Published on September 17, 2013,in Ballot Access News
by Richard Winger
As reported earlier, Gary Johnson and James Gray, the 2012 Libertarian national ticket, sued the Commission on Presidential Debates last year. The CPD rules say that anyone who is on the ballot in states containing a majority of electoral college votes, and who is at 15% in three national polls, may be included in the general election presidential debates.
Last year, several polls were commissioned in which the respondents were asked whether they prefer President Obama, or Gary Johnson. No other candidates were mentioned. The results of all three polls showed Johnson far above 15%. The results of these polls were presented to the Commission on Presidential Debates, but the Commission ignored them and did not invite Johnson or Gray into the debates.
The lawsuit is still alive. On September 4, both sides presented a joint report to U.S. District Court Judge Fernando Olguin, over whether the Johnson campaign is entitled to engage in discovery. The Johnson campaign seeks to learn the manner in which the criteria for debate inclusion were set, a history of any changes in the criteria, and information about communications between the Commission and the major party national committees. Defendants want the case dismissed without having permitted any discovery. Probably the next event in this lawsuit will be a ruling from the Judge over whether discovery may go forward. The case is Johnson v Commission on Presidential Debates, central district of California, 8:12-cv-1600.