On April 28, a U.S. District Court in North Carolina declined to provide any relief to Mark Brody, an independent candidate for the legislature in both 2008 and 2010. North Carolina has the nation’s 3rd highest petition requirement for independent candidates for the legislature, 4% of the number of registered voters. Only Georgia and South Carolina, which require 5% of the number of registered voters, are harder. Generally, 4% of the number of registered voters is more onerous than Illinois’ requirement of 5% of the last vote cast.
Brody had successfully met the 4% petition test in 2008, and he had appeared on the ballot in November 2008 and polled 30% of the vote in a two-person race. He wanted to run for the same seat in 2010, and he had sued to win an exemption from re-petitioning in 2010. He argued that independent candidates are discriminated against, relative to political parties. In virtually every state, a party that polled a certain share of the vote in the previous election is then automatically on the ballot in the next election. But neither North Carolina, or any state, gives an independent candidate credit for a high share of the vote in a past election, so as to exempt him or her from petitioning again in the next election. The only exception is that Georgia lets an independent candidate who was elected avoid the petition when that independent comes up for re-election.
The judge said that he was sympathetic, and thought the case has logic on its side, but that he would still not rule in Brody’s favor because there are no favorable precedents for this type of case. He encouraged Brody to appeal. The case is Brody v North Carolina State Board of Elections, western district, 3:10-cv-383. Thanks to Jordon Greene for this news.