Alabama Ballot Access Lawsuit Update

On May 22, U.S. District Court Judge William K. Watkins, Jr., whose court is in Montgomery, Alabama, cancelled the May 24 hearing in Stein v Chapman, the ballot access lawsuit filed by the Constitution, Green and Libertarian Parties. In its place, he has set a new briefing schedule, and opened the door for new evidence, due June 15. The judge indicated he wants to learn on June 15 whether the three parties are actually working on their Alabama party petition. The presumption is that if they are actively working, he is somewhat inclined to grant injunctive relief against the March petition deadline.

This is not as helpful an approach as the action taken in the California ballot access case, which, like the Alabama case, challenges the early petition deadline for newly-qualifying parties. In the California case, the judge issued an injunction against the early deadline, even though no one knows if the plaintiff political parties (the Justice Party and the Constitution Party) will be able to take advantage of the extra time. In the Alabama case, it is difficult for the political parties to muster the energy to circulate the party petition, when they can’t know for sure that their efforts will be rewarded.

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