Liberty Union Party polled over 5% of the vote in November 2014 for two Vermont statewide offices, Treasurer and Secretary of State. However, under a new law passed in 2014, SB 86, that vote showing isn’t enough for it to qualify for its own primary. SB 86 (which didn’t take effect until after the 2014 election) says a party doesn’t qualify for a primary, even if it did get 5% of the vote for a statewide office in the last election, unless it also has town committees in any 30 towns.
Liberty Union has been unable to organize in that many towns, so it reverts to qualified minor party status. Its nominees will automatically be on the November ballot, but they will be nominated by state convention, not by primary. Also Liberty Union won’t have a presidential primary in 2016 either.
Last week the Iowa Supreme Court agreed to hear Griffin v Brandstad, to settle which ex-felons are permitted to register to vote. The plaintiff had been convicted of a low-level drug possession crime. Long after she was free, she voted, and was then charged with a felony for voting illegally. The lower court ruled against her. See this story.
On February 9, the Fourth Circuit issued an opinion in National Federation for the Blind v Lamone, 14-2001. The Fourth Circuit agrees with the U.S. District Court, which in 2014 said Maryland must permit blind voters to mark absentee ballots at home with help from an “online ballot marking tool.” Such voters may print a ballot from the internet, and then use the device to mark it. The decision is based on the federal Americans with Disabilities Act.
See this story, which explains how the tool works. The story is from 2014, when the U.S. District Court opinion came out. Thanks to Rick Hasen for the link to the decision.
Frontloading HQ here explains the Republican delegate rules in New Hampshire. Even though preliminary election returns show that Donald Trump only has about 34% of the popular vote, because he is the winner, he will get all the unallocated delegates. The vote for candidates who poll less than 10% goes into the Trump column.
Here are the election returns.
On February 8, the South Dakota State Senate defeated SB 95 by 24-8. This is the bill that would have let candidates in primaries, and also independent candidates, use filing fees instead of petitions. The bill only applied to Congress and state office.
On February 9, the U.S. District Court in North Carolina that had struck down the state’s U.S. House districts last week refused to stay its own opinion. The state is now asking the U.S. Supreme Court for a stay. See this story. UPDATE: here is the state’s request to the U.S. Supreme Court, asking for a stay. Thanks to Rick Hasen for that.