without the need to look at the signatures voter registration records; (2) the handwriting of many individuals changes drastically over time, so that checking the signatures on petitions with signatures on voter registration records is sometimes unreliable; (3) furthermore, signatures change when the signature is made very rapidly, as is often the case when signing a petition, relative to signing a voter registration record; (4) the Pennsylvania SURE record of the appearance of signatures on voter registration forms is faulty because it is electronic and the technology is faulty.

This evidence will be used to criticize the current Pennsylvania petition-checking process.

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Michigan State Court of Appeals Says if Voter Signs a Petition Twice, Neither Signature Counts

Published on September 6, 2014,

On September 5, the Michigan State Appeals Court ruled that if an individual signs a petition twice, neither signature counts. As a result, a recall election in the city of Benton Harbor is now removed from the ballot. The trial court had ruled that one signature does count. The recall petition only has enough valid signatures if the signatures of voters who signed twice are counted as one valid signature.

Recall proponents have asked the Michigan Supreme Court to reverse the State Appeals Court.