On September 12, the Michigan Secretary of State filed her response in Gelineau v Ruth Johnson, western district, 1:12-cv-976. Her brief says that it would be too difficult and expensive to add any Libertarian presidential candidate to the ballot. Of course, the reason there is little time left is that she didn’t tell the Libertarian Party that she would not print the name of Gary E. Johnson of Texas on the ballot until the end of the day on Friday, September 7. The party had made this request to her in June and she refused to answer for approximately 90 days, even though the party repeatedly asked for her to rule sooner.
She also has not yet said if write-in votes for Gary Johnson would be counted, even though he filed as a declared write-in candidate. And she has not yet answered the question of whether the Libertarian Party’s vice-presidential candidate can be on the ballot, and whether she recognizes that the Libertarian Party candidates for presidential elector are valid candidates.
Her brief says, “Needless to say, it is difficult to believe that Plaintiffs have a valid and legitimate interest in participation in the political process, ballot access, the unfettered right to the candidate of their choosing, etc., when they also assert an interest in ‘getting back’ at the Secretary of State for following Michigan law in barring the ‘original’ Gary Johnson from the ballot.” However, plaintiffs have not said anything in any legal papers about “getting back” at the Secretary of State. The state’s brief also says that the original Gary Johnson switched parties “on the eve of a general election”, yet actually Gary Johnson left the Republican Party and registered into the Libertarian Party in December 2011.
Also, the state’s brief says that Gary E. Johnson of Texas “has no chance of being elected the next president of the United States”. Yet five times in the past, Michigan has printed the names of presidential and vice-presidential candidates on the November ballot who were under age 35, and who therefore could not have served.
Shortly before the state’s brief was filed, the Sixth Circuit issued an order in the first ballot access case, declining to halt ballot printing, but maintaining the expedited briefing schedule in the Sixth Circuit for the original case.