On October 2, U.S. District Court Judge Paul Maloney refused to order Michigan to count straight-ticket votes for the Libertarian Party for the party’s slate of presidential electors. His 14-page opinion ignores the precedent set in Michigan in 1960, when Michigan let the Independent American Party appear on the ballot with unpledged presidential electors. Instead, the decision meanders into the history of U.S. presidential elections before the 12th amendment was adopted in 1804. Before the 12th amendment was adopted, presidential electors merely voted for individuals without specifying whether the intent of their vote was to vote for that individual for President or Vice-President. That has nothing to do with this case, Gelineau v Ruth Johnson.
The various federal judges who have ruled in the Michigan Libertarian presidential ballot access cases this year have ignored all these precedents in their opinions: (1) in 1980, Michigan didn’t interpret its “sore loser” law to include presidential primaries; (2) in four other presidential elections, Michigan printed the names of presidential or vice-presidential candidates who aren’t even qualified under the U.S. Constitution on the ballot; (3) the 1960 precedent mentioned above. The mark of a good judicial decision is to rebut the points of the losing side. The mark of a bad judicial decision is to ignore the losing side’s points. The quality of the Libertarian Michigan decisions this year has been low.
The judges have interfered with the free choice of voters. Michigan cast over 5,000,000 votes for President in 2008. Assuming the same number of voters vote again this year in Michigan, and assuming at least 1% of them would choose to vote for the Libertarian ticket (which is not unrealistic, given the polls that show Johnson above 1%, sometimes as high as 4% nationally), the judges have disenfranchised at least 50,000 voters. Fortunately the Secretary of State will recognize write-in votes for Gary Johnson. The judges in these cases are so hostile, probably if the Secretary of State had also refused to count write-ins, the judges would have approved that prohibition as well.