Utah Debate Commission Holds One-Candidate Event for the Republican Nominee for Attorney General; Refuses to Allow Libertarian to be the Other Participant Even Though He was Present

The Utah Debate Commission is composed of news organizations and the state’s public and private universities. It is chaired by the head of the Utah Republican Party and the Utah Democratic Party. Here is information about the Commission, which is obviously modeled on the Presidential Debate Commission.

It scheduled a televised debate for the evening of Wednesday, September 21, at Dixie State University, for the Democratic and Republican candidates for Attorney General, Jon Harper and Sean Reyes. Libertarian nominee W. Andrew McCullough, who was at 5% in the polls, was deemed not to meet the requirement to be invited, but McCullough was in the audience before the event started.

The event organizers were very surprised to hear that the Democratic nominee would not be appearing because he had decided to drop out of the race, for health reasons. But even though McCullough was present, the Commission still refused to allow him on the stage. Instead, they let the Republican nominee consume the entire time for the event. One-person debates sponsored by corporations are illegal campaign contributions, at least for federal office, although this event concerned a state office. See this story.

Maryland Deadline Victory Confirmed

As noted earlier, on August 26, the Maryland State Board of Elections conceded that a 2015 law requiring independent candidates to file a declaration of candidacy in February is unconstitutional. The concession had come after an independent candidate for Baltimore city council, Dan Sparaco, had sued to overturn the requirement. That case was Sparaco v Lamone, 1:16cv-1579.

However, on August 25, two other candidates for Baltimore city council in the same district had sued the State Board of Elections to protest the Board’s concession in the Sparaco lawsuit. That new lawsuit was Schlakman v Maryland State Board of Elections, 1:16cv-2968.

But, on September 20, the Judge who was handling both cases dismissed the Schlakman lawsuit, so that the good precedent established by the Sparaco lawsuit will stand.

Lewis & Clark County, Montana, Will Reprint 56,000 Ballots in Order to Add New Libertarian Nominee for U.S. House

According to this story, just one county in Montana, Lewis & Clark, will reprint 56,000 ballots because the Libertarian Party nominee for U.S. House died last week and the party was permitted to replace him with a new nominee. Lewis & Clark is one of Montana’s more populated counties, and includes the state capitol, Helena. The story does not say how many other counties must reprint ballots.

Helsinki Accords Organzation, OSCE, Plans to Send 500 Foreign Observers to Evaluate U.S. Election

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) plans to send 500 election observers to the United States, to evaluate the November 8 election. These observers would include Canadians as well as Europeans. See the web page of OSCE about its plans for U.S. observations.

In 2012, OSCE only sent 44 observers. OSCE feels there are so many problems with U.S. elections, it needs more observers. Of course the U.S. is a member of OSCE and U.S. observers regularly observe elections in other nations that are part of OSCE. Thanks to Election Administration Reports for the link.

West Virginia Newspaper Story on How Election Officials Coped with Contradictory Ballot Access Rulings

This West Virginia newspaper story describes how county election officials were first ordered to remove various independent candidates from the November ballot (due to a State Supreme Court decision) and then were ordered to keep them on the ballot (due to a federal court decision a few days later). Fortunately for some county election officials, the original printed ballots had listed the candidates, and nothing had been done to block out their names, so the original ballots could be used.