State of Elections

William & Mary Law School | Election Law Society

Tag: Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission

Ninth Circuit Brings Out-of-State Donors In From The Cold

By: Ellie Halfacre

When Wes Keller ran for re-election to the Alaska House of Representatives in 2015, his brother-in-law David Thompson tried to support his candidacy and donate $500 to the campaign. However, due to §15.13.072(e)(3) of Alaska’s elections statute, he was unable to do so. Under this law, Keller’s campaign had already received the maximum dollar amount it could accept from nonresidents—$3,000—according to the state’s restrictions on campaign contributions. Thompson, a Wisconsin resident, sued, challenging Alaska’s campaign finance laws under the First and Fourteenth Amendments.

The law that barred Thompson’s donation, §15.13.072, specified several fundraising limitations on out-of-state donors: candidates could not accept more than $20,000 a year from nonresident donors for gubernatorial campaigns, $5,000 a year for state senate campaigns, and $3,000 a year for campaigns for state representative, or municipal or other office.

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Massachusetts Upholds Corporate Campaign Contribution Limits in ‘Union Loophole’ Case

By: Jared Mullen

Earlier this month, Massachusetts’s highest court rejected a challenge to the Commonwealth’s longtime ban on corporate campaign contributions. First enacted in 1907, G. L. c. 55, § 8 prohibits corporations, partnerships, and LLCs from contributing directly to political campaigns or political action committees. At the same time, unions, non-profit organizations, and trade associations may directly contribute up to $15,000 to political campaigns in the commonwealth, while individuals may contribute up to $1,000. Corporations may still contribute to Super PAC’s, which do not coordinate with political campaigns, as well as make independent political expenditures of their own.

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Easy Reading? California’s 224-page Voter’s Guide

By: Tyler Sherman

As November 8—election day—drew closer and Californians geared up to cast their ballots, election officials mailed out the state’s Official Voter Information Guide. The guide listed and explained each of seventeen ballot propositions—the most to appear on a single ballot in sixteen years. But not only was the ballot replete with more propositions than in any election in nearly two decades, the Guide itself set the record of being the longest voter guide in California’s history, at an enormous 224-pages long.

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