Final Brief Filed in California Ballot Access Case Over Deadline for Newly-Qualifying Parties

On May 17, the Plaintiffs’ Reply brief was filed in the Califoria ballot access case. The case challenges the California January deadline for newly-qualifying parties. The hearing is Monday, May 21, at 1:30 p.m., in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles.

The hearing will determine whether the Justice Party and the Constitution Party (and any others) may continue to obtain new party registrations in their attempt to get on the ballot this year. Without any relief, they are far too late to get on the 2012 ballot. The case is California Justice Committee and Constitution Party of California v Bowen, 2:12cv-3956.

The state argues the two parties are far too small to qualify, even if they do get more time. But the Natural Law Party only had 634 registrants in February 1995, and it still managed to qualify in California by September 1995. The Reform Party also managed to qualify in September 1995, even though it had started its registration drive only three weeks before the deadline.

The U.S. District Court in Los Angeles is at 312 N. Spring Street, near Temple Street. The hearing is in Courtroom 15.


  1. Jim Riley · · Reply

    California statute defines “party” as meaning “qualified for participation in a primary election”.

  2. Richard Winger · · Reply

    #1, in January 2012, the California Secretary of State ruled if parties don’t want to participate in the primary, that is their right. She is not printing any Americans Elect primary ballots, because Americans Elect asked her not to.

  3. Demo Rep · · Reply

    Is there ANY election LAW in CA — or is it all made up by the CA SOS day to day out of thin air ???

    Save Democracy.

    P.R. and nonpartisan App.V.

  4. But the Reform party in 1995 probably had a few bucks to spend on a drive.

  5. #2 Clarification: does that mean there will be no AE ballot line in CA in Nov 2012?
    Also, if there will be an AE line in Nov 2012, can the JP and CP (above) candidates use the AE slots (if they lose in the hearing)?

  6. Richard Winger · · Reply

    #5, California no longer has party nominees for any office except President. For President, the national officers of Americans Elect have said they don’t want any presidential nominee, so they aren’t going to nominate Rocky Anderson or Virgil Goode in any state.

  7. #6 – thanks. What about access to the AE ballot lines for lower offices? Is it too late for a person to get his/her name printed on the CA ballot as an AE candidate for other state and federal offices? Or, are there other reasons why that can’t be done?

  8. Jim Riley · · Reply

    #2 Participation in the general election is predicated on having a presidential primary.

  9. Jim Riley · · Reply

    #7 A write-in candidate for the legislature or Congress has to qualify by May 22,2012. This requires 40 signatures, but no filing fee.

    There are a few races with only one on-ballot candidate, in which the top write-in candidate will qualify for the November ballot (there is no threshold level of support, so one vote is enough if it is the 2nd highest).

    California does not distinguish between on-ballot candidates and write-in candidates as far as party affiliation goes, other than since write-in candidates are not on the ballot, their ballot preference won’t appear on the ballot. But if they qualify for the general election ballot, their party preference would appear there.

    Write-in candidates are also subject to campaign finance reporting laws (it is based on the meeting a threshold level, not on whether a candidate is a write-in or an on-ballot candidate.

  10. Jim Riley · · Reply

    #6 Since the American Elects party says that the P&F statutes will apply to them, can’t the California officers of the AEP choose a presidential nominee?

  11. Richard Winger · · Reply

    #10, the “state chairs” of all ballot-qualified Americans Elect state parties are all officers of the national group that founded AE, such as Elliot Ackerman, Kahlil Byrd, and Michael Arno. It turns out that state chairs need not be residents of the state.

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