Missouri Legislator, Elected as a Democrat in 2014, Will Run for Re-Election as an Independent

Missouri Representative Keith English, elected in 2012 and 2014 as a Democrat, will run for re-election this year as an independent. He lives in Florissant. See this story.

After he voted to reduce the Missouri income tax, the Democratic legislative leadership removed him from his committee assignments. See the wikipedia page about him.

U.S. District Court Rules that Wisconsin Does Not Violate the U.S. Constitution by Abolishing Straight-Ticket Device

On July 29, a U.S. District Court in Wisconsin issued an opinion in One Wisconsin Institute v Thomsen, w.d. 15-cv-324. The opinion upholds the action of the legislature in 2011 in abolishing the straight-ticket device. There are many other issues in this case, and Wisconsin lost on most of the other points. Here is a copy of the decision. The Wisconsin court was aware that a U.S. District Court decision in Michigan last week had come to a contrary conclusion about straight-ticket devices.

For a discussion of the other issues in the case, here is a link to Rick Hasen’s blog post about the decision.

Kansas State Court Judge Orally Orders Secretary of State to Cease Keeping Two Separate Lists of Voters

On July 29, Kansas state trial court judge Larry Hendricks orally ordered the Kansas Secretary of State to stop keeping two separate lists of registered voters, one list of people who used the federal form, and another list who used the state form. The Secretary of State’s policy has been that people who used the federal form can’t vote in state or local elections. The basis for the order is that there is no Kansas law permitting two separate lists. The case is Brown v Kobach.

Sixth Circuit Won’t Put Libertarian Party on Ohio Ballot

On July 29, the Sixth Circuit affirmed a U.S. District Court opinion in Libertarian Party v Husted, 16-3537. This means that the Ohio Libertarian Party won’t be on the ballot as a party this year, unless possibly it wins its pending case in the State Appeals Court.

The decision says that the individuals who conspired to keep the party’s gubernatorial nominee off the party’s primary ballot were not state actors. It upholds the law that says newly-qualifying parties are not entitled to their own primary election.

As to the party’s argument that the State Constitution requires that all parties must nominate by primary, the Sixth Circuit said that is a decision for Ohio state court. That issue is still pending in a case that is also called Libertarian Party of Ohio.

Gary Johnson is circulating the petition to be on the ballot as an independent presidential candidate. The deadline for that petition is August 10. That requirement is 5,000 signatures.

Bernie Sanders Clarifies that He is Still an Independent, not a Democrat

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders recently explained that he is still an independent, not a Democrat. See this story. The author of the article seems to think that if Sanders lived in a state with partisan registration, then he would have been forced to register as a Democrat in order to seek the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination. That is not true. Political parties have a freedom of association right to nominate non-members if they wish. The Whig Party in 1840 nominated a Democrat for Vice-President. The Republican Party in 1864 nominated a Democrat for Vice-President. The Democratic Party in 1872 nominated a Republican, Horace Greeley, for President.

THe U.S. Supreme Court said in Tashjian v Republican Party of Connecticut that political parties are free to nominate non-members if they wish. When Dwight Eisenhower was nominated for President by the Republican Party in July 1952, he was not a registered voter. Thanks to Gene Berkman for the link.