California Ballots, Combined with Large Number of Candidates for Governor and U.S. Senator, Create Many Invalid Votes

California has been using the top-two system starting in 2011. But 2018 is the first year in which both Governor and U.S. Senate are on the ballot. Both offices always attract many candidates into the primary. And because candidates from all parties, as well as independent candidates, all run on the same ballot, the 2018 primary ballot is especially long.

This article from the Los Angeles Times explains that many counties are forced to put either Governor, or U.S. Senate, on the primary ballot so that some candidates for either office are listed in two separate columns. This, in turn, causes many voters to make a choice in each column. So, even though these voters understand that they can only vote for one person for any particular race, they still vote for two candidates for the same office because they choose one candidate from each column.

Of course, if each of California’s six qualified parties had its own primary ballot, there would be no such problem.

David Leip Learns that Washington State had 105,678 Write-Ins for President in November 2016

David Leip has contacted Washington state county election officials to learn the total number of write-ins cast for President in that state in November 2016. The answer is an amazing 105,678 write-in votes.

The failure of Washington state election officials to reveal this information is very unfortunate. It is fortunate that Leip took this action. Thanks to Jim Riley for this information.

North Carolina Tells Constitution Party that its Nominees Can’t Use Petition in Lieu of Filing Fee

In 1972 and again in 1974, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously that states must provide alternatives to candidate filing fees, at least if the candidate has a low income and few savings.  In 1975 a U.S. District Court in North Carolina ruled that the state must create procedures for such candidates, and the state complied, passing a provision that set up a petition in lieu of a filing fee.

On April 13, 2018, the North Carolina State Board of Elections sent a letter to the Constitution Party, which is currently petitioning to get on the ballot for the 2018 election.  The Board’s letter says that Constitution Party nominees cannot circulate the petition in lieu of filing fee, because the party isn’t yet on the ballot and the petition in lieu of the filing fee was due earlier this month.

The State Board has probably forgotten all about the U.S. District Court decision Brown v North Carolina State Board of Elections, 394 F Supp 359 (w.d. 1975) which said the state must have procedures in lieu of the filing fee.  In any event, the State Board’s recent decision conflicts with that precedent.

Working Families Party Endorses Cynthia Nixon for Governor Instead of Andrew Cuomo

On April 14, the New York Working Families Party overwhelmingly endorsed Cynthia Nixon for Governor instead of incumbent Andrew Cuomo.  Cuomo is running for re-election this year.  See this story.  The WFP is now highly likely to nominate Nixon in May.  That would almost certainly mean that she would be on the November ballot as the WFP nominee.

Eleventh Circuit Must Decide by April 26 Whether to Stay U.S. District Order for Uniform Rules for Ex-Felon Voting Restoration

On February 1, a U.S. District Court ruled that Florida must have uniform, non-arbitrary rules on how ex-felons may regain their ability to register to vote.  The decision noted that during the four years when Governor Charlie Crist was Governor, 154,000 ex-felons had their voting rights restored.  But in the first three years of Rick Scott’s governorship, only 3,000 had voting rights restored.

The state appealed to the Eleventh Circuit, and it also asked the District Court to stay its own order.  On April 4, the U.S. District Court Judge refused to stay his own order, which had told the state to write uniform rules by April 26.  Now the state is asking the Eleventh Circuit to stay the order.  If the Eleventh Circuit takes no action by April 26, then the state will be in contempt if it hasn’t drafted any uniform rules.  The case is James Hand v Rick Scott.  In the Eleventh Circuit the case number is 18-11388.