HTML Online Editor Sample

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

formats

Opening Briefs Filed in Arizona Green Party Ballot Access Case

Published on April 12, 2014,

On April 11, both sides filed opening briefs in U.S. District Court in Arizona Green Party v Bennett, 2:14cv-375. The issue is whether the February 28 petition deadline is too early. The law says the petition is due 180 days before the primary, and that all parties, even newly-qualifying parties, must nominate by primary. Arizona primaries this year are August 26. The state says it needs six months lead time to get ready for the new party’s primary.

Before 1999, the Arizona petition deadline for a new party was 112 days before the primary. Initiative petitions are due in Arizona in the first week in July, only four months before the general election. This suggests that if the state can cope with initiative petitions only four months before the appropriate election, it ought to be able to handle petitions to qualify a new party four months before the appropriate election.

The Green Party’s brief cites many cases that early petition deadlines for newly-qualifying parties are unconstitutional, but the state’s brief does not discuss any precedents on that issue. Also, the state says that the Green Party appeared on the ballot in 2002 and 2004, but in truth the party did not qualify in Arizona either of those years.

formats

Oklahoma Candidate Filing Closes

Published on April 11, 2014,

On April 11, filing for the Oklahoma primaries closed. That was also the deadline for independent candidates to file, even though independent candidates don’t run in the primary and go straight to the November ballot. Here is a link to the candidate list.

For the first time since 1998, a minor party candidate for Governor will appear on the November ballot. He is Richard Prawdzienski, an activist in the Libertarian Party. He is the first member of the Libertarian Party to run for Governor of Oklahoma. However, his ballot label will be “independent”, because the Libertarian Party is not on the ballot and has not been since 2000. 2014 will be the seventh election in a row in which no minor parties have appeared on the Oklahoma ballot. There is no other state that has gone seven elections in a row with no minor parties on the ballot for any office, since that was also true for Tennessee in the years 1974-1998.

In the five U.S. House races, there are two in which only Republicans filed. There are five statewide partisan offices in which only Republicans filed: Auditor, Attorney General, Treasurer, Insurance Commissioner, and Corporation Commissioner. Oklahoma does not permit write-in votes, so these offices will simply not be printed on the November 2014 ballot, since it would be impossible for anyone to vote against the Republican nominee in any event. Oklahoma disguises this lack of competition by simply removing one-candidate elections from the ballot.

formats

Tennessee Legislature Passes Bill Barring Representatives of the United Nations from Monitoring Elections

Published on April 11, 2014,

On April 8, the Tennessee legislature passed HB 2410, which says, “Any representative of the United Nations appearing without a treaty ratified by the United States senate, shall not monitor elections in this state. This act shall take effect upon becoming a law, the public welfare requiring it.”

formats

Tennessee Legislature Passes Very Modest Ballot Access Improvement Bill

Published on April 11, 2014,

On April 7, the Tennessee legislature passed SB 1466. It makes two small ballot access improvements. For a newly-qualifying party that just wants to be on the ballot in a single county, the petition is lowered from 5% of the last gubernatorial vote, to 2.5%. The vote test for a county party to remain ballot-qualified falls from 20% to 5%.

Also, the bill says that when Tennessee holds a special election, a previously unqualified party can get on the ballot for that special election if it submits a petition of 2.5% of the last gubernatorial election within that district. Previously, there was no procedure for an unqualified party to get on the ballot in a special election. The procedure established by SB 1466 is wildly impractical. If Tennessee were to hold a special congressional election, the new formula would require approximately 4,500 valid signatures in the typical district, and the petitioning period would probably be only a few weeks.

formats

Tennessee Appeals U.S. District Court Decision that Put Green and Constitution Parties on 2014 Ballot

Published on April 11, 2014,

On April 11, Tennessee officials filed a notice of appeal in the lawsuit Green Party of Tennessee v Hargett. The U.S. District Court had struck down two election laws: (1) the requirement that new parties sign an oath that they don’t advocate the overthrow of the government; (2) that new parties must meet the 5% vote test in their first election, but already qualified-parties only need to meet the vote test every two elections.

The practical effect of the decision, which came out on March 14, was to put the Green Party and the Constitution Party on the ballot for 2014. They had appeared on the ballot for the first time in 2012, but the decision says they are entitled to two tries to meet the 5% vote test.

formats

Bills Introduced in Both Houses of Congress to Permit Ex-Felons to Register to Vote in Federal Elections

Published on April 11, 2014,

On April 10, bills were introduced in both houses of Congress, to permit ex-felons to vote in federal elections. The Senate bill is S2235 and the main sponsor is Senator Ben Cardin (D-Maryland). The House bill doesn’t have a bill number yet, and is introduced by Representative John Conyers (D-Michigan). Thanks to Rick Hasen for this news.