The Arkansas Secretary of State, like the Alabama Secretary of State this year, checked Rocky De La Fuente’s petition and determined that he had enough valid signatures. Then, he noticed that De La Fuente had run in the Democratic presidential primary this year and wrote him a letter saying he could not be on the Arkansas ballot. He sent the letter on August 9, but the letter was never delivered, so this news was not discovered until this past week.
The Arkansas Secretary of State is aware that Arkansas let Lyndon LaRouche on the November 1992 ballot as an independent, even though LaRouche had run in the Arkansas Democratic Party presidential primary in 1992. The law has not changed since 1992 in any material sense. The Arkansas Secretary of State, in a new letter, now says that even if De La Fuente had not run in the presidential primary, he still couldn’t be on the ballot, because both he and his vice-presidential candidate live in Florida. The Arkansas Secretary of State’s letter says the 12th amendment does not permit people to be president and vice-president if they live in the same state. This is not true. The 12th amendment only says that presidential electors from a particular state can’t vote for individuals for both offices who currently live in the same state as the elector does.
The Connecticut Secretary of State had come to the same conclusion about the 12th amendment in July, but then when it was pointed out that the 12th amendment does not bar a president and vice-president from living in the same state, Connecticut had the good grace to withdraw its objection. Another flaw in the argument is that if De La Fuente carried a state in November, he or his running mate would be free to move to another state before the electors vote in mid-December. The 12th amendment does not relate to the past residence of any presidential or vice-presidential candidate, just the residence as of the mid-December electoral college meeting.
Arkansas has already printed its November 2016 ballots, so there are practical problems with any potential lawsuit.
Author: Richard Winger
Publisher: Ballot Access News
Date: September 3, 2016