North Carolina Governor Vetoes Ballot Access Bill Because of an Unrelated Provision in the Bill

On October 9, Governor Roy Cooper of North Carolina vetoed SB 656, the bill that greatly improves ballot access. However, his veto message says he vetoed it because of an unrelated provision affecting judicial primaries. There is some possibility that the legislature’s conference committee could meet again, delete the judicial part of the bill, and send it through the legislature again.

New Study Says Future Presidential Elections Are More Likely to Result in a Split Between Popular Vote Winner and Electoral College Winner

Data scientists Vinad Bakthavachalam and Jake Fuentes have published this study of the electoral college. They estimate that in future U.S. presidential elections in which the popular vote margin between the two leading candidates will be 3% or less, there will be a 30% chance that the electoral college winner will be a different individual than the national popular vote winner. Thanks to Justin Levitt for the link.

Seventh Circuit Rejects Illinois Green Party Challenge to State House Petition Requirement

On October 6, the Seventh Circuit agreed with the U.S. District Court, that Illinois does not violate the U.S. Constitution by requiring the state house nominees of unqualified parties to submit a petition of 5% of the last vote cast, to get on the general election ballot. Tripp v Scholz, 16-3469. Here is the 27-page opinion. The case had been filed by the Green Party in 2014.

The two plaintiff-candidates each needed approximately 2,400 valid signatures. The court felt that it is not that difficult to collect that number of signatures in the 90-day window the law requires. The party also complained about the need to notarize the signatures, but the court said a circulator is free to make a single trip to a notary public and have all his or her sheets notarized at the same time. The party also complained that some state house districts lack any population centers (or else that if there were any population centers, the district boundaries bisected such towns), but the court noted that Harrisburg, Illinois, is entirely within one of the districts, and it has a population of 9,000.

The decision is by Judge Joel Flaum, a Reagan appointee. It was also signed by Judges Diana Sykes, a Bush Jr. appointee, and William Bauer, a Ford appointee.

New York City Board of Elections Posts Candidate List for November 7, 2017 Election

The New York City Board of Elections has posted the candidate list for the city election of November 7. See it here. There are seven candidates for Mayor, a smaller number than usual.

The independent in the mayoral race, Bo Dietl, has the ballot slogan “Dump the Mayor.” Long ago, when Lenora Fulani was the New Alliance Party candidate for Mayor, she was not permitted to have the ballot logo, “Dump Koch.” That was a reference to the incumbent at the time, Ed Koch.

Also this year, the Republican nominee has a separate ballot line with the label, “Stop DeBlasio.”

Oklahoma Libertarian Party Votes to Limit Primary Voters Only to Registered Libertarians

On October 7, the Oklahoma Libertarian Party held a state convention and voted that in 2018, only registered Libertarians will be able to vote in the Libertarian primary. It is likely that three individuals will seek the party’s gubernatorial nomination in 2018, and the majority of the convention delegates are eager that the voters in the Libertarian primary be well-informed about their choices.

Generally, newspapers don’t do a very good job of covering contested minor party primaries. Most of the delegates believed that the candidates for the gubernatorial nomination would be able to communicate meaningfully with the registered Libertarians during the primary season, because there are only about 5,000 of them. But it would be prohibitively expensive to communicate with the 300,000 independents. The primary will be June 26, 2018.

Also, in case any Libertarian candidate wishes to sue to overturn the new law on petitions in lieu of the filing fee, having a closed primary will make it easier to win that case. This year, the legislature changed the petition in lieu of filing law, so that the number of signatures is based on all the registered voters, instead of the number of eligible primary voters.