On October 21, the Pennsylvania Republican Party sued in federal court to overturn a state law that says poll workers cannot work outside their home county. Poll watchers are authorized by state law to be present at polling places, but no one may be a poll watcher in a county other than the watcher’s home county. The Complaint says poll watchers engage in core political speech protected by the First Amendment. Republican Party of Pennsylvania v Cortes, e.d., 16cv-5524. The case is assigned to U.S. District Court Judge Gerald Pappert, an Obama appointee.
The Republican Party brief, asking for a preliminary injunction, does not mention any of the recent court precedents in Pennsylvania striking down laws on residency requirements for petitioners.
On October 24, two Colorado voters filed a federal lawsuit to overturn the state law that makes it illegal for any voter to photograph his or her voted ballot and show that to anyone else. Hill v Williams, U.S. District Court, 1:16cv-2627. Here is the Complaint. Similar laws in Indiana and New Hampshire have recently been struck down as a violation of the free speech portion of the First Amendment. Thanks to Rick Hasen for the link.
Independent presidential candidate Evan McMullin did not choose his actual vice-presidential running mate until early this month. She is Mindy Finn. Because she was chosen so late, her name is not printed on any state’s ballot. Instead, McMullin’s vice-presidential running mate in all eleven states where he is on the ballot is stand-in Nathan Johnson.
This Utah news story discusses this matter, but the reporter did not seem to know that George Wallace acted in a similar fashion in 1968. Wallace didn’t choose his vice-presidential running mate, Curtis LeMay, until early October 1968. Only five states printed LeMay on the ballot. In the other states, Wallace’s stand-in, Marvin Griffin, former Georgia Governor, was on the ballot. But that didn’t matter. Wallace carried five states, and his presidential electors in all five states voted for LeMay in the electoral college.
Independent presidential candidate Rocky De La Fuente is challenging Georgia procedures for checking petition signatures. He submitted 14,500 signatures earlier this year to meet a requirement of 7,500, and the state said only 20% of his signatures are valid. De La Fuente sued in state court over the petition-checking procedures. The Secretary of State has no guidelines for the counties on how to determine if a signature is valid. Each county checks the signatures from its own county without any guidelines. Some counties disqualify the signatures of inactive voters and others do not. Some counties attempt to identify a signature with poor handwriting using the signer’s birthday and/or address, and others don’t.
A lower state court upheld current practice. The Georgia Supreme Court will hear De La Fuente’s appeal. In the State Supreme Court, the case is De La Fuente v Kemp, S17A-0424. Briefs are being filed this week. It is too late for De La Fuente to get on the Georgia ballot, but the case is important for future petitioning in Georgia.
The October 24 Chicago Tribune has an editorial condemning Illinois ballot access laws, and gerrymandering. See it here. Thanks to the Center for Competitive Politics for the link.
U.S. Senator Richard Durbin, a Democrat representing Illinois, said recently in a news interview that Illinois’ petition requirement for independent candidates for U.S. House is too high. See this story. Durbin is not running for re-election this year; he was re-elected in 2014.