State of Elections

William & Mary Law School | Election Law Society

Tag: Third Party

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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Pennsylvania Ballot Access Cost to Third Parties

By Adama Sirleaf

Pennsylvania’s ballot access process is one of the most hotly-contested in the country. On July 9, 2014, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Constitution, Green, and Libertarian Parties of Pennsylvania did have standing to bring a claim challenging Pennsylvania’s “method of checking ballot access petitions.” The plaintiffs challenged two provisions of Pennsylvania’s election code, Title 25 §§ 2911(b) and 2937 arguing that combined the two provisions are unconstitutional. The argument stems from the requirement of §2911(b) that minor parties and political organizations must obtain a certain number of signatures to get on the ballot. However, under §2937 if those signatures are successfully challenged the candidates may be held financially liable. Read together, these two provisions arguably act as a barrier for candidates of minor parties and political organizations. The appellate court merely ruled on standing and did not intend to prejudge the merits of the case. Continue reading

One Sentence May Fundamentally Alter Third Party Ballot Access in New Hampshire

By Sarah Graffam

A lawsuit pending before the New Hampshire Federal District Court could have serious impact on third party access to the ballot in future elections. House Bill 1542, which became law on July 22, 2014, added one sentence to RSA 655:40: “Nomination papers shall be signed and dated in the year of the election.” In a suit filed the same day, the New Hampshire Civil Liberties Union, on behalf of the Libertarian Party of New Hampshire, argued HB 1542 imposes onerous restrictions on third party access to the ballot which limits voter choice and stacks the deck against candidates who do not belong to a major party. 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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