Missouri Federal Court Dismisses Interesting Case on Excluding Candidates from Primaries

On May 31, U.S. District Court Judge Richard Dorr ruled that the lawsuit filed by a white supremacist against the Missouri Secretary of State is procedurally flawed. The candidate, Glenn Miller, wants to run in the Democratic primary for Congress. The party refused his filing fee because it doesn’t agree with the candidate’s views. The judge ruled that the candidate should have sued the Democratic Party as well as the Secretary of State. Since he only sued the Secretary of State, the case was dismissed. Miller v Missouri Secretary of State, western dist., Springfield, 06-5032.

7th Circuit Ballot Access Hearing Goes Well

On June 9, the 7th circuit held its hearing in Lee v Illinois State Board of Elections. This case challenges Illinois law that requires an independent candidate for legislature to submit a petition signed by 10% of the last vote cast, by December of the year before the election.

The hearing went very well. No independent candidate for the state legislature has qualified since 1980. In 1974 and again in 1977, the U.S. Supreme Court said that ballot access laws are likely unconstitutional when the historical record shows that few candidates qualify. Unfortunately, most lower courts ignore those decisions (for example, the 6th circuit). But this panel of the 7th circuit is aware of the 1974 and 1977 precedents, and seems likely to use them. It seems likely the law will be declared void.

Green Out-polls Republican in California Statewide Non-partisan race

On June 6, California held a non-partisan statewide election for Superintendent of Public Instruction. There were 5 candidates: one Republican, one Green, and three Democrats. The incumbent, Jack O’Connell, a former Democratic state legislator, was re-elected with 52.1% of the vote. Placing 2nd was the Green Party member, Sarah Knapp, with 17.3%. Third was the only Republican in the race, Diane Lenning, with 14.3%. Fourth was Daniel Bunting, a Democrat who represented himself as an advocate for teachers, with 8.5%. Fifth was Grant McMicken, another Democrat with 7.8%.