Vermont Supreme Court Hears Arguments in Lawsuit on June Petition Deadline

On September 12, the Vermont Supreme Court heard oral argument in Trudell v Markowitz, 2011-311. The issue is the constitutionality of the June petition deadline for independent candidates. The 2009 session of the legislature moved that deadline, which had always before been in September (or, long ago, in October). The argument seemed to go well. One of the Justices expressed an opinion that the state’s interest, “voter education”, is not a convincing argument. The state says that voters need six months to educate themselves about the candidates on the ballot. This ignores the fact that the major party national conventions are in late August and early September, and sometimes the nominees chosen at those conventions, at least for vice-president, are not known until shortly before the conventions.

2 comments

  1. Benjamin Eastwood · · Reply

    This is excellent news. The early deadline in Vermont coupled with the onerous restrictions placed on Independent presidential candidates has made it nearly impossible to get folks on the ballot here. It is interesting that in comments to me Kathy Scheele, director of elections, said that the early deadline actually makes her job harder, because it falls right when she is dealing with primary ballot formation, so it burdens her office, and that she’d prefer to have the deadline later, but the legislature makes the laws so there is nothing she can do about it. I wonder what she had to say on the stand today…

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