On July 31, arguments were held in Superior Court in Montpelier in the ballot access lawsuit filed by the Justice Party. The case is Anderson v State of Vermont. Rocky Anderson and the Justice Party submitted petitions to 22 town clerks in a timely manner, and the Justice Party did have at least 1,000 valid signatures. But because some of the town clerks didn’t check the signatures quickly enough, the petitions were not available by the state deadline to submit them to the Secretary of State.
In court, the state testified that the Party for Socialism and Liberation petition this year succeeded. What the state did not say is that the PSL is the only minor party or independent presidential petition that succeeded in Vermont this year. The Constitution Party, the Green Party, and the Justice Party petitions all failed (Americans Elect and the Libertarian Party did not need to petition because they were already qualified parties, along with the Progressive Party and Liberty Union).
During the course of the hearing, the Judge asked what difference it made if the Justice Party got on the ballot, because in any event the party had no chance of winning. The attorney for the Justice Party then explained the historical importance of minor parties in introducing new ideas into the system. The judge seemed to accept that idea. It is very difficult to predict how he will rule.
The state said the Justice Party should have imitated the tactics of the Party for Socialism and Liberation, which submitted petitions from only three large towns. Larger towns tend to have more personnel available to check petitions. Of course, that theory completely violates Equal Protection, because it gives voters in large towns more opportunity to nominate candidates by petition than residents of smaller towns.