U.S. justice argues citizens can’t defend voting rights in court

U.S. Department of Justice attorneys argued in a Washington DC Federal courtroom Monday that neither voters nor candidates had the legal standing to challenge the constitutionality of federal law.

The case involved citizens from Kinston who were challenging the DOJ’s overturning a municipal referendum in which voters overwhelming approved changing the city’s elections from partisan to nonpartisan.

The DOJ claimed that making ballot access more difficult doesn’t injure a candidate and therefore doesn’t given them grounds to sue. Writing in National Review Online Hans von Spakovsky called this argument “strained and hypocritical.”

“This position completely contradicts the position the department has taken on numerous prior occasions when it has argued that ballot-qualification requirements violated Section 5 (of the Voting Rights Act of 1965),” he wrote.

Spakovsky wrote that it was “embarrassing” and “astonishing” to see NAACP lawyer Anita Earls argue citizens don’t have standing to see the U.S. Attorney General or contest the constitutionality of federal law. “It was astonishing to watch the NAACP, which shared the government’s argument time as interveners in the lawsuit, argue for restricted access to the courts by aggrieved voters — like their members.”

For background on the lawsuit, go to Free the Vote NC.

Read the complete National Review Online article here.

Free the Vote NC gives 10 candidates an 'A'

Free the Vote North Carolina has awarded an A rating to 10 candidates for the state General Assembly. The candidates, all challengers, include five Libertarians and five Republicans.

“We endorse these candidates because they believe, as we do, that our state’s restrictive ballot access laws must be reformed,” said Jordon Greene, Free the Vote NC founder and president. “They all have indicated by their responses that they agree North Carolina’s ballot access laws unfairly restrict the right of citizens to run for office and to vote for the person or political party of their choice.”

Free the Vote NC is a political action committee whose goal is to restore competition in the state’s elections by reducing or eliminating ballot access restrictions. Greene said they mailed surveys to all candidates for the General Assembly in the general election, but only 20 replied.

“While we’re disappointed in such a poor response, that response in itself is telling,” Greene says. “It tells us either that the candidates don’t agree with electoral reform or that they don’t think it is an important issue to North Carolinians. In either case, it is clear that we have our work cut out for us to restore free elections to our state.”

The candidates receiving “A” ratings are:

  • Stephanie Watson (Libertarian) – NC Senate 16
  • Barry Coe (Libertarian) – NC Senate 24
  • Cedric Scott (Republican) – NC Senate 38
  • Richard Evey (Libertarian) – NC Senate 44
  • Herb Sobel (Libertarian) – NC House 3
  • Steven LaRoque (Republican) – NC House 10
  • Barbara Howe (Libertarian) – NC House 32
  • Harry Warren (Republican) – NC House 77
  • Paul Terrell (Republican) – NC House 33
  • Samuel Edwards (Republican) – NC House 118

Go to FreeTheVoteNC.com to read the complete survey and the candidates’ responses.