Barr Highlights Ballot Access Hypocrisy
As my good friend Brutus14 pointed out in Thursday's open thread, the Barr campaign has filed suit [PDF] in Texas to have the court compel the Secretary of State to remove John McCain and Barack Obama from the ballot.
The statute in question which states in part:
A political party is entitled to have the names of its nominees for
president and vice-president of the United States placed on the ballot in a
presidential general election if:
(1) the nominees possess the qualifications for those offices
prescribed by federal law;
(2) before 5 p.m. of the 70th day before presidential election
day, the party's state chair signs and delivers to the secretary of state a written
(A) the names of the party's nominees for president and
(B) the names and residence addresses of presidential
elector candidates nominated by the party, in a number equal to the number of
presidential electors that federal law allocates to this state
For reference, the 70th day was August 26th.
The Democrats filed a document that may or may not have been timely, but the Democrats had not nominated Obama/Biden until the 27th. In any case, the certification was made with regard to events that had not occurred yet; the certification document has the state chair using the past tense in regards to events that had not yet happened. However, most everyone knew that Obama/Biden was the ticket as early as the 24th, but had not been formally nominated until the 27th.
The Republicans filed a timely document but only said that "John McCain and his running mate" were their nominees. On the 26th, no one (and possibly not even John McCain himself) knew who his running mate would be. The statute clearly states that "the names" of the nominees must be present in the filing. An amended filing was sent on the 29th which did contain Palin's name, but this certification was after the deadline and simply says the nominations were scheduled rather than actual. In fact, McCain/Palin was not officially nominated until Sept 4.
Of course, I think we all know that McCain and Obama will be on the Texas ballot come November 4 regardless of any laws with which the parties have not complied. The lawsuit, I believe, is trying to highlight the inequities of the law when dealing with ballot access for Republicans and Democrats as compared with minor party and independent candidates. Barr and others are in court to get back on the ballot in Louisiana because the elections offices were closed due to Hurricane Ike on the filing deadline. They attempted to file immediately afterward when offices were opened but were rebuffed (this case is now in court). An independent running for Senate in Maine was thrown off the ballot when local officials did not return her petition sheets to her in a timely fashion. Maine law requires petition signatures to be checked by local officials and then delivered to the Secretary of State. Local officials did not complete their job by the deadline, so the candidate did not have enough checked signatures at the filing deadline.
So I predict a court decision by an "activist judge" who will brazenly ignore the law for reasons of the "common good". However, a silver lining may be that this case could be used as precedent (after the Texas Supreme Court overturns its own precedent which states that political parties may not ignore election laws) for future ballot access cases.
Update: The court refused to stop the issuance of absentee ballots for overseas Americans but hasn't dismissed the case.
Update:The case was dismissed without any reason given.