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Federal judge refuses to stop discriminatory ballot access law in Arkansas; earliest deadline ever remains in place for Libertarians to nominate

A federal judge on Thursday denied the Arkansas Libertarian Party’s request for a preliminary injunction that would allow the party to add or substitute nominees for inclusion on ballots for the Nov. 8 general election. […]

[Judge] Moody said that one of the four considerations in deciding whether to grant a preliminary injunction is the plaintiffs’ likelihood of succeeding on the merits of the case. He said the probability of that is low in this case, because the plaintiffs — the party, its chairman and three potential candidates — “had the opportunity, the ability, and actually conducted their party convention. They nominated candidates for 17 state and local races.”

He said [Secretary of State] Martin’s “strong interest in preventing voter confusion by limiting ballot access to serious candidates” also persuaded him against granting a preliminary injunction to allow the substitutions and to prevent Martin from enforcing provisions of the 2015 law that the Libertarian Party is challenging.

Read the rest here. 

No state has ever before required a party to select its nominees in the calendar year before the election. Candidates must file for the Republican and Democratic primaries by the same unprecedented early deadline, but the primary is not held until March. The Libertarian Party of Arkansas held a nominating convention in October to comply with the law, and will be meeting tomorrow in a convention that had intended to nominate additional candidates if the lawsuit was successful.

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Andy Craig


  1. Richard Winger Richard Winger February 26, 2016

    I hope the convention tomorrow will nominate more people, regardless of the ruling. It is important to have more nominees for the next phase of the case, including an appeal. Four times the US Supreme Court has rejected what the US District Court Judge said. Four times the US Supreme Court said rejected the idea that states can make all nominations simultaneous: Anderson v Celebrezze, Lendall v Jernigan, Mandel v Bradley, and Salera v Tucker. All four times (Oho, Arkansas, Maryland, and Pennsylania) the states had simultaneous deadlines for all candidates to file declarations of candidacy. All four times the laws were rejected. The case will be much stronger if the convention tomorrow chooses some more nominees.

  2. Andy Craig Andy Craig Post author | February 26, 2016

    I think that may well be the plan.

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