Indiana State Court Rules Election Officials Acted Properly When They Left Candidate on the Ballot who had Died Four Days Before the Election

On February 8, an Indiana state trial court ruled that Allen County officials did not break any Indiana election law when they left a candidate on the November 8, 2016 ballot, even though he had died four days before the election. See this story. Roy Buskirk was a Republican Party nominee for county council-at-large, and he was re-elected. Because he had died, the Republican Party was permitted to choose his replacement.

Tennessee Libertarian Party Asks Secretary of State to Acknowledge that Gary Johnson Vote Means Party is Qualified

The Tennessee Libertarian Party has asked the Secretary of State to rule that it is a qualified party, based on the Gary Johnson vote last year. Johnson polled 70,397 votes in Tennessee last November. The law says a group needs to poll 5% of the last gubernatorial vote, for any statewide race, to become or retain status as a qualified party. The last gubernatorial election in Tennessee was in November 2014, and 5% of the 2014 gubernatorial vote is 67,687.

The law says a party must have an officer in every county, and the party waited to send the letter until it had achieved that goal. Tennessee has 95 counties.

Section 2-1-104 of the Tennessee election law defines “party” to be “a political party at least one of whose candidates for an office to be elected by voters of the entire state received a number of votes equal to at least 5% of the total number of votes cast for gubernatorial candidates in the most recent election of governor” or a group that submits a petition of 2.5% of the last gubernatorial vote.

Tennessee hasn’t had any qualified parties, other than the Republican and Democratic Parties, since George Wallace’s American Party lost its status in November 1972. Not counting Tennessee, there are only eight states with no ballot-qualified parties other than the Democrats and Republicans.

New Hampshire Bill to Ban Fusion Advances

The New Hampshire Senate Committee that handles election law bills has approved SB 114, which bans fusion. It adds a sentence to the election law saying a candidate may only accept the nomination of one party.

Fusion in New Hampshire is already difficult. It can only be attained when a candidate wins the primary of the party he or she is not a member of, by write-ins in the primary. However, every year, there are at least a few legislative candidates who win the nomination of two parties.

The bill’s author is Senator Dan Feltes (D-Concord). Thanks to Darryl Perry for this news.

Georgia State Officials Say Full Eleventh Circuit Should Reverse Green Party Decision Because Green Party Lacks Voter Support Within Georgia

As already noted, attorneys for the state of Georgia recently asked the full Eleventh Circuit to rehear the original panel’s decision. The original panel had voted on February 1, 2017, that Georgia may not require approximately 50,000 signatures for an independent presidential candidate, or the presidential nominee of an unqualified party.

Here is the state’s request for rehearing. The brief lays great emphasis on the fact that the Libertarian Party has been on the ballot for president in Georgia starting in 1988. But when the Libertarian Party last had to petition, in 1988, the Georgia requirement was 25,759, not 50,000, so that point is weak. The other point the state makes in its petition for rehearing is that the plaintiffs, the Green Party and the Constitution Party, lack voter support within Georgia. The evidence for that is that they both failed to get the court-ordered 7,500 requirement last year. But all that shows is that even a much smaller petition is a big burden in Georgia. That is partly because the state’s petition-checking procedures are so arbitrary. Each county has its own standards. Evidence of that is shown that Rocky De La Fuente, an independent presidential candidate last year, submitted 15,000 signatures, but he was told only 20% of his signatures were valid.