On April 26, a U.S. District Court in Rhode Island invalidated a law that made it illegal for corporations to donate to campaigns that support or oppose ballot initiatives. The ACLU had filed the case on its own behalf. It wishes to contribute to the committee that is supporting a ballot measure to restore voting rights to ex-felons as soon as they are released. ACLU of Rhode Island v Begin, 04-487.
On April 28, the 3rd circuit (which covers Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware) struck down a municipal ordinance in Mt. Lebanon, Pennsylvania. The ordinance required people who go door-to-door for a political purpose to first check in with the police and identify themselves. Service Employees International Union v Municipality of Mt. Vernon, 04-4646. The lower court had upheld the ordinance.
On April 28, the Vermont Senate virtually passed SB 48, by voting to advance it to third reading. It asks the Secretary of State to explain how she would implement Instant-Runoff Voting, were it to be implemented. It is not clear that there is enough time left in the session for the bill to pass the House.
On April 29, Rasmussen Polls released a Pennsylvania gubernatorial poll, showing incumbent Democratic Governor Ed Rendell at 40%, Lynn Swann (Republican nominee, former football star) at 36%, independent Russ Diamond at 16%.
On April 29, the New York Libertarian Party nominated William Weld for Governor. Weld is a registered Republican. He had sought the Libertarian nomination. If he gets the Republican nomination as well, this will be the first time the Republican and Libertarian Parties have jointly run a nominee for any statewide office in any state. However, the fight for the Republican nomination is tough to predict, and may not be settled until the September primary.
Weld promises that he will not withdraw as the Libertarian nominee, even if he fails to get the Republican nomination.
On April 27, Alabama’s HB 51 was signed into law, moving Alabama’s presidential primary from the first week in June, to the first week in February.
On April 28, New Hampshire’s HB 1125 was signed into law. Although New Hampshire already has had the nation’s earliest presidential primary of any state, the new law gives the Secretary of State power to set any date for the presidential primary, and also power to set any qualifying period for candidates in that primary. New Hampshire feels it needs to give its Secretary of State this authority, to defend its “first” primary status.