Vermont Green Party loses ballot access case

Ballot Access News


On October 20, a lower state court ruled that the Vermont Secretary of State was following the law when she disallowed the Green Party’s status as a qualified minor party, back in January 2008. The consequence is that Cynthia McKinney will not be on the ballot, and voters who wish to vote her will need to cast a write-in vote. Vermont does not require write-in candidates to file a declaration of write-in candidacy. However, Vermont has a bad record when it comes to tallying write-ins for president and making the tally part of its official state election returns. For example, in 2004, the Vermont Secretary of State refused to provide a tally of write-ins for David Cobb (Green Party presidential candidate) and Michael Peroutka (Constitution Party presidential candidate). Maybe this year she will handle presidential write-ins better.

The lawsuit is Hill v Markowitz, Washington County Superior Court, 640-9-08.

According to the chart at Ballot Access News, the Green Party is on the ballot in 32 states this year, and are registered as write-ins in every other state except Oklahoma and South Dakota. The Greens were on the ballot in 22 states in 1996, 44 states in 2000, and 28 states in 2004.

According to this chart on wikipedia, the Greens have also done a much better job of registering as write-ins this year than four years ago.

In other news from the Ballot Access News chart, the Constitution Party is on the ballot in 37 states, and are registered as write-ins in every other state except DC, North Carolina and Oklahoma. The Constitution Party was on the ballot in 36 states in 2004, 41 states in 2000, 39 states in 1996, and 21 states in 1992.

Ralph Nader, who was the Green Party’s candidate in 1996 and 2000, is on the ballot in 46 states, and is a registered write-in everywhere else except Oklahoma. He was on the ballot in 35 states as an independent in 2004.

Libertarian candidate Bob Barr has 45 ballot lines, and is still suing Connecticut – the only such lawsuit which still hopes to get injunctive relief at this late date, with many state ballots already printed and early voting underway in some states. If the LP wins the Connecticut lawsuit, they will have as many ballot lines as Ralph Nader this year as well as LP Presidential candidate Ron Paul in 1988. The Libertarian Presidential candidates had 51 ballot lines in 1992, 1996 and 2000, except that they had a different Presidential candidate on the ballot in Arizona in 2000. They had 49 ballot lines in 2004. This year, they have write-in status in DC and Maine, and are not on the ballot at all in Louisiana, Oklahoma or West Virginia.

4 thoughts on “Vermont Green Party loses ballot access case

  1. paulie cannoli Post author

    BRIDGEPORT — With the presidential election just two weeks away, the state claims it would be nearly impossible to get reprint ballots and reprogram voting machines to get the Libertarian Party candidates on them.

    So Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz and Assistant Attorney General Susan Quinn Cobb are asking U.S. District Judge Janet C. Hall to dismiss the party’s suit filed earlier this month.

    The Libertarians charged in a federal court suit that Bysiewicz and various municipal registrars of voters failed to correctly validate and count the signatures they filed in petitioning for a place on the ballot.

    The party claims they filed 12,600 signatures of which only 7,218 were validated by various municipal officials.

    However, Andrew Rule, a Libertarian party official from Wallingford, claims he examined the petitions and discovered that another 357 signatures of registered Connecticut voters were not tabulated.

    That number would give the Libertarians the 7,500 needed to put Robert Barr and Wayne A. Root, their presidential and vice presidential candidates, on the state ballots.

    Furthermore, Rule claims there are an additional 47 signatures that could be validated.

    “A most important right is at stake,” maintained Gary Sinawski, a Brooklyn, N.Y., lawyer representing the Libertarians.

    But Bysiewicz and Cobb counter that the Libertarians waited too long in bringing their case and then even longer in filing the
    motion for a preliminary injunction.

    Already absentee ballots are coming in for tabulation.

    The case is pending before Judge Hall, who has conducted a telephone conference with the parties, just received the Libertarians’ request for an injunction, as well as the state’s motion to dismiss the matter.

    As a result, no hearing has been scheduled.

    Additionally, the state claims if the Libertarians prevail the state would have to reprint 450 different styles of ballots because of the various state legislature races and also reprogram all the optical scanning machines at the 800 polling places.

    “Local election officials throughout the state” would have to “return all memory cards that reside within each of the new voting machines to a contractor in Massachusetts who would then need to reformat these memory cards to read the new ballots,” the state’s motion reads.

    The state also would have to reprint the paper ballots and redistribute them to each municipality.

    Additionally, Bysiewicz and Cobb point out that “every polling place is equipped with a system that permits certain disabled voters to cast their votes on a specially equipped telephone/facsimile system that prompts voters to choose the candidate of their choice by using a touch-tone keypad on a telephone at the polling place.

    Reprogramming this system to include Barr and Root as candidates would be “an extremely complex and time-consuming process” and all the reprogramming and reprinting would “disrupt and likely delay the election,” they claim.

    Sinawski said if the Libertarians win at the District Court level, the state would have to seek an immediate stay in the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals to delay any implementation.

  2. Nexus

    “According to the chart at Ballot Access News, the Green Party is on the ballot in 32 states this year”

    Actually it’s 31 states plus DC.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *