The New Mexico Supreme Court is hearing Cobb & Badnarik v New Mexico Canvassing Board (#29095) on August 29, 2005. The issue is whether the two 2004 presidential candidates needed to submit a deposit of $114,000, or $1,140,000, in order to request a recount of last year’s presidential vote.
On August 25, U.S. District Court Judge Nicholas Garaufis, a Clinton appointee, upheld a New York state ballot access law. Specifically, he upheld the law that requires a candidate for citywide office in New York city to obtain 7,500 signatures. When a candidate is seeking a place on a party primary ballot, he or she needs 7,500 signatures, or 5% of that party’s members, whichever is less. A Republican city councilman, Thomas Ognibene, tried to run for Mayor in the Republican primary, but he only collected 8,116 signatures, and only 5,848 were valid. He argued that the requirement is too difficult, but the judge upheld the law. However, the judge was critical of the law, and seemed to say that if it weren’t for bad ballot access precedents from the U.S. Supreme Court itself, he would have invalidated it. The case is Ulrich v Mane, 05-cv-3911, eastern district (Brooklyn). Thanks to Bill Van Allen for this post.
On August 25, Senate Bill 1015 passed the California Assembly Appropriations Committee. It legalizes write-in votes in which the voter forgets to “X” the box next to the name written in. The vote was 13-4.
During the early morning hours of August 24, the North Carolina House passed H88, the ballot access bill. Unfortunately, it was amended so that it does more harm than good. The bill does lower the number of signatures needed for a statewide independent from 2% of the number of registered voters to 2% of the last gubernatorial vote, but this is required by a court decision last year anyway. The only other improvement it makes is to lower the vote test (for a party to remain on the ballot) from 10% to 7%. But it makes existing law more restrictive by moving the petition deadline two months earlier, and requiring the nominees of parties that nominate by convention to pay filing fees. The bill cannot pass this year anyway, since the Senate has gone home. However, the bill remains alive and could pass next year.
H88, the best ballot access bill in North Carolina, passed out of the House Finance Committee today overwhelmingly. This is the bill that lowers the statewide minor party and independent candidate petitions to one-half of 1% of the last gubernatorial vote (approximately 17,500 signatures). The bill will probably pass if only the legislature stays in session long enough.
A few weeks ago, the Arkansas Attorney General issued an opinion denying that it is legal for parties to circulate a petition during odd years. However, the Secretary of State’s legal advisor says that the Secretary of State does not agree with that opinion, and will not follow it.