On October 4, Alabama filed this brief in U.S. District Court in De La Fuente v Merrill, m.d., 2:16cv-755. The state says that Alabama’s petition requirement for independent presidential candidates is an “extremely low bar”, and says Alabama provides “easy access” to the presidential ballot.
Actually, in November 2016, only four states have fewer presidential candidates on their ballots than Alabama does. Only 18 states have higher requirements to get on the ballot for president, than the 5,000 signatures required by Alabama (using the easier method in each state): Arizona, California, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Texas, and West Virginia.
Alabama’s brief says that if Rocky De La Fuente were allowed to be on the ballot as an independent, even though he also ran in Alabama’s Democratic presidential primary this year, this would cause “factionalism, intra-party feuding, and voter confusion.” It also says that would allow “party splintering.” Yet the state provides no evidence of these assertions. John B. Anderson ran in twenty Republican presidential primaries in 1980, but there is no evidence that allowing Anderson to run in all 51 jurisdictions in November caused voter confusion, intra-party feuding, factionalism, or party-splintering. Nor did allowing Lyndon LaRouche to run as an independent in 1984, 1988, and 1992, even though he had run in Democratic presidential primaries in those years, cause any of those problems.
Alabama says that the U.S. Supreme Court decision U.S. Term Limits v Thornton, in 1995, which struck down state ballot access laws for congressional incumbents who wanted to run for a fourth term, does not apply. The Arkansas law struck down in that case permitted congressional incumbents to run for a fourth term, but only as write-in candidates. Therefore the Arkansas law was explicitly a ballot access law. The brief does not mention decisions of the Ninth and Tenth Circuit in 2000, which said that states cannot require congressional candidates to be registered voters. A law requiring a congressional candidate to be a registered voter is a ballot access restriction, yet the California and Colorado laws were still struck down, and the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the appeals of either California or Colorado in those cases.
Posted on October 5, 2016 by Richard Winger