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

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On-Line Chicago Politics Blog Carries Column Advocating Filing Fees Instead of Petitions for Illinois

Phil Huckelberry has this article in Gapers Block, advocating that Illinois depend on candidate filing fees instead of petitions, for ballot access. Gapers Block is a well-read on-line Chicago newspaper about government and politics.

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Tulsa World Applauds Democratic Party of Oklahoma for Letting Independents Vote in its Primaries

The Tulsa World, in this editorial, congratulates the Oklahoma Democratic Party for letting independents vote in its future primaries.

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Cleveland Plain Dealer Tries to Analyze Whether Governor John Kasich will be in Fox August 6 Debate

The Cleveland Plain Dealer has a story that tries to analyze whether Ohio Governor John Kasich will be in the August 6 Fox News Republican presidential debate. See it here. The answer is ambiguous and depends on which polls are used.

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South Carolina Republican Presidential Primary Filing Fee is $40,000

Candidates who intend to run in the South Carolina Republican Party presidential primary will be required to pay a filing fee of $40,000. There is no alternate method for getting on the ballot, even for candidates who say they don’t have the money.

Candidates file with the party, but, by law, the party gives $20,000 of that fee to the government to help pay for election administration. The party keeps the other $20,000 and the party need not pay any election administration costs for its primary.

The filing deadline for the Republican presidential primary is September 30, 2015. The party, not the government, chose that date. It is easily the earliest filing deadline for presidential primaries in any state. The next-earliest deadline is Michigan’s deadline of November 15, 2015. The South Carolina presidential primary will be February 20, 2016, so the deadline is 143 days before the primary, which seems excessively early. No other state has a presidential primary deadline that is more than 115 days before the presidential primary.

Marco Rubio has already paid the $40,000. See this story.

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Independent Candidate is Petitioning for Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice in This Year’s Election

On November 3, 2015, Pennsylvania voters will elect there new State Supreme Court Justices in partisan elections. There will be three Democrats, three Republicans, and probably one independent candidate. The independent candidate is Paul Panepinto, who switched his registration from Republican to independent in March 2015. He needs 16,639 valid signatures by August 3, 2015. A news story of July 27 says he has 22,000 signatures.

The last time a minor party or independent candidate for Justice of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court was on the ballot was in November 1993, when Patriot Party nominee Robert Surrick qualified. Surrick was somewhat famous as a long-time advocate of reform for Pennsylvania state courts, but he only polled 5.4%. Assuming Panepinto gets on the November 2015 ballot, the straight-ticket device will impede his chances for winning. He has been rated qualified by the Bar Association and has been a judge on the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas for several decades. See this story.

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U.S. District Court Hears Oral Arguments in Lawsuit Over Independent Candidate Petition Deadline

On Monday, July 27, U.S. District Court Judge James M. Moody heard oral arguments in Moore v Martin, e.d., 4:14cv-65. The issue is the March petition deadline in effect in 2014 for non-presidential independent candidates to submit their petitions. The argument lasted 90 minutes. Judge Moody indicated a decision will be out in two or three weeks.