Andrew Straw, Green Party Congressional Candidate, Likely to Sue Indiana over Ballot Access

Andrew Straw, a Green Party candidate for U.S. House in Indiana’s Second District, and an attorney, is apparently going to sue Indiana over its ballot access laws. He apparently will base the lawsuit on the State Constitution, which requires that elections be free and equal. See this story.

Indiana is the only state with severely repressive ballot access laws in which there has been virtually no activism to change those laws. Indiana is one of only four states in which Ralph Nader never appeared on the ballot (the others are North Carolina, Georgia, and Oklahoma). Indiana is one of only three states in which no statewide minor party or independent petition has been successfully completed during the last eleven years. Yet in Indiana, unlike the other bad states, there have been no bills introduced to ease the requirements, and no lawsuits since 1984.

Indiana’s legislature quadrupled the petition requirement in 1980, even though under the old law, Indiana never had a crowded ballot. The hostile 1980 change was not effective until 1984. The law requires petitions of 2% of the last vote for Secretary of State, which this year is 34,195 signatures. By contrast, no member of a major party ever needs more than 4,500 signatures to obtain a place on the primary ballot. For U.S. House, no major party member ever needs any signatures at all.

The Communist Party sued Indiana in 1984 in federal court, but lost the case. Indiana permits a group that polls at least 2% of the vote for Secretary of State to be on the ballot automatically. The Libertarian Party has met the vote test in Indiana in every election starting in 1994, so never needs to petition. Thanks to Ed Feigenbaum for the link.

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