Iowa Republicans Sue the Secretary of State to Remove Gary Johnson from the Ballot

On August 30, the Iowa voters who challenged the Libertarian Party’s spot on the November ballot filed a lawsuit against the Secretary of State, and asked a lower state court judge to remove Gary Johnson from the ballot. They were joined by one of the Iowa Republican Party candidates for presidential elector. The hearing is August 31 at 9 a.m., so close in time to when the case was filed that it is impossible for the Libertarian Party’s attorney to attend.

The objectors’ brief says if Johnson is left on the ballot, that will cause “irreparable harm to other candidates and political parites who must compete against him”, and leaving him on the ballot would also cause “irreparable injury to the voting public because it could improperly impact the election.”

How far the United States has come from the old understanding that the right to vote includes the right of choice for whom to vote. That was implicit at the time of the founding fathers, when there was no mechanism for government to prevent voters from voting for anyone they wished. Increasingly, many in the elite think of ordinary voters as lesser beings who are not to be trusted to act outside of carefully arranged choices.


  1. All right, this makes me so incredibly mad. SCREW YOU D@#$ REPUBLICAN STATISTS!!!!!

  2. So much for Republicans and their beliefs in competition and the free market of idea’s.

  3. Casual Bystander · · Reply

    Richard… what are the chances this suit will prevail?

  4. Richard Winger · · Reply

    #3, the suit will probably fail. The Socialist Party used the outdoor convention idea in 2008 and the state accepted it. Furthermore, the Libertarian 2012 convention was significantly closer to a traditional convention than the 2008 Socialist Party convention. In 2008 the Socialist Party didn’t have any organization or bylaws or party officers. By contrast, the 2012 Libertarian convention ballot access procedure was authorized by the Libertarian Party state officers, and they attended. Also the state law doesn’t define “convention” and has no specifications about the attendees. So it would violate due process to, in effect, change the rules without warning to the Libertarian Party. This is especially true because it was an official of the Secretary of State’s office who suggested that the party use the method. And on top of that, there is the 1964 Iowa state court precedent that put Lyndon Johnson on the ballot even though his name had not been certified by the legal deadline. And there is the 2004 Washington state precedent involving Ralph Nader, in which the Democrats challenged Nader’s convention in Washington state. Nader also had an outdoor convention. The Court kept him on the Washington ballot. Iowa and Washington are the only two states that have such a procedure for unqualified parties. Oregon has a similar procedure but it only applies to independent candidates, and the Oregon procedures are much more set forth in detail in the election code.

  5. MarkBrown · · Reply

    I would also challenge the standing of the Republicans. Not all states allow suits of this nature to remove candidates, and there is no constitutional right to have a candidate removed from the ballot.

  6. Illinois Socialist · · Reply

    #2 Kind of like the beliefs some Illinois Green Party members have in ballot access for all 3rd parties and free and open elections.

  7. Seriously, what is the difference in what the GOP is doing and what Saddam did in Iraq.

  8. Never going back · · Reply

    Just digging themselves a deeper hole…they will likely never have my support again, I await the day my old party dies and the libertarian party becomes the new major party against the democrats.

  9. Jed Siple · · Reply


    I just said that in another thread! Much agreed my friend, I’ll never vote for another Republican as long as I live. I’ll write in Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck if I have to!

  10. That’s essentially the same ridiculous argument that the GOP used against one of LPKY’s candidates in 2008. They actually claimed that having more than 2 candidates created an undue burden on voters. Thankfully, the courts ignored the ludicrous claim.

  11. If competing for votes causes “irreparable harm” or having people on a ballot causes “irreparable injury to the voting public” then I can only assume that these Republicans have requested the court to cancel the election in order to protect the good citizens of Iowa. Perhaps this lawsuit was what Mitt Romney had in mind when he said in his acceptance speech “We will honor America’s democratic ideals”.

    This is such an obviously frivolous suit that the only issue that should be addressed by the court is the amount of damages that should be awarded to the Libertarian Party for having to deal with it. If courts do not award damages against parties bringing frivolous lawsuits then it is no wonder that so many frivolous lawsuits occur.

  12. Uhhhh . . . Did any of you read the lawsuit to which Ryan linked? In fact, Ryan, did YOU read it? . . . I was all set to join the chorus of outrage . . . until I read the details.

    See, especially, paragraphs #13-20.

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