The Ohio Libertarian Party is circulating its 2018 petition for ballot status, and has approximately 5,000 signatures. The state requires 54,965, the third highest of any state for a mandatory party petition in 2018. It is still possible that the Ohio Supreme Court will put the party on the 2018 ballot. The party asked for reconsideration in that court on January 24, and the court still hasn’t responded.
The Utah Green Party has just started its petition. The state requires 2,000.
The Hawaii Constitution Party has just started its petition. The requirement is 750 signatures.
Indiana State Senator Greg Walker has withdrawn SB 418, his bill to lower the number of signatures for independent candidates and the nominees of unqualified parties. He hopes to reintroduce it early in 2018, but for now, he didn’t feel the bill solves all the problems he wants to solve. The bill had already passed the Senate Election Committee.
Nevada Assemblyman Ira Hansen (R-Sparks) has introduced AB 226, which would move the petition deadline for a newly-qualifying party from June to May. Even the existing deadline is constitutionally shaky. In 1992, in Fulani v Lau, a U.S. District Court Judge enjoined the June deadline that existed back then. Afterwards the legislature moved the deadline to July, but years later, they moved it to April.
When the Green Party filed a lawsuit in 2015 against the April deadline, the legislature moved the deadline back to June and the case was dropped.
On February 24, the 7th circuit heard oral argument in Libertarian Party of Illinois v Scholz, 16-1667. The issue is the unique Illinois law that requires newly-qualifying parties, but not old parties, to run a full slate of candidates. The U.S. District Court had struck it down last year and the state had appealed.
The hearing went well for the Libertarian Party. The judges are Frank H. Easterbrook, Michael S. Kanne, and Diane S. Sykes. UPDATE: anyone can listen to the 30-minute oral argument using this link, which is provided by the Seventh Circuit. It gets interesting approximately 13 minutes into the argument.
On February 23, the North Carolina Green and Constitution Parties filed a lawsuit against many aspects of North Carolina’s ballot access laws. North Carolina requires more signatures than any other state for an independent presidential candidate, or the presidential nominee of an unqualified party, to get on the ballot (when the easiest method in each state is compared). Leifert v North Carolina State Board of Elections, m.d., 1:17cv-147. The case is assigned to U.S. District Court Judge William Osteen, a Bush Jr. appointee.
There are now constitutional ballot access cases filed by minor parties or independent candidates in 17 states: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Georgia, Illinois, Maine, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Washington.
On February 22, the Utah House Government Operations Committee passed HB 349 by a vote of 8-1. It provides that Utah would use Instant Runoff Voting for all primaries. Thanks to Steve Chessin for this news.