Massachusetts Legislative Hearing Goes Well

On September 20, the Massachusetts joint Legislative Committee on Election laws heard testimony on a bill to cut the number of signatures for statewide office from 10,000 to 5,000 signatures. Three witnesses testified for the bill, and no one testified against it. The six legislators who attended the hearing paid good attention and seemed supportive, although no action will be taken for at least a month.

Jore Loses in Court on Attorneys' Fees

On September 19, a lower Montana state court ruled that Rick Jore must pay almost $16,000 of his opponent’s legal fees, even though Jore did not sue anyone. Jore was the Constitution Party state legislator who seemed to have been re-elected last year, until the Montana Supreme Court ruled that six of his ballots were invalid. Jore had hoped that the lower court (which had ruled in his favor in the election contest) would relieve him of the need to pay the fees. Jore will not appeal, but he hopes that the next session of the Montana legislature will provide some relief. There will probably be a special session in December 2005 or January 2006.

Jore Loses in Court on Attorneys’ Fees

On September 19, a lower Montana state court ruled that Rick Jore must pay almost $16,000 of his opponent’s legal fees, even though Jore did not sue anyone. Jore was the Constitution Party state legislator who seemed to have been re-elected last year, until the Montana Supreme Court ruled that six of his ballots were invalid. Jore had hoped that the lower court (which had ruled in his favor in the election contest) would relieve him of the need to pay the fees. Jore will not appeal, but he hopes that the next session of the Montana legislature will provide some relief. There will probably be a special session in December 2005 or January 2006.

Fulani Loses case against Democratic Party

On September 7, U.S. District Court Judge Loretta Preska ruled against Lenora Fulani’s lawsuit against the Democratic National Committee for using public campaign funding to finance its efforts to keep Ralph Nader off the ballot in some states last year. Fulani v McAuliffe, 04-cv-6973.

The decision was not surprising. What is worthy of note, however, is Judge Preska’s lead sentence, and her footnote one. The lead sentence is “This is yet another in a long line of cases in which Plaintiff Lenora Fulani has misused the courts in an attempt to pursue a political agenda which she is not able to accomplish at the ballot box.” A footnote says “A sampling of the at least 35 published cases of this ilk include…” followed by a list of eleven election law cases that Fulani lost.

This is most unfair, because the so-called “sampling” does not reflect that Lenora Fulani won 4 ballot access cases in which she was the lead plaintiff; and the party that nominated her for president, the New Alliance Party, won another 5 cases. Fulani and New Alliance Party cases overturned early petition deadlines in Nevada and Alabama; eliminated the fee that Florida was charging minor parties to have their petitions checked; told Michigan that it could not create and then enforce a new ballot access law in the middle of an election year; told California that it could not impose a 60-day petitioning period for independent presidential candidates; told North Carolina that it had to let new parties run candidates for county office; and told a government-owned shopping center in Maryland that it had to permit petitioning.

Lawsuit Filed Against Georgia Voter ID Law

On September 19, the ACLU filed a lawsuit against a new Georgia law that requires voters at the polls to show either a Georgia drivers license, or a Georgia state ID card. Common Cause v Billups, 4:05-cv-201, northern district, Rome division. The case was assigned to U.S. District Court Judge Harold Murphy, a Clinton appointee.

Constitution Party National Committee Meeting

On September 16-17, the Constitution Party national committee met in Columbus, Ohio. A resolution to expel the Nevada affiliate of the party failed to pass. The Nevada affiliate’s state platform is not quite as absolute in its condemnation of all abortions as the national platform is. Therefore, some members of the national committee wanted to expel the Nevada affiliate.