The Florida House of Representatives recently passed a bill stating qualified parties may not place a presidential nominee on the ballot unless they (1) are recognized by the Federal Election Commission as a “national committee”; or (2) submit a petition signed by a number of voters equal to 4% of the last presidential election vote cast.[BAN] The petition of 4% is equal to roughly 335,000 signatures. Not only is this a “bad” bill, it is blatantly unconstitutional!
Article VI, sec. 1. of the Florida Constitution says, “The requirements for a candidate with no party affiliation or for a candidate of a minor party for placement of the candidate’s name on the ballot shall be no greater than the requirements for a candidate of the party having the largest number of registered voters.” The existing law requires an independent presidential candidate in Florida to submit a petition signed by over 100,000 signatures, due July 15. This bill imposes a requirement on new parties that is over 3 times harsher than the requirement for independent Presidential candidates. However, that requirement for independent presidential candidates is unconstitutional under the Florida Constitution, because that Constitution says “The requirements for a candidate with no party affiliation… shall be no greater than the requirements for a candidate of the party having the largest number of registered voters.” Democrats have the most registered voters in Florida, and Democratic presidential nominees don’t need any petition to get on the November ballot, so how can the state require over 100,000 for an independent presidential candidate?[Richard Winger] Therefore, this bill, should it pass the Senate, should be vetoed by you on grounds that it is unconstitutional per the State Constitution.
Richard Winger of Ballot Access News writes, “The bill, if enacted, would violate the 11th circuit decision Bergland v Harris, 767 F.2d 1551 (1985), which suggested that Georgia’s former petition requirement of 2.5% (of the number of registered voters) for presidential candidates was probably unconstitutional. That decision is based on Anderson v Celebrezze, which said that states must have easier ballot access for president than for other office.” Therefore, this bill, should it pass the Senate, should be vetoed by you on grounds that it is unconstitutional per federal court rulings.
Additionally this bill would “not permit political parties to nominate anyone for any partisan office (other than president or presidential elector), if that person had been a registered member of another political party at any time during the year before filing to run for office.
The bill makes no exception for new parties. Therefore, a new party, formed in an election year, would not be permitted to have any nominees who had been members of another party for 18 months before the election. This part of the bill, if signed into law, would almost certainly be held unconstitutional. Similar laws in Oklahoma and Nevada were invalidated, as applied to new parties. The Oklahoma case was Crussel v Oklahoma State Election Board, 497 F Supp 646 (1980); the Nevada case was Long v Swackhamer, 538 P 2d 587 (1975). If a law like this had been in effect in 1854, the Republican Party would have been severely handicapped, because a great deal of Republicans elected that year had been Whigs or Democrats or Free Soilers immediately before the Republican Party was formed.
Courts in New Mexico and Colorado have ruled that it is unconstitutional for a state to tell a party that it can’t nominate a non-member. The Colorado case was Colorado Democratic Party v Meyer (1988); the New Mexico case was Woodruff v Herrera (2011).”[BAN]
Mr. Governor, this bill is unconstitutional. You, as Chief Executive of Florida, have sworn an oath to uphold the constitution, therefore it is your duty to veto this bill should it pass the Senate. If you fail to veto this bill or the Legislature overrides your veto, rest assured that this bill will be challenged in court and struck down as unconstitutional!
In Peace, Freedom, Love & Liberty,
Darryl W. Perry
Chair Boston Tea Party National Committee
Owner/Managing Editor Free Patriot Press
2016 candidate for President of the United States of America