from Ballot Access News
Minor Party and Independent Candidates Are Involved in Constitutional Election Law Cases in At Least 21 States
November 28th, 2009
Minor party and independent candidates are in at least 26 courts, in cases that challenge the constitutionality of various state election laws. A few new cases will probably be filed in December.
The issues in each state are:
1. Alabama: whether the state may require more signatures for an independent candidate for U.S. House than are required for an independent presidential candidate.
2. Arizona: whether the state may ban out-of-state circulators for petitions to put political parties on the ballot.
3. Arkansas: whether the state may remove a party from its position on the ballot because it failed to perform well for President, even though it performed very well for other office and elected a state legislator.
4. Colorado: whether a state may tell someone that she can’t be an independent candidate on the grounds that she was a member of a qualified party in the year before filing.
5. Connecticut: whether a state may give public funding to Democratic and Republican candidates with no petition needed, but require an independent candidate to collect signatures of 20% of the last vote cast to get equal public funding.
6. District of Columbia: whether the District must count the write-in candidates for president of declared write-in presidential candidates.
7. Georgia: whether the state may have procedures for independent candidates for U.S. House that are so difficult, they have not been used since 1964.
8. Hawaii: whether the state may require six times more signatures for an independent presidential candidate than for an entire new party with its own primary.
9. Idaho: whether the state may ban out-of-state circulators.
10. Louisiana: whether the state should have accepted presidential elector paperwork from a ballot-qualified party in 2008 by September 12.
11. Massachusetts: whether the state must let unqualified parties use a stand-in presidential candidate on its petition.
12. Montana: whether the state may require a candidate for office other than president to submit his or her petition by mid-March of an election year.
13. New Hampshire: whether the state must let unqualified parties use a stand-in presidential candidate on its petition.
14. New Jersey: whether the state can confine all non-Republican, non-Democratic candidates into a space on the ballot that is labeled “nomination by petition”.
15. New Mexico: whether the state may require a qualified party to submit separate petitions for all the candidates it has nominated via the convention process.
16. North Carolina: whether the state may require an independent candidate for U.S. House to submit 20,000 valid signatures, give the historical background that no independent has ever qualified for the government-printed ballot in that state. Another case on whether the state may require new or previously unqualified parties to submit approximately 85,000 valid signatures.
17. Pennsylvania: whether the state may force all parties to continually submit petitions for its nominees unless that party has registration membership of approximately 1,000,000 members; also whether the state can continue to enforce its petition deadline when the legislature has never enacted that deadline and the previous deadline was declared unconstitutional in 1984; also whether the state may threaten candidates with being charged for the expenses of disqualifying their petitions; also whether the state may continue to discard write-in votes without counting them.
18. Rhode Island: whether a city can limit voters to signing for only one candidate for the same office.
19. South Carolina: whether the state can disqualify a party’s nominee if that nominee, after obtaining one party’s nomination, tries to get another party’s nomination.
20. Tennessee: whether the state can require new or previously unqualified parties to submit a petition signed by 2.5% of the last vote for Governor, on a petition that says all the signers are members of that party.
21. Washington: whether the state can limit the general election ballot to the top-two vote-getters in the primary.
In addition to these lawsuits, a challenge is pending against a federal ruling that says individuals may not give more than $5,000 to a new political party that is not yet a “National Committee”. Also, cases involving petitioning for initiatives and referendums are pending in Maryland and Washington, and against the U.S. Postal Service regulation that bars petitioning on its sidewalks.