State of Elections

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Tag: Republican Party

Trumping the Law: The Dilemma Behind Parties’ Executive Committees Selecting Presidential Electors

By: Kristi Breyfogle

The 2016 election in Minnesota gained national attention this year when the state Republican Party almost failed to get its presidential candidate on the ballot.  The problem became apparent shortly before the deadline to file paperwork to get candidates on the ballot. Republican leaders realized that due to an oversight, they failed to elect alternative electors for the November election at their state convention.  The party’s presidential candidate, therefore, was not on the Minnesota sample ballot.  This resulted in a last minute scramble to name ten alternative electors for the campaign.  The Republican Executive Committee met in private in August to select the missing alternatives.  After the state Republican Party scrambled to meet the deadline, Minnesota’s Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party (DFL) challenged the validity of the ten alternative electors.  While the court ultimately decided to dismiss the DFL’s petition, it based its decision on a time and practicality consideration rather than on the merits of the claim.  The question remains open on whether a party must choose its electors publicly at its state convention or whether the party’s executive committee may select them at a private meeting.

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New York, Fusion Voting, and Gary Johnson – What’s an Independence-Libertarian to do?

By: Caiti Anderson

There is no state quite like New York – and not many election laws quite like New York’s, either. As one example, only New York and six other states permit fusion voting. On a fusion ballot, a candidate can be listed as candidate for more than one party. Fusion voting, as noted the 1997 Supreme Court decision of Timmons v. Twin Cities Area New Party, had its heyday during the Gilded Age. Political parties, rather than governmental entities, distributed their own ballots to voters but did not affirmatively tell voters what other parties endorsed the same candidate(s) they supported. Thus, Candidate Smith could be supported by both the Granger and Republican parties, but those who voted the Granger ballot would not necessarily know from the ballot the Granger party handed them that the Republican Party also supported Smith.

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Republican National Convention: William & Mary Law Student in the Virginia Delegation

William & Mary Law School student Bethany Bostron ‘17 found herself at the center of the storm at the recent Republican Convention in Cleveland. Bostron served as a delegate for Virginia at the Convention. In that role, Bostron assisted in an attempt to petition for a roll call vote that would allow delegates to reject new party rules that consolidated power in the RNC and to have the opportunity to cast a vote for someone other than Trump.  Quoted in USA Today, Bostron expressed a great deal of frustration. “On Monday, I was in charge of collecting signatures for the state of Virginia for a petition for a roll call vote, and I worked hard all Sunday night,” she explained. The next morning they “couldn’t find the secretary so we were hunting all over to find someone to hand [the petition] in to. We got everything in and the establishment just shut us down.”

Bostron’s front-row view of American Democracy illustrates the level of engagement of William & Mary Law students in the election process. Reached after the event, Bostron added… “I am very disappointed that the establishment would not allow delegates to play a role in selecting the rules that the party will operate under for the next four years. However, the experience has motivated me to become even more involved in the party and work to elect leaders who will allow grassroots participation. Outcomes are important, but the process we use to achieve those outcomes also matters.”

Bostron is also the subject of a Washington Post mini-documentary on Virginia delegates. Check it out here (Bostron appears starting at approximately minute 5).

Read the USA Today article quoting Bostron here.

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Trying to Stop Drive-By-Voting in New Hampshire

By: C. Rose Moore

Round two of the “drive-by voting” battle in New Hampshire ended on September 16th, 2015 when the New Hampshire Senate failed to override Governor Maggie Hassan’s veto of Senate Bill 179.  That proposal would have required potential voters to be domiciled in the state for at least thirty days prior to an election.  This was the second initiative purportedly aimed at combatting this type of fraud, which can be illustrated by the actions of Vice-President Joe Biden’s niece.  While “she didn’t break the letter of the law… many people think she violated the spirit of it” by voting in the 2012 elections in New Hampshire after only working on the campaign there for a short time.

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Connecticut’s Current Battle over Campaign Contributions

By: Lauren Coleman

In 2014, Republicans filed a complaint against Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy, alleging that he and the Democratic Party used state contractor funds in violation of state law for Malloy’s campaign.  A legal battle has ensued, raising questions about the interplay between state and federal campaign finance laws, as well as the jurisdictional reach of the State Elections Enforcement Commission (SEEC) to conduct investigations.    ‘

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OK: Independents, Welcome to the Democratic Primaries

By: Ajinur Setiwaldi

The Oklahoma Democratic Party is making history this year by opening up their primaries to independent voters. Delegates at the state convention approved (314-147) the change in July 2015 and expect independent voters to participate in the party’s presidential primaries in March 2016. Registered independents will also be able to participate in democratic primaries for all state and local elections.

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The Front-Loading Problem: North Carolina Joins the Primary

By: Laura Wright

On September 24th, the North Carolina legislature passed House Bill 373 which, if signed by Governor Pat McRory, will move North Carolina’s presidential, state, and local primaries up from May to March 15th. Sponsored by Riddell (R), Whitmire (R), Brockman (D), and Iler (R), the bill passed with a 52-49 vote in the House and a 30-13 vote in the Senate.

With this move of the primary date come some other changes. The last day for candidates to submit their name to the primary ballot is December 16th. In order to get on the ballot, candidates must collect 10,000 signatures from qualified voters who are registered to the party of that candidate. These signatures must be verified at least 10 days before filing. For candidates wishing to get their name on the primary ballot, be they presidential, state-wide, or local, the clock is ticking.

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