Ballot Access News is edited and published by Richard Winger, the nation's leading expert on ballot access legal issues.


SurveyUSA General Election Presidential Poll

SurveyUSA has released its general election presidential poll. The results, if Donald Trump is the Republican nominee and Hillary Clinton is the Democratic nominee: Trump 45%, Clinton 40%, other or undecided 15%. The poll includes other pairs as well. Thanks to PoliticalWire for the link.


Stateline Article on States with Unsettled U.S. House and Legislative District Boundaries

This Stateline article reviews the status of various lawsuits around the country which may result in the need for states to redraw their U.S. House and/or state legislative districts before the 2016 election. These states include Alabama, Florida, North Carolina, Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

Since the article was written, the 3-judge U.S. District Court in Alabama has instructed the plaintiffs to draw their own districts by September 25. This suggests that the plaintiffs are likely to win their lawsuit, if they can do a satisfactory job of producing their own plan.


Ben Chipman, Maine Independent Legislator, Becomes a Democrat

Ben Chipman, who has been elected to several terms in the Maine legislature as an independent, has become a Democrat. See this story. Before Chipman was in the legislature, he was an aide to Green Party Representative John Eder.


Maryland Files Brief, Defending Policy of Requiring Four Times as Many Signatures for a Statewide Independent as for a New Party

On September 4, Maryland state officials filed this brief in Dorsey v Lamone, 1:15cv-2170. The issue is the state’s policy of requiring almost four times as many signatures for a statewide independent as for an entire new party.

The state’s brief doesn’t actually explain any state interest in requiring more signatures for an independent than for a new party. It just cites the boiler-plate state interest in requiring ballot access restrictions, preventing frivolous candidates and keeping the ballot uncluttered.

The state claims that the independent petition procedure doesn’t really discriminate against independent candidates because parties have the burden of selecting officers and holding state conventions. The historical record shows that the independent procedure is obviously more difficult. In the period starting in 2000 to the present, only one statewide independent petition has succeeded in Maryland, but there have been 27 minor party candidates for statewide office on the Maryland ballot in the same period. The one statewide independent petition that succeeded was that of S. Rob Sobhani, a wealthy individual who ran for U.S. Senate as an independent in 2012. Minor party petitions that have succeeded in Maryland in the time period 2000 to the present include four Libertarian petitions, five Green petitions, one Independent Party petition, one Populist Party petition, and three Constitution Party petitions.


Greensboro, North Carolina Newspaper Editorial Condemns Bill that Moves All Primaries to March

The Greensboro, North Carolina News & Record here editorializes against the bill to move North Carolina primaries for all office from May to March. The editorial says the non-presidential primary should remain in May and the presidential primary should also be in May.


Ohio Marijuana Initiative Sponsors Sue Secretary of State to Preserve Confidentiality of Internal Communications

Backers of an Ohio initiative concerning marijuana have already submitted over 650,000 signatures on their initiative petition. On September 3, they sued the Secretary of State to block his intent to force the group to reveal all their internal communications. Here is the Complaint in John Doe v Husted, southern district, 1:15cv570.