It’s been 45 years since Richard Nixon declared a “war on drugs.” The Drug Policy Alliance reports, “He dramatically increased the size and presence of federal drug control agencies, and pushed through measures such as mandatory sentencing and no-knock warrants. Nixon temporarily placed marijuana in [Schedule I], the most restrictive category of drugs, pending review by a commission he appointed led by Republican Pennsylvania Governor Raymond Shafer.” Continue reading
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On June 22, the Nevada Secretary of State told the Green Party that its party petition only had 4,784 valid signatures. It needed 5,431.
The Nevada deadline for that petition was June 2. But back in 1992, a U.S. District Court enjoined the Nevada deadline for minor parties and independent candidates, which that year was June 10. That case was Fulani v Lau. The legislature afterwards moved the deadline to July, but over the years forgot why it had done that, and moved the deadline back to April, and then last year moved it to June 2.
Nevada is in the Ninth Circult, and in 2008 the Ninth Circuit struck down Arizona’s June 10 petition deadline for independent candidates, in Nader v Brewer, which makes the 1992 Nevada Fulani precedent even stronger now than it was back in 1992.
George Will has told an audience that he recently changed his Maryland voter registration from “Republican” to “independent.” See this story.
Eric Fink, who hoped to be the first independent candidate for North Carolina State Senate in the history of government-printed ballots, failed to have enough valid signatures. He needed 5,255 and only had 4,269 valid. North Carolina has never had an independent candidate for any statewide office on the ballot, except for Ross Perot in 1992. It has never had an independent on for U.S. House. The requirement is 4% of the number of registered voters. Thanks to Kevin Hayes for this news.
On June 22, the Arizona Green Party sued the Secretary of State in federal court over the Secretary’s refusal to put the Green Party presidential nominee on the November ballot. The lawsuit is necessary because the party did not submit the names of its presidential elector candidates by the June 1 deadline. Arizona Green Party v Reagan, 2:16cv-2027.
This case is very likely to win. The Libertarian Party of Arizona won an almost identical lawsuit in 1996 in state court. The new lawsuit has evidence that whenever the Republican or Democratic Parties missed a similar deadline, the states always overlooked the error. Such instances occurred in the past in Iowa, Indiana, Texas, and Florida, and perhaps other states.
On June 24, a New York state trial court in Nassau County said that Philip Pidot has enough valid signatures to be on the Republican primary ballot, but he still can’t be on that ballot because it is “impossible” to add him at such a late date. Pidot v Macedo, 3448/2016. Here is the decision.
The primary is June 28. The candidate, Philip Pidot, asked that the primary for that district be postponed. The June 28 primary is only for U.S. Congress anyway, so no other offices are on the ballot except U.S. Senate. Pidot also pointed out that the June 28 primary date for congress isn’t in the election law anyway; that date stems from a 2012 lawsuit in which the state was told by a federal judge to hold its congressional primaries that date.
On June 24, Carroll Correll, a Virginia delegate to the Republican national convention, filed a lawsuit to overturn a Virginia law that requires delegates to presidential conventions to vote for the candidate who received the most votes in the Virginia presidential primary. Correll v Herring, e.d., 3:16cv-467. The law says, “Delegates shall be bound to vote on the first ballot at the national convention for the candidate receiving the most votes in the primary unless that candidate releases those delegates and alternates from such vote.”
Correll says he does not wish to vote for Donald Trump, who received the most votes in the Virginia Republican primary. Correll says he is afraid Trump will sue him if he doesn’t vote for Trump.
Generally, laws such as this law are ignored. Delegates in reality obey national party rules, not state laws that attempt to tell them how to behave at the national convention. The Correll Complaint acknowledges this indirectly, when it points out that party rules don’t permit winner-take-all results anyway, for states that have presidential primaries as early as March 1, which Virginia does. So already the law isn’t being obeyed. The U.S. Supreme Court, ever since 1972, has issued several rulings that state laws cannot control the actions of national presidential conventions.
Many of the arguments that Correll makes would logically apply equally to certain state laws that try to tell presidential electors whom they must vote for.
On June 24, the three Pennsylvania parties who are suing over Pennsylvania ballot access sent this letter to the judge, pointing out constitutional problems with the new ballot access bill that passed the Senate on Friday, June 24. The letter has already been seen by attorneys for the state, and probably the bill will be amended in a favorable manner.
CNN has learned the names of the members of the national Republican Rules Committee for the upcoming convention. CNN reports that these members are overwhelmingly not people who want to change the rules to make it more difficult for Donald Trump to become the party’s presidential nominee.
Francis Scarpaleggia is head of the Canadian government’s national commission to study alternative voting systems. He is also chair of the national Liberal Party caucus. According to his web page, he seems favorable to proportional representation. He writes that the goal of the commission is to create a system “so that the distribution of seats in the House of Commons better reflects each party’s share of the popular vote.”
On June 24, the Libertarian National Committee and the Kentucky Libertarian Party filed this amicus brief, in the pending Sixth Circuit Ohio Libertarian ballot access case. The amicus devotes the first section to clearly explaining that officials of Ohio state government actively and closely coordinated with the Republican Party of Ohio and the John Kasich re-election campaign, to keep the Ohio Libertarian candidate for Governor off the primary ballot. The next section focuses on a constitutional infirmity of the 2013 ballot access law. It requires new parties to meet the vote test at the first opportunity. But old parties have two elections to meet the vote test. The Sixth Circuit already ruled that is unconstitutional, in the Tennessee Green Party case.
The Pennsylvania House cannot vote on the ballot access bill, HB 342, until late Monday morning, June 27. The House is not sitting on Friday, June 24, nor is it sitting on the weekend.
This Boston Globe article about the Libertarian presidential campaign points out that even though the Libertarian Party is now on the ballot in 33 states, it is not on the ballot in any of the New England states yet except Vermont. This is the first time the Boston Globe has reported that New England has stricter ballot access laws than the remainder of the country.
The Libertarian Party is very close to being on in Maine.
On the evening of June 23, the Pennsylvania Senate amended SB 495 and passed it unanimously. It improves ballot access for independent candidates and the nominees of unqualified parties. Existing law requires signatures equal to 2% of the winning candidate’s vote, which, for statewide office this year, is 21,775 valid signatures. The bill sets a ceiling for all office of 5,000 signatures.
The bill was crafted in a hurry, because the state had promised U.S. District Court Judge Lawrence Stengel that if he held off on ruling whether the Constitution, Green, and Libertarian Parties should be put on the ballot automatically, that it was very likely the legislature would ease the ballot access laws in some way. The original contents of SB 495, which were even better, have been deleted from the bill.
The bill is very likely to pass the House soon, and the Governor has indicated he will sign it as soon as it reaches him. If passed, it goes into effect immediately.
The bill is faulty because it requires a county distribution requirement for minor party and independent candidates for statewide state office. It requires signatures of at least 250 signatures from each of ten counties. All county distribution requirements for general election candidate petitions have long ago been declared unconstitutional. Those rulings were based on a 1969 U.S. Supreme Court case, Moore v Ogilvie. There is no county distribution requirement currently in Pennsylvania law for general election petitions, but there is a county distribution requirement for primary candidates running for state office.
The bill requires 2,500 signatures for general election candidate petitions for U.S. House; 1,250 for State Senate; and 750 for State Representative.