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


U.S. Supreme Court Accepts a Case on Legal Status of Puerto Rico

On October 1, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear Puerto Rico v Valle, 15-108. Technically the case is about criminal law, but the courts, to resolve this case, must also resolve whether Puerto Rico has any sovereignty or whether Congress has all sovereignty over Puerto Rico.

A resident of Puerto Rico was indicted by the federal government for the illegal sale of firearms. He plead guilty and served a short term. Then he was indicted by Puerto Rico authorities for the gun violation. The Puerto Rico Supreme Court ruled that he could not be prosecuted by Puerto Rico because that would be double jeopardy. The double jeopardy part of the U.S. Constitution prevents the same government from prosecuting someone twice for the same offense, but it does not prevent both the federal government and a state government from prosecuting. Thus the question turns on whether Puerto Rico has a sovereign (even if limited) government of its own. Here is the cert petition. Thanks to HowAppealing for this news.


Time Magazine Lists Number of Delegates to Republican National Convention from Each State and Territory

Time Magazine has this list of all the Republican primaries and caucuses, and the number of delegates each state and territory sends to the national convention.


Indonesia High Court Strikes Down Ballot Access Restriction on Independent Candidate in Regional Elections

Recently, the Constitutional Court, Indonesia’s highest court, struck down a ballot access restriction on independent candidates in regional elections. See this story.


Larry Lessig Criticizes National Democratic Party Officials for Not Recognizing his Campaign for President

Larry Lessig is a well-known professor who is seeking the Democratic Party presidential nomination. He probably won’t be in the first Democratic presidential debate set for October 13 because he is not averaging 1% in the polls. But that is because most polls have not included him. He is at 1% or better in the few polls that have mentioned him.

In this Politico piece, he documents deficiencies in the process of getting him into the polls. He puts a great deal of blame on the national Democratic Party’s refusal to consider him a “real” candidate. Thanks to Rick Hasen for the link.


U.S. Supreme Court Accepts Case on Whether Government Employees Can be Demoted Because of their Election Activity

On October 1, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear Heffernan v City of Paterson, New Jersey, 14-1280. The individual who brought the case had been a police detective who was demoted because he was seen with a campaign sign in his car. The lower court, the Third Circuit, upheld his firing. See this story.


Average House of Commons Race in Canada Has Five Candidates on the Ballot

This article in the National Post says Canada has 338 House of Commons districts, and almost 1,800 candidates are on the ballot. That works out to 5.3 candidates per district. Four parties have a candidate in all or virtually all districts.

By comparison, in the United States in November 2014, approximately half the districts only had two or fewer candidates on the ballot. Even the Democratic Party didn’t have candidates in 36 of the 435 districts; even the Republicans didn’t have candidates in 41 of the districts.

Ballot access in Canada is equal for every candidate. Every candidate submits 100 signatures and pays a filing fee of $1,000 Canadian dollars. For ballot access purposes, there is no such thing as a ballot-qualified party.