Judge upholds ballot-access restrictions in NC

From the Libertarian Party of North Carolina, as reported by IPR member libertypoint:

RALEIGH — A Superior Court judge ruled May 27 that “there is no fundamental right for a voter to vote for the party of their choice” and threw out the state Libertarian Party’s challenge to North Carolina’s elections laws.

Judge Robert Hobgood ruled in the lawsuit filed by the Libertarian and Green parties challenging the legality of the State’s elections laws under the North Carolina Constitution.

“We’re deeply saddened by this ruling,” said Barbara Howe, LPNC chair. “Not only did the judge support the State’s power to take away our right to choose who represents us, he also upheld the State’s assertion that North Carolina voters are not smart enough to fill out a so-called long ballot.”

“This is a very sad day for representative government,” she said.

The judge agreed with the State’s argument that the number of elected offices that may appear on the ballot in Presidential election years, along with the use of optical scanning equipment, can cause “voter confusion.”

“The more parties there are that are recognized by the State and that place candidates on the ballot, the greater the chance there is for ballots that are so long as to be unwieldy and to risk voter confusion and frustration of the electoral process,” Judge Hobgood wrote.

“In effect, the State says North Carolina voters are not as smart as Iraqis, who had more than 100 parties to choose from in their elections,” Howe said .

The party now has to decide whether it can afford to appeal this decision. “We are out of money, having spent nearly $140,000 already to get back on the ballot,” she said.

“Whether we appeal or not, the Libertarian Party is not going away. We will continue to fight for our rights and the rights of all North Carolinians,” Howe concluded.

20 thoughts on “Judge upholds ballot-access restrictions in NC

  1. G.E. Post author

    LPiberty asked: “If David is in trouble, then many of us are. Regardless of the NC ruling, the ticket will be on the ballot in Nov. yes?”

    No censorship going on here, I just want the comments in the right place.

  2. LPiberty

    “No censorship going on here, I just want the comments in the right place.” -GE

    I appreciate a good editor.

  3. aynrkey

    “there is no fundamental right for a voter to vote for the party of their choice”

    That’s brazen. Usually their exclusion attempts are a little less blatant.

  4. Brian Miller

    Wow. Someone should take the quote and run on it in the GE.

    “Your Supreme Court has ruled, and I quote, that ‘there is no fundamental right for a voter to vote for the party of their choice.'”

    “Your Supreme Court thinks you’re too stupid to choose the candidate on the ballot and that the government should do it for you.”

    “Let’s prove them wrong.”

  5. richardwinger

    The North Carolina Supreme Court has not said anything in this case yet. The decision is from Superior Court in Wake County, the lowest level of state court. The Libertarian and Green Parties may ask the State Supreme Court to take the case without having to wait to go through the mid-level State Court of Appeals.

    Every time a state court has ruled the number of signatures to be too high, it was the highest state court that did it. Always, the lower courts upheld this type of law. Lower state court judges tend to be too meek and mild to declare laws unconstitutional when they know it will upset powerful people.

  6. JustAHoax

    I’m confused, I thought they said at the convention that they were on the ballot already. Does this decision reverse that, or was this just a similar case they had to ease ballot restrictions in the state?

  7. RedPhillips

    “In effect, the State says North Carolina voters are not as smart as Iraqis, who had more than 100 parties to choose from in their elections,” Howe said .

    Ha ha. Great quote. The irony. America is exporting democracy to Iraq, and after one election they are better at it than us. I have made this observation in the past.

    http://etherzone.com/2005/phill020905.shtml

  8. Barbara Howe

    To answer JustAHoax concern that he heard we had announced we were on, the lawsuit and the petition drive were two seperate actions. We are a legally recognized party for the 2008 election after turning in 108,000 signatures a couple of weeks ago to satisfy the 70,000 signature requirement. The independent action of the lawsuit was done in the hopes of getting the law struck down so we never have to petition again. We have done it eight times, and it gets bigger and bigger every cycle. Next time will undoubtedly be over 80,000.

    So, even though the judge’s ruling sucks big time, it will have no effect on our ability to run this year.

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  10. William Dalton

    I agree the portions of Judge Hobgood’s opinion given in this report do not commend themselves. But the question a true believer in the rule of law and lover of liberty must ask is, “What legal basis is there to contest North Carolina’s party registration requirements? To overrule a statute passed by the State’s elected legislators one must have more than an argument based upon policy. One cannot just say, this is an unwise law, this is a law that frustrates the working of democracy. One must be able to point to a provision of the Constitution (in this case, the North Carolina Constitution) and be able to argue credibly that this statute, or at least this application of the statute, contradicts that Constitutional provision. What is it? If you can’t do that, you are no better than the liberals who have dominated the U.S. Supreme Court for seventy years who will strike down laws with scant support for doing so in the text of the Constitution, and only on the basis of their own disagreement with them.

  11. Jerry S.

    Everyone should pretend to be a citizen of NC for a week and write a Letter to the Editor of NC’s newspapers giving this Judge BY NAME teatotal hell. Don’t mention your Party’s name. Attack this fascist from a citizens standpoint and be sure to include the Iraq facts ! The bast#r^s only understand “public opinion”. Make this tuckey feel the heat he deserves! All third Party members and indies need to write. At least hit these papers and comment on their blog. Let the people know this judge thinks they are idiot dumbasses.

    We must break their lock on ballot access if we will ever have a chance to win. Please help ! THX

    http://www.usnpl.com/ncnews.php

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  13. vortexoffreedom

    I didn’t know that I don’t know how to vote. I am a North Carolina Libertarian and I find this ruling despicable.

    If only the Whigs have done this to the Republicans in the 1850s.

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  15. fmhenry4@netzero.com

    Hi,

    The two minority parties (Dem &Rep) love
    the unconstitutional grip they have
    throughout these United States.

    Yes, we Dem and my fellow Rep are
    “minority” parties. We each claim only
    about 1/3 of registered voters…Since that
    is less than 50%, it makes us “minority”
    parties.

    Now, what can we do to bring all parties
    and individuals to the table in our
    constitutional republic form of democracy.

    Thanks and Good Luck,

    Frank Henry
    Cottonwood Arizona

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