Judge may rule soon in ballot access case

A U.S. District Court judge said he expects to rule on a North Carolina ballot access case by August 20, according to Ballot Access News.

Judge Graham Mullen heard oral arguments in Greene v. Bartlett yesterday. The case challenges the number of signatures needed for an independent candidate to qualify to run for U.S. House. Since North Carolina began issuing government-printed ballots in 1901, no independent has ever qualified for a U.S. House race. The law requires verified signatures from four percent of the number of registered voters in the district.

Jordon Greene, president of North Carolinians for Free and Proper Elections, attended the hearing with his father, the plaintiff Bryan Greene. The younger Greene said that the state attorneys defended a statement in their brief that “people do not have the right to vote for the candidate of their choice.”

“They claim that what they meant by that statement is that if people had a right to vote for the candidate of their choosing, the state would have to put everyone on the ballot, whether or not they were running, which is an absurd statement,” Greene said.

The plantiff’s argument that people have the right to vote for the candidate of their choice takes into account the fact that people themselves have made the decision to run for office. “That’s a much different claim,” Jordon Greene said.

The state also presented the “cluttered ballot” argument which claims that since North Carolina may elect ten council of state positions at one time the ballot would be too long and cluttered.

“This fails to take into consideration states like Washington, which also elects ten council of state positions, but whose burden on unaffiliated candidates is much easier,” Greene said. Washington only requires 1,000 signatures for independent Congressional candidates as opposed to North Carolina’s 16,000 to 23,000.

“Washington seems to have no problem with a cluttered ballot,” he said. “No race for Congress had more than four or five candidate in the past several elections and most had only two or three,” he said.

See earlier story here.