Ballot Access News: U.S. District Court Judge Denies Injunctive Relief to Maine Libertarian Party; Reserves Judgment on Declaratory Relief

LPME-header-logo_small_1From Ballot Access News, read the original here. Earlier articles on this suit can be found on IPR here and here.

On April 25, U.S. District Court Judge John A. Woodcock denied injunctive relief to the Maine Libertarian Party, in its ballot access lawsuit to become a qualified party in Maine. Libertarian Party of Maine v Dunlap, 2:16cv-0002. The 27-page order says because the Maine primary (for office other than President) is on June 14, there isn’t time to provide the party with its own primary. Twice it says “chaos” would result if the party were put on the ballot.

The judge appears to have completely missed the point that the Maine Libertarian Party wasn’t asking for a primary. In many other ballot lawsuits, courts found ballot access laws for new parties unconstitutional, but made the decision too late for a primary for that party; so the judges let such parties nominate by convention instead. The U.S. Supreme Court made such a ruling in 1968, when it put the American Independent Party on the ballot in Ohio even though it was too late to give the party a primary. At the time, the Ohio law said all parties nominate by primary.

Other courts that did the same thing include a U.S. District Court in Arkansas in 1996, for the Reform Party; a U.S. District Court in Hawaii in 1986, for the Libertarian Party; a U.S. District Court in Nebraska in 1976 for the Libertarian Party (the 8th circuit agreed with this ruling, after the election was over); a U.S. District Court in Nevada in 1986 for the Libertarian Party; an Ohio state court in 1976 for the American Independent party; a U.S. District Court in Ohio in 2008 for the Libertarian and Socialist Parties; a U.S. District Court in Oklahoma in 1984 for the Libertarian Party; and a U.S. District Court in Tennessee in 2012 for the Green and Constitution Parties. Like Maine, all of these other states had laws saying new parties must nominate by primary, but these courts still crafted relief allowing conventions instead.

The party will file a request for reconsideration. The Maine deadline for a newly-qualifying party is December 1 of the year before the election, and that was the main issue in the case.

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About Caryn Ann Harlos

Caryn Ann Harlos is a paralegal residing in Castle Rock, Colorado and presently serving as the Region 1 Representative on the Libertarian National Committee and is a candidate for LNC Secretary at the 2018 Libertarian Party Convention. Articles posted should NOT be considered the opinions of the LNC nor always those of Caryn Ann Harlos personally. Caryn Ann's goal is to provide information on items of interest and (sometimes) controversy about the Libertarian Party and minor parties in general not to necessarily endorse the contents.

One thought on “Ballot Access News: U.S. District Court Judge Denies Injunctive Relief to Maine Libertarian Party; Reserves Judgment on Declaratory Relief

  1. Andy

    Note that the Libertarian Party of Maine would have ballot access right now if they had hired actual Libertarians to work on their voter registration drive rather than only hiring non-libertarian mercenaries.

    Live by the non-libertarian mercenary, die by the non-libertarian mercenary.

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