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


North Carolina Federal Panel Asked to Invalidate Legislative District Boundaries

On November 23, a 3-judge U.S. District Court heard arguments in Covington v State of North Carolina, m.d., 1:15cv-399. The plaintiffs are African-American voters who charge that the 2011 legislative redistricting packed too many of them in a small number of legislative districts, thus reducing their voting influence in many other adjoining legislative districts.

The case was filed May 19, 2015. The hearing was on the request for a preliminary injunction against using the districts in the 2016 election. The three judges are Thomas D. Schroeder (a Bush Jr. appointee), James A. Wynn Jr. (an Obama appointee), and Catherine C. Eagles (an Obama appointee). See this story.


New Hampshire Ballot Law Commission Rejects all Challenges to Various Presidential Candidates, Including Bernie Sanders

On November 24, the New Hampshire Ballot Law Commission upheld ballot access in the Democratic and Republican presidential primaries for all the challenged candidates. See here. Thanks to Darryl Perry for the link.


Former Republican State Chair Files Challenge to Donald Trump’s Ballot Access in New Hampshire

Fergus Cullen, a former Republican state party chair in New Hampshire, has challenged Donald Trump’s right to be on the Republican presidential ballot. See this story.

Cullen is an extreme example of the tendency prevalent in the United States that if you don’t like a candidate’s political views, you attack the ability of ordinary people to vote for that person. Thanks to Doug McNeil for the link.

UPDATE: the challenge was rejected at the November 24 meeting of the Ballot Law Commission.


California Election Law, Telling Republican Party How to Choose Presidential Electors, Creates Knotty Problems

California, despite losing the lawsuit San Francisco County Democratic Central Committee v Eu in the U.S. Supreme Court in 1989, still regulates political parties to an unusual degree. California Election Code section 7300 tells the Republican Party that “the Republican nominees for Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Treasurer, Controller, Attorney General, and Secretary of State…shall act as presidential electors.”

This law has several problems. First, because voters passed Proposition 14 in 2010, parties in California no longer have nominees (except for President, Vice-President and presidential elector). Second, even if the law is interpreted to mean mere members of the Republican Party who appeared on the November 2014 ballot with a Republican preference label, should Neel Kashkari become a Republican candidate for presidential elector in 2016? He was the only person who ran for Governor in November 2014 with a preference for the Republican Party. However, he is now head of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. The U.S. Constitution, Article II, says no one can be an elector who holds “an office of trust or profit under the United States.”

The California Secretary of State’s office says it has no opinion as to whether an officer of the Federal Reserve is eligible or not, and that the Republican Party will decide. But the California Republican Party says it expects the Secretary of State to advise it on this matter. Thanks to Mark Seidenberg for this news.

Nothing in the U.S. Constitution, or in California election law, says candidates for presidential elector from California must be California residents.


Outgoing Kentucky Governor Vastly Eases Ability to Register to Vote for Most Ex-Felons

On November 24, outgoing Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear issued an executive order, making it much easier for most ex-felons to register to vote. The order is expected to ease the path for 170,000 individuals. Beshear is a Democrat and he only has two more weeks in office. However, incoming Governor Matt Bevin, a Republican, said during the campaign that he favors this idea. See this story.


Four Republican Presidential Candidates Will Receive Their Free Time on November 27-28

NBC will give free time to four of the five Republican presidential candidates who asked for it on November 27 or November 28. See this story. Thanks to Rick Hasen for the link.

NBC still hasn’t decided whether to give George Pataki any free time, even though he has asked for it.