Free and Equal Elections Foundation
Christina Tobin, Founder & President
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Republican Drops Lawsuits to Remove Libertarian Ed Martin and Independent Michael Hansen from Ballot.
LOUISVILLE, K.Y. – Libertarian Party candidate Ed Martin and Independent candidate Michael Hansen filed to run for office in Kentucky’s third congressional district, against incumbent Democratic nominee John Yarmuth and Republican nominee Todd Lally, respectively. Cordell Lawrence, as vice chairman of the Jefferson County Republican Party, and David Caldwell filed a lawsuit, August 20, 2010 to remove Martin and Hansen from the ballot.
Caldwell removed himself as a plaintiff, August 25, one day before CBS affiliate WLKY in Louisville reported news of Caldwell’s recent arrest. Lawrence dropped the lawsuits against Martin and Hansen, August 27, insuring that both candidates will be on the November ballot. The defendant’s court hearings were scheduled for Monday, August 30, but have been canceled in light of these events.
Immediately after being notified about the lawsuits, a public campaign from several fronts pushed this issue into the media. Libertarian candidate Martin issued a statement as did the Libertarian Party of Kentucky. Martin’s campaign then asked Lally’s campaign to publicly call for his Republican associates to drop the lawsuit. The Free and Equal Elections Foundation added to the efforts with a media release and brought this to the attention of ballot access activists nationwide.
Journalist Sheldon S. Shafer for the courier-journal in Louisville reported on the lawsuit along with WHAS-ABC Channel 11. Louisville’s NPR news station, WFLP 89.3, ran a story and Louisville News and Politics, the Kentucky Freedom Digest, and Page One Kentucky continued their coverage.
The Libertarian Party of Kentucky has used these events as a call to action to get involved and help protect democracy in their state. This statement is from their website: “One supporter who had remained Republican to date tonight committed on Facebook to switch his registration to Libertarian to show his disgust. He’ll be following this action by sending a photocopied version of his voter card (with SSN redacted) to his local GOP chair, the Jefferson County (Louisville) GOP chair, and the GOP state chairman, along with a letter explaining his disgust with these dirty political antics as the reason for his switch.”
“This is the type of quick action and media attention that should be given to an issue as important as democratic elections,” said Christina Tobin, Chair and founder of Free and Equal Elections Foundation. “Republicans are running scared in this election cycle as evidenced by their attacks on equal access to the ballots by alternative candidates here in Kentucky, and in Illinois, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and New York. Democrats use the same tactics as well. Free and Equal’s radio show is one avenue we are using to stop this bad political behavior, and we are glad to have Independent candidate Michael Hansen join us this week.”
In addition to Hansen, Ken Moellman, Libertarian Party of Kentucky Chair, will be a guest on the next Free and Equal radio show on Tuesday, August 31 from 10-11pm ET to talk about the lawsuit situation and Kentucky elections. Christi Gillespie, State Coordinator of Free & Equal Kentucky will join the show as well to talk about upcoming events. Ed Martin has also been invited to join us on the show, should his busy campaign schedules permit it. The Free and Equal radio show can be listened to live at BlogTalkRadio or at the Free and Equal website where it is also available for
“The voters deserve to have as many choices as we can get on Election Day,” said Christi Gillespie. “It’s funny how the Republicans are all in favor of free market solutions until you start talking about the ballot box. I encourage voters to analyze all candidates including write-ins, regardless of their party affiliation, and vote for the one that truly reflects your values and beliefs. It is time we began voting for the best candidate, and not just voting for the lesser of two evils.”
Gillespie is helping to organize the Free and Equal Candidate Forum Saturday, September 25th from 2 – 6 p.m. at the Kentucky State Capitol steps. All candidates are invited to share their message with voters at this event. More details will be released about this all-inclusive event as it develops.
“I’m glad Martin and Hansen are now assured of their rightful place on the ballot,” Tobin said. “These tactics are not only designed to remove legitimate competition from the ballots, they are also designed to drain the resources of their competition, create uncertainty and confusion in the voting public as to who will be on the ballot, and distract both their competitors’ campaigns and the media from the important issues confronting the electorate. When people like Lawrence use these tactics it should be exposed and remembered.”
“Free and Equal is here to make sure more voters are educated about their election system and who is trying to game it for their own advantage,” Tobin said. “Another typical practice that only serves to hurt the voters is when they keep candidates off the stage of debates, forums and public speaking engagements. Recent rallies in Kentucky have been manipulated to exclude candidates in an attempt to keep their messages from being heard by voters. With our first Free and Equal Candidate Forum in Kentucky coming up in September we intend to start restoring the principles of fair elections that every voter deserves.”
Free & Equal is a nonpartisan, nonprofit, public-policy advocacy organization dedicated to protecting the rights of the politically marginalized and disenfranchised, particularly those of third party and Independent candidates.