Sixth Circuit Again Refuses to Hear Michigan Libertarian Party Presidential Ballot Access Lawsuit

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.

18 comments

  1. I hope the Libertarian Party sues for as much money as they can get. What Michigan did is criminal.

  2. Just another reason to move. God damn.

  3. Phil Sawyer · · Reply

    Thank you, Richard, for your mention of the record set by Eugene J. McCarthy in 1976. We worked very hard for those votes.

    In my opinion, we probably would have been on the ballot in California if the Secretary of State, March Fong Eu, had sent our petitions to us when she should have. We asked that official (a Democrat) to give us extra time to petition in order to make up for the time lost by the late petitions. However, she refused to do so. The Democrats were very much afraid of Senator McCarthy’s independent presidential campaign.

    Philippe Lawrence Sawyer
    Sacramento, California
    Former Volunteer Activist and California Elector
    Committee for a Constitutional Presidency/McCarthy ’76

  4. Walter Ziobro · · Reply

    How is it that Mitt Romney is allowed to advertise on this site?

  5. Richard Winger · · Reply

    #4, Google controls the ads.

  6. P.R. and nonpartisan App.V.

    In the meantime — how about having candidates pay attention to the ballot access laws and the time of day — filing the Johnson paperwork 3 minutes late was FATAL.

    Last minute cases = LACHES defenses = dead cases.

    Where is that genius ballot access case about –
    Separate is NOT equal.
    Brown v. Bd of Ed 1954 — a mere 58 years ago — now like centuries.

    Every election is new and has ZERO to do with any prior election – except the total number of actual voters in the election area involved.

  7. Well that totally sucks.

  8. “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.”

    Absolutely! Sic it to those two-party statists after election day!

  9. Casual Bystander · · Reply

    “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.”

    Perhaps after the election the issue will be considered moot. That’s been done before just to allow this to happen again when it serves the duopoly.

  10. Casual Bystander · · Reply

    “For now, the only solace that Michigan voters who want to vote for Johnson have is that write-ins will be counted.”

    Or not. I don’t trust write-ins being counted. If I lived in Michigan I would vote for another alternative nominee who IS on the ballot. This is a huge screwjob but the point is to take as many votes as possible away from the corrupt two dominant parties. I would consider Goode or Stein… they’re not perfect from a libertarian perspective but their votes will be tallied.

  11. Cyric Renner · · Reply

    How can the court totally ignore the issue of the VP being on the ballot ?

    This stinks to high heaven. The fix is in to keep GJ off the Michigan ballot at all cost. Write-ins will not be counted.

    A good lawyer would eat the republicans alive for these shenanigans they have pulled here, but it will have to be done in a Federal court. It is readily apparent that one would find more justice in a Roland Freisler court then any of these corrupt state courts.

  12. Michigan Voter · · Reply

    I have said this before on this site, but welcome to life in Michigan under Republican rule the last 2 years. You should see how they just ignore the constitution and declare every law an ’emergency’ passed under immediate effect. It requires a 2/3 vote and they don’t have 2/3, but they refuse to listen when the Democrats challenge it.

    They are also appointing emergency managers to municipalities and school districts that have the authority to tear up contracts and disregard locally elected officials.

    Luckily, we have some ballot proposals that will allow us to make some changes directly. Surprise, surprise, they attempted to block the proposals from being on the ballot. They really do act like fascists.

  13. Wall Street Bailouts are an Inside Job · · Reply

    They’re not acting. That is what they are.

  14. Wall Street Bailouts are an Inside Job · · Reply

    “In the meantime — how about having candidates pay attention to the ballot access laws”

    They did. The SOS and the courts did not.

    “and the time of day — filing the Johnson paperwork 3 minutes late was FATAL.”

    Johnson filed it on time. SOS intentionally sat on it so it would be “late.” Fix was in.

  15. Wall Street Bailouts are an Inside Job · · Reply

    “Perhaps after the election the issue will be considered moot.”

    It won’t be moot and many cases have been pursued retroactively.

  16. Wall Street Bailouts are an Inside Job · · Reply

    “A good lawyer would eat the republicans alive for these shenanigans they have pulled here, but it will have to be done in a Federal court. It is readily apparent that one would find more justice in a Roland Freisler court then any of these corrupt state courts.”

    This was a federal court.

  17. #16 is correct. Constitutional ballot access cases are not moot just because the election is over. Some of the most important ballot access victories in the US Supreme Court were decided after the election was over. They include Moore v Ogilvie (which struck down county distribution requirements for statewide petitions), Anderson v Celebrezze (which struck down early petition deadlines for minor party and independent presidential petitions), Lubin v Panish (which struck down mandatory filing fees), Illinois State Board of Elections v Socialist Workers Party (which struck down requiring more signatures to get on the ballot in just part of the state than are required for statewide office), and Communist Party of Indiana v Whitcomb (which struck down laws banning subversive parties from the ballot).

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