On November 22, the Los Angeles County Libertarian Party filed an amended complaint, and new exhibits, in Libertarian Party of Los Angeles County v Bowen, U.S. District Court, central district, cv10-2488. This is the case that challenges California laws that make it illegal for anyone to circulate a ballot access petition for a candidate if that circulator doesn’t live in the candidate’s district.
U.S. District Court Judge Philip Gutierrez already issued a tentative ruling in this case, on November 2. He said plaintiffs lack standing because the Secretary of State alleges she won’t enforce these laws. The judge has invited the plaintiffs to submit a new complaint, which would contain factual allegations that the law is enforced, and that new complaint has now been filed.
The new complaint points out that the Secretary of State’s web page for one of the 2011 special legislative elections says in three places that petitions to place candidates on the ballot in that special election may only be circulated by residents of that district. Furthermore, the complaint points out that another portion of the Secretary of State’s web page, which describes the qualifications to run for state office, says that the California Constitution requires one-year residence in the district for candidates but also says that the Secretary of State will not enforce that residency requirement for candidates. Thus, the Secretary of State’s general policy seems to be to explain which laws she will and won’t enforce, so the obvious question is why her web page doesn’t say she won’t enforce the residency requirements for circulators as well.
It will be interesting to see if the Secretary of State revises her web page in response to this new complaint.