Nebraska Bill to Choose All Presidential Electors with Statewide Vote Advances

On April 18, the Nebraska Government, Military & Veterans Affairs Committee passed LB 25. It changes the way Nebraska elects presidential electors. Currently each U.S. House district elects its own elector. The bill would change that so that all the electoral votes go to the winner of the statewide presidential popular vote. Currently Maine and Nebraska are the only states in which each U.S. House district elects its own elector.

Nebraska Legislature Passes Bill to Make it Easier for Parties to Remain on Ballot

On April 24, the Nebraska Senate unanimously approved LB 34. It adds a second method for a party to remain on the ballot. The old law requires a party to poll 5% for any statewide race at either of the last two elections. The bill says a party also remains on the ballot if it has at least 10,000 registered members.

The only three parties on the Nebraska ballot now are the Republican, Democratic, and Libertarian Parties. The Libertarian Party has slightly more than 11,000 registrants. Therefore, assuming the bill is signed into law by the Governor, the Libertarian Party won’t need to run any statewide candidates in 2018 if it doesn’t wish to, and would still remain on the ballot.

Last Brief Filed in U.S. Supreme Court in Montana Republican Party Open Primaries Lawsuit

On April 24, the Montana Republican Party and some county Republican Parties filed this reply brief in the U.S. Supreme Court. The briefs are now all submitted, in both this case and the Hawaii Democratic Party case. Probably the U.S. Supreme Court will soon set a conference date for both cases. Both cases challenge open primaries. In both cases, the lower courts said the parties haven’t proved that open primaries injure them. In both cases, the major parties argue that they are harmed by never knowing which voters are helping choose their nominees. Unlike the rules in some open primary states, in Hawaii and Montana the voter’s choice of which party primary to choose is secret.

U.S. District Court Keeps Presidential Primary Sore Loser Lawsuit Alive

On April 24, U.S. District Court Judge John Jones issued a procedural ruling in De La Fuente v Cortes, m.d., 1:16cv-1696. He gave the plaintiff-candidate, Rocky De La Fuente, permission to amend his complaint. The case challenges the action of Pennsylvania election officials, who rejected De La Fuente’s petition (as an independent presidential candidate) last year on the grounds that he had run in the 2016 Democratic Pennsylvania presidential primary. Last year, after the election, De La Fuente had asked to amend his complaint in order to strengthen his case, but the state had then tried to persuade the judge not to allow him to amend his complaint.

There is no precedent as to whether Pennsylvania’s sore loser law applies to presidential primaries. John Anderson set such precedents in twenty states in 1980, all agreeing that sore loser laws don’t pertain to presidential primaries. Unfortunately, in 1980 Anderson didn’t get on the Pennsylvania Republican presidential primary ballot. Even though Anderson only needed 1,000 signatures of registered Republicans, his Pennsylvania primary petition drive failed. So, no Pennsylvania precedent was ever set, except that Pennsylvania did count Anderson’s write-ins in the Pennsylvania Republican presidential primary, and of course also allowed him on the ballot as an independent in November.

U.S. District Court Expedites Georgia Lawsuit Over Whether Voters Can Register for U.S. House Run-off in June

Georgia law does not permit anyone to register to vote, and then be eligible to vote, for a run-off, after the deadline for registering in the first election. Only voters who were already registered for the first election may vote in a run-off, even though the two events are approximately two months apart in time. The Georgia NAACP challenged this law in a lawsuit filed April 20. On April 24, U.S. District Court Judge Timothy Batten expedited the case, which is Georgia State Conference of the NAACP v Kemp, n.d., 1:17cv-1397.

The state must respond to the lawsuit by April 28, Friday, at noon. Oral argument will be Thursday, May 4, at 2 pm.