The outgoing Ohio Attorney General has asked the U.S. Supreme Court for an extension of 60 days, to file any request that the U.S. Supreme Court review Libertarian Party of Ohio v Blackwell. In that case, on September 6, 2006, the 6th circuit had invalidated Ohio’s procedures for new and minor parties to get on the ballot. Normally, the losing side has 3 months to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to review a decision. In this instance, Ohio’s request (which is certain to be granted) will give the state another 2 months to decide whether to ask for U.S. Supreme Court review. By then the new incoming Democratic Attorney General and the new incoming Democratic Secretary of State will make the decision. The outgoing Ohio Secretary of State, and the outgoing Ohio Attorney General, are Republicans.
Maine has released approximate registration data for June 2006. It isn’t exact because a few tiny towns still haven’t reported the data. The state’s estimates for June 2006 are: Democratic 302,000; Republican 275,000; Green 26,000; independent and others 364,000. The Green percentage is 2.69%.
This contrasts with the November 2004 figures, when Maine Greens had 2.36%. The new Green figure for Maine is the highest percentage any state Green Party has ever had, of any state’s registration.
Currently, the highest registration for the Constitution Party in any state is Nevada, where it has 3.48% of that state’s registration. Best Libertarian registration is Alaska, with 1.88%. Complete registration data for all states, for all parties, will be in the January 2007 paper edition of Ballot Access News.
On November 27, 2006, the Oregon Democratic Party intervened in a pending federal lawsuit, for the purpose of supporting the law passed in 2005 in Oregon that makes it illegal for primary voters to sign an independent candidate’s petition. The case is Wasson v Bradbury, 06-cv-6205.
The brief uses the term “one man, one vote” and claims that the law making it illegal for primary voters to sign for an independent petition is required to defend the principle of “one man, one vote”. It says, “It is hard to imagine a rule more closely tailored to the ‘one person, one vote’ purpose than the one-nomination rule embodied in ORS 254.069.”
“One man, one vote” was coined in South Africa in 1960. It means that each voter should be treated equally. “One man, one vote” is not violated when a state lets all voters make multiple nominations. The law in 48 states (all but Texas and Oregon), lets all voters make multiple nominations. Therefore, all voters are being treated equally by those 48 states. It is logically absurd that any attorney should claim that the policy of 48 states violates “one man, one vote”, since “one man, one vote” has been the law of the land in the U.S. since 1964, when the Supreme Court required equal populations in legislative and congressional districts.
The Utah legislature’s Districting Committee settled on boundaries for a 4th seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, on November 29. The Utah Districting Committee is composed of 5 State Senators and 7 Representatives. It exists solely for the task of dividing up the state from 3 U.S. House districts, to 4 districts.
The Utah legislature is in special session, and is expected to pass the new plan early in December. This work anticipates that Congress will pass HR 5388, also in December. HR 5388 would temporarily expand the size of the U.S. House from 435 seats to 437, with the two extra voting seats going to the District of Columbia and Utah. Utah was chosen because the expectation is that the new member from D.C. would be a Democrat, and the new member from Utah would be a Republican, so neither major party would be disadvantaged. The other basis for choosing Utah is that it came closest to “deserving” another seat, when the 2000 census results were translated into seats for each state.
The new Utah congressional district is centered on southwest Utah.
The post made earlier on November 30 discusses U.S. Supreme Court involvement with ballot access cases, or with cases that have ballot access implications. But there are several other interesting election law cases pending before the U.S. Supreme Court.
The Initiative & Referendum Institute is hoping to persuade the U.S. Supreme Court to hear its case against a Utah law that says ordinary initiatives only need 50% to pass, except that if the initiative deals with hunting, it needs 66.67% to pass. The case is Initiative & Referendum Institute v Herbert, no. 06-534. The state’s response was due November 20 but does not seem to have been received yet.
Congressman Robert Wexler, a Florida Democrat, is hoping to persuade the U.S. Supreme Court to hear his case that alleges the U.S. Constitution is offended when some counties in Florida use touch-screen vote-counting machines with no paper trail, whereas other counties do have a paper trail. The case is Wexler v Anderson, no. 06-401. Florida elections officials had received permission from the Court to file a late response, due November 20, but then they decided not to file any response.
During August and September 2006, five ballot-access-related cases were decided by US Courts of Appeals, and one was decided by a State Supreme Court. Since the losing side is permitted to ask for U.S. Supreme Court review, three months after the lower court decision, now is the time when the three months is running out. And, most of these cases are being appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.
The state of Washington asked for U.S. Supreme Court review in State of Washington v Washington State Republican Party, on November 20, and it is now docketed as 06-730. The Washington Grange filed its own cert petition, no. 06-713.
The state of New York asked for U.S. Supreme Court review on November 29, in New York State Board of Elections v Lopez Torres. It doesn’t have a docket number yet.
As already noted, on November 20, Ralph Nader asked for U.S. Supreme Court review in Nader v Seroty, no. 06-696.
No one knows yet if the state of Ohio will ask for U.S. Supreme Court review in Libertarian Party of Ohio v Blackwell. The state’s petition would be due on December 6.
The state of Illinois says it will appeal Lee v State Board of Elections to the U.S. Supreme Court, if the 7th circuit won’t give it a rehearing, but that state request for a rehearing is still pending.
The Green, Libertarian and Constitution Parties of Pennsylvania say they will appeal Rogers v Corbett to the U.S. Supreme Court if the 3rd circuit won’t give them a rehearing, but that rehearing request is still pending.
The U.S. Supreme Court hasn’t had an election law case (other than on redistricting or campaign finance) since 2005, when it ruled that Oklahoma did not violate the U.S. Constitution by refusing to let the Libertarian Party invite all registered voters to vote in its primary, in Clingman v Beaver.