Washington State Electors Who Refused to Vote for Hillary Clinton Appeal Their Fine, Using a State Administrative Process

Last year, the Washington Secretary of State fined P. Bret Chiafalo and Levi Guerra $1,000 each, because even though they were Democratic Party presidential electors, they didn’t vote for Hillary Clinton in the electoral college. The two electors are contesting the validity of the fine in federal court. But they are also contesting it in a state Administrative Law appeal. The state administrative hearing is open to the public, and will be held at 9:30 a.m., Friday, March 3, in Tacoma.

Minor Parties in at Least Three States are Circulating Party Petitions for 2018 Election

The Ohio Libertarian Party is circulating its 2018 petition for ballot status, and has approximately 5,000 signatures. The state requires 54,965, the third highest of any state for a mandatory party petition in 2018. It is still possible that the Ohio Supreme Court will put the party on the 2018 ballot. The party asked for reconsideration in that court on January 24, and the court still hasn’t responded.

The Utah Green Party has just started its petition. The state requires 2,000.

The Hawaii Constitution Party has just started its petition. The requirement is 750 signatures.

Indiana Ballot Access Bill Withdrawn

Indiana State Senator Greg Walker has withdrawn SB 418, his bill to lower the number of signatures for independent candidates and the nominees of unqualified parties. He hopes to reintroduce it early in 2018, but for now, he didn’t feel the bill solves all the problems he wants to solve. The bill had already passed the Senate Election Committee.

Nevada Bill to Make Petition Deadline for Minor Party Petitions Earlier

Nevada Assemblyman Ira Hansen (R-Sparks) has introduced AB 226, which would move the petition deadline for a newly-qualifying party from June to May. Even the existing deadline is constitutionally shaky. In 1992, in Fulani v Lau, a U.S. District Court Judge enjoined the June deadline that existed back then. Afterwards the legislature moved the deadline to July, but years later, they moved it to April.

When the Green Party filed a lawsuit in 2015 against the April deadline, the legislature moved the deadline back to June and the case was dropped.

Seventh Circuit Hears Illinois Libertarian Case Against Full-Slate Law

On February 24, the 7th circuit heard oral argument in Libertarian Party of Illinois v Scholz, 16-1667. The issue is the unique Illinois law that requires newly-qualifying parties, but not old parties, to run a full slate of candidates. The U.S. District Court had struck it down last year and the state had appealed.

The hearing went well for the Libertarian Party. The judges are Frank H. Easterbrook, Michael S. Kanne, and Diane S. Sykes.

Green Party and Constitution Party File Ballot Access Case in North Carolina

On February 23, the North Carolina Green and Constitution Parties filed a lawsuit against many aspects of North Carolina’s ballot access laws. North Carolina requires more signatures than any other state for an independent presidential candidate, or the presidential nominee of an unqualified party, to get on the ballot (when the easiest method in each state is compared). Leifert v North Carolina State Board of Elections, m.d., 1:17cv-147. The case is assigned to U.S. District Court Judge William Osteen, a Bush Jr. appointee.

There are now constitutional ballot access cases filed by minor parties or independent candidates in 17 states: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Georgia, Illinois, Maine, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Washington.