Sunday, June 1, 2014

Michigan Loss

1 June 2014

By Richard Winger
Ballot Access News

"On May 14, U.S. District Court Judge Stephen J. Murphy, a Bush, Jr. appointee, upheld Michigan’s ballot access laws for newly-qualifying parties, in a challenge filed by a Socialist Party candidate. Erard v Secretary of State, e.d., 2:12cv-13627.

Michigan requires newly-qualifying parties to submit 32,261 valid signatures this year, yet a party that polled at least 16,083 votes in November 201 automatically remains on the ballot. The lawsuit argues that Michigan is discriminating against new parties relative to old ones. In support of the contention that this is unconstitutional, Erard mentioned the U.S. Supreme Court decision Williams v Rhodes, which struck down Ohio’s laws in 1968 partly because new parties needed a 15% petition, but old parties could stay on with a 10% vote. Erard also cited Baird v Davorem, a 1972 Massachusetts case that said it was unconstitutional for Massachusetts to require a 3% petition to get on, when the vote test to remain on was only one-tenth of 1%.

The judge said because every party in Michigan had to petition to get on originally, there is no Equal Protection violation. The statement that every party in Michigan had to petition to get on the ballot is factually wrong. No party in Michigan was required to petition until the law was changed in 1939, so the Democratic and Republican Parties never needed a petition. Erard had included this information in his brief, but the Judge apparently overlooked it. Erard will ask for reconsideration."

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