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


North Carolina Legislature Mulling over Moving Non-Presidential Primary from May to March

According to this story, the North Carolina legislature is considering moving the May primary for non-presidential office to March. However, the story does not mention that it is possible the state’s legislative districts will be invalidated by the State Supreme Court soon, and it would take time to draw new districts.

Because the legislature is re-thinking so much about election law, possibly there will be room for ballot access activists to remind the legislature that North Carolina requires support from more people than any other state, for a statewide independent or minor party to get on the ballot (when the easier method in each state is compared).


Ohio Libertarian Party Wins Procedural Victory

On September 2, a U.S. District Court granted the Ohio Libertarian Party’s request for a new deposition of Gregory Felsoci, the individual who challenged the Libertarian primary gubernatorial petition last year. Felsoci had been deposed some time ago, but since then new facts came out about who paid the $592,000 in attorneys fees for the challenger.

The new deposition will be held on or before September 17. Here is the brief the Ohio Libertarian Party had filed recently, explaining why the deposition is needed.


Ninth Circuit Remands Case Back to U.S. District Court on Whether Montana Contribution Limits are Too Low

On September 1, the Ninth Circuit issued an amended decision in Lair v Bullock, 12-35809. The issue is whether Montana’s campaign contribution limits are too low. They are $500 to joint tickets running for Governor and Lieutenant Governor; $250 for other statewide state offices; and $130 for legislature and all other state offices. The Ninth Circuit wants the U.S. District Court to determine if there is adequate evidence that these relatively low limits are needed for an important state interest, and whether the evidence shows that these limits are too low to enable a typical candidate to amass sufficient resources to wage an effective campaign. Thanks to Mike Fellows for the news.


CNN Changes Rules for September 16 Republican Debate

On September 1, CNN, which is sponsoring the September 16 Republican presidential debate, changed the rules on who should be permitted into the debate. The old rules said the top ten would be invited, based on an average of all polls from certain polling companies taken between July 16 and September 10. The new rules change the time period for looking at debates, to August 6 through September 10.

This shows that if enough criticism is aimed at debate sponsors, sometimes they do change their rules. Thanks to PoliticalWire for the link.


North Carolina Supreme Court Holds Oral Argument on Redistricting

On August 31, the North Carolina Supreme Court re-heard the case in which African-American groups challenge the U.S. House and legislative district boundaries. See this story.


Three Individuals Now Claim to be Legitimate State Chair of the Women’s Equality Party

Mary Jo Tamberlin has filed paperwork, listing herself as the State Chair of the Women’s Equality Party. She is the clerk to the Niagara County Legislature, and in the recent past has been a leader of the local Republican Party. It is not known if she has changed her registration to list herself as a member of the Women’s Equality Party. There are now three individuals, each seeking to be recognized as the state chair.

New York election law says when a group gets 50,000 votes for Governor, thereby becoming a fully-qualified party, the party’s statewide nominees should decide who the state officers are. The problem in this case is that the party had four nominees for statewide office in 2014, and only two of them have recognized anyone as state chair. Because two is less than a majority of four, there are no party officers who meet the legal standard. New York state could avoid this problem if it required unqualified parties filing general election petitions for Governor to identify their state officers before the election is held. The law could potentially require such groups to list their chair on the petition, an idea is use in some other states. Thanks to Michael Drucker for this news.