On September 28, a lower New Hampshire state court invalidated the Secretary of State’s plan for a fairer order of candidates on the ballot. Back in August, the State Supreme Court had ruled that all candidates must have an equal chance for the best spot on the ballot. This affected the order of party columns, and it also affected the order of candidates’ names, in multi-winner districts (some New Hampshire state house districts elect as many as 9 representatives).
Since the New Hampshire legislature did not pass any new law on the subject of ballot order, the Secretary of State had proposed that the old alphabetical listing should be altered, in this fashion: he would randomly choose a letter of the alphabet. For this year’s general election, he chose “k”. Then, he proposed that all candidates with a surname starting with “k” should be listed first, but after that, the normal alphabet would again prevail, so that candidates with surnames starting with “a” would follow the candidates whose surnames start with “k”.
The lower state court ruling said that plan isn’t good enough, because it still leaves candidates with surnames at the beginning of the alphabet better off than candidates with surnames at the end.