The Utah Republican Party continues to fight the Utah law that forces the party to allow candidates into its primary who have little or no support at party meetings. The law allows candidates to petition onto the primary ballot, but the party doesn’t want such candidates unless they had substantial support at party endorsement meetings.
On April 20, the Utah Republican Party filed its reply brief. The state had filed its brief, in support of the law, on March 20. The case is Utah Republican Party v Cox, 16-4091. One of the odd things about the Republican Party’s briefs is that, even though the party doesn’t want anyone to be able to petition onto the Republican Party primary ballot, the party also argues that the petition requirements set forth in the state law are so difficult that they are unconstitutional.
On April 25, the Arizona House unanimously passed SB 1307. It moves the deadline for parties to nominate candidates for presidential elector from early June to late August. This bill only exists because the Green Party missed the June deadline in 2016, and sued in federal court, and the Secretary of State didn’t contest the lawsuit, accepted the party’s filing, and said she would ask the legislature to ease the deadline.
The bill had already passed the Senate, so now it goes to the Governor.
The U.S. Supreme Court will consider the Hawaii and Montana open primary cases at its May 11 conference. The Democratic Party of Hawaii and the Republican Party of Montana are both hoping that the Court will accept their cases. The lower courts had upheld the open primaries in both states, saying there is no evidence that those parties are injured by the open primaries.
On Sunday, April 23, the Washington state legislature’s regular session ended. See this story. The bill to move the presidential primary from May to March had passed the Senate on March 6, but it didn’t get taken up in the House. But it could pass in the special session that is about to begin.
The regular session ended with no budget. It also ended up with no solution to the problem that the State Supreme Court has been fining the state $100,000 per day until the education funding problem is solved. Three years ago the Court ruled that the disparity in public funding between wealthy districts and poor districts violates the State Constitution, but the legislature can’t agree on how to resolve the issue.
Washington has been using the top-two system starting in 2008. Supporters of top-two never discuss how it has worked in Washington state. The Senate is controlled by Democrats and the House is controlled by Republicans, which makes it difficult for budgets to be passed. It has become also routine in Washington state that the budget can’t pass in the regular session, and only passes after one or two special sessions.
Utah Congressman Jason Chaffetz has said he may resign from the U.S. House in the next few months. If Utah then holds a special election to fill his seat, each qualified party will nominate by party meeting. See this story.
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.