State of Elections

William & Mary Law School | Election Law Society

Tag: Independent Candidates

Weekly Wrap Up

Is World Wrestling Entertainment political advertising?  According to election officials in Connecticut, it is.  They have told poll workers that they can ask voters wearing WWE gear to cover it up, fearing that it could be construed as political advertising for Republican Senate candidate Linda McMahon, who is also the former CEO of WWE.  Officials said that McMahon is so closely associated with WWE that the gear could easily be considered a violation of rule banning political campaigning within 75 feet of a polling station.  McMahon’s husband, Vince McMahon, said that this was a violation of WWE fans’ First Amendment rights and would deny them their right to vote.  Connecticut Republicans are also up in arms, with the State Party Chairman calling the action “voter intimidation.” This is not unprecedented, however; a similar rule was in place in California, forbidding voters from wearing “Terminator” gear when Arnold Schwarzenegger was on the ballot.

The 9th Circuit struck down part of Arizona’s voter registration laws on October 27, holding that the provisions of the law requiring proof of citizenship conflicted with the federal law. The federal law only requires that applicants “attest their citizenship under penalty of perjury”, while the 2004 voter-approved initiative in Arizona required applicants to register to vote to show proof of citizenship by providing one of the documents on the approved list. The citizenship requirement was “an additional state hurdle” to registration, something the federal law was trying to prevent. The 9th Circuit appeals panel–which included retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor–did not, however, overturn the requirement that voters show identification at the polls in order to vote. Continue reading

Weekly Wrap-Up

Fox News wants to make sure their viewers know they don’t endorse Democrats. The network has sued Democratic Senate candidate Robin Carnahan for copyright violations based on a campaign ad. Fox News wants to ensure that the public knows the network has not endorsed a candidate in the Missouri race and says the ad, which shows Chris Wallace interviewing Carnahan’s opponent about allegations that he acted improperly while in Congress, makes it appear that Wallace is speaking on the side of the campaign. The suit is considered by some experts to be the first case where a media outlet has sued a political campaign over copyright violations. There are also concerns that this is not a true copyright concern because, according to copyright lawyer Ben Sheffner, copyright disputes are about revenue not reputation damage. The ad has been pulled from the web and YouTube, but is still airing on television. The case is currently pending in federal courts.

Dreaming of a Third Party? Libertarians in Georgia are dreaming of a permanent place on the ballot. Their gubernatorial candidate, John Monds, is polling at 9% while the Republican candidate, Nathan Deal, continues to have financial problems. If Monds can capture over 20% of the vote, the Libertarians will be considered a “political party” under state election law, allowing them to hold primary elections and be guaranteed ballot access in future races. In the past, no Libertarian candidate for governor has surpassed 4% of the vote. Read about it here.

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Weekly Wrap Up

Every week, State of Elections brings you the latest news in election law.

– Check out our CU + and the States page to track the latest state responses to the Citizens United ruling.  The page is constantly updated and contains over 50 links discussing the impact of Citizens United at the state level.

-The Rose Institute released this state by state guide to redistricting in America.

– Georgia’s photo identification requirement for voting has survived another legal challenge.

– Florida will begin providing bilingual ballots in 2012.

An Idaho judge has ruled that Idaho’s election laws are unconstitutional and biased against independent candidates.  An independent presidential candidate requires 6,500 signatures to get on the ballot in Arizona, but nonresidents are forbidden from circulating petitions in Idaho.  These two laws combined to make it particularly difficult for an independent to get on the ballot in Idaho.

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Weekly Wrap Up

Every week, State of Elections brings you the latest news in election law.

– The Hawaiian Office of Elections has set May 22nd as their target date for a special election to replace Congressman Neil Abercrombie.  Due to that state’s budget troubles, the election will be held entirely by mail. For an overview of Hawaii’s recent election problems, go here.

– Senators Chris Dodd and Tom Udall have proposed a constitutional amendment to overrule the Citizens United decision.  The amendment would allow the federal and state governments to place limits on the amount of contributions that can be made to a candidate and on the amount of expenditures that can be made by a candidate.

– A Georgia program for verifying voters’ citizenship has ruffled some feathers over at the Department of Justice.  Under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, the DOJ has the right to stop any state election administration laws from taking effect.  The DOJ has objected to the Georgian program, as it claims the state has not demonstrated that the program does not have a discriminatory purpose.

– The ALCU has appealed a federal court ruling that upheld Montana’s ballot access laws.  Independent candidates seeking to run for statewide office in Montana must meet some of the stringent requirements in the country, including an early filing deadline and steep filing fees.

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