On September 21, the Sixth Circuit refused to rehear Gelineau v Ruth Johnson, the case to get Gary Johnson of Austin, Texas, on the Michigan ballot as the Libertarian presidential candidate. The state didn’t even explain, in any of its briefs, why James P. Gray, the Libertarian nominee for vice-president, should not be on the November ballot; he isn’t a “sore loser”. The Court seems to base its unwillingness to actually hear the case on the point that the case should have been filed sooner. Here is the two-page order.
The issue will be aired in the two Michigan Libertarian cases after the election is over. The very fact that the “sore loser” law doesn’t explain how to handle vice-presidential candidates, and presidential elector candidates, is further evidence that the law was never intended to apply to presidential primaries. For now, the only solace that Michigan voters who want to vote for Johnson have is that write-ins will be counted.
The largest number of write-ins for a presidential candidate in general election history was 58,412 (the Eugene McCarthy total in California in 1976). Within Michigan, the largest number of write-ins ever received by a presidential candidate in the general election was Ralph Nader in 1996; he received 2,322. Elections officials must perform extra work to handle write-in votes, so Ruth Johnson’s illogical and cruel decision to be the first official in U.S. history to keep a presidential candidate off the ballot on the basis that he or she had run in a presidential primary will cause extra expense and work for local election officials.
Every Gary Johnson voter in Michigan should check after the election to see that at least one Johnson write-in in that voter’s precinct was canvassed, and if a write-in voter finds a “zero” in the official record, that voter should participate in a lawsuit along with other such voters. The Michigan Libertarian Party can probably coordinate such an effort if it wishes.