Arizona Supreme Court Orders that Votes for Superior Court Judge Not be Counted in Libertarian Primary

On August 27, the day before the Arizona primary, the Arizona Supreme Court ordered that write-in votes for Judge Joe Lodge should not be counted. He is a declared write-in candidate in the Libertarian Party primary. He had originally been elected as a Democrat. When he tried to run for re-election this year as a Democrat, his petition failed to specify which seat he was seeking. Therefore, he was kept off the Democratic primary ballot. So, Lodge then filed to be a declared write-in candidate in the Libertarian primary.

Arizona law says when someone attempts to petition onto a primary or general election ballot and the petition is insufficient, the candidate may not then be a write-in candidate for the same office. However, Lodge pointed out he was running for the Libertarian nomination, which is not the same election as running for the Democratic nomination. A lower court agreed with Lodge, but the State Supreme Court disagreed. The State Supreme Court has not yet explained its ruling. See this story.

The Arizona Supreme Court seems composed of judges who are hostile to minor parties. In 2000 the Arizona Supreme Court upheld Arizona’s June petition deadline for independent presidential candidates, and kept Harry Browne, Libertarian Party nominee for President, off the ballot. Later the 9th circuit overturned that same deadline in a case filed by Ralph Nader. Also members of the State Supreme Court seem to favor the top-two open primary initiative, which is very bad for minor parties and independent candidates. And now the State Supreme Court has prevented the Libertarian Party from nominating the candidate of its choice. If the write-ins could have been counted, Lodge would have been the Libertarian nominee, because no other Libertarian was running against him.

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