Saturday, August 11, 2012

From Cynthia McKinney: One Small Step for the Republic, A Giant Leap for Voter Choice in Georgia?

Hello!  Some good news to report on the voter choice front!

The State of Georgia is technically in default in its own case on voter choice, having no answer to the precedent-setting Tennessee decision just ordering that the Green Party and the Constitution Party Presidential candidates be placed on the ballot.  That Tennessee decision was affirmed by the Appellate Court yesterday in its refusal to issue a stay which would have, in effect, disallowed the placement of the Green and Constitution Parties on the November 2012 Tennessee ballot.  In Georgia, the state Green and Constitution Parties teamed up again, represented by Roseanne Barr's campaign legal advisor, Mike Raffauf.  I call this "one small step for the Republic and a possible giant leap for voter choice in Georgia!"

Here's the Ballot Access News write-up with the pdf of the actual order embedded and below that is the write-up:

Sixth Circuit Preserves Ballot Spot in Tennessee for Green Party and Constitution Party

August 9th, 2012
On August 9, the Sixth Circuit issued a 7-page order, denying the request of Tennessee election officials to remove the Green Party and the Constitution Party from the November 2012 ballot. However, the Sixth Circuit did grant the state's request for a stay of the U.S. District Court order that said there must be a random procedure to give each party an equal chance to get the top line on the ballot.
In February 2012, a U.S. District Court in Tennessee had struck down the state's ballot access law for newly-qualifying parties, and had also ordered the state to print the two plaintiff parties on the 2012 ballot. The U.S. District Court had also struck down the law, giving the two largest parties the best spots on the ballot.
The Sixth Circuit has not decided any of these issues at this time. Instead, the Court simply set forth what rules should be in place, pending a decision. The order says, "The state has not shown why the plaintiffs' past support – which, as noted by the district court, consists of nearly 20,000 votes for the Green Party and almost 10,000 signatures for the Constitution Party – is so insubstantial as to create a real possibility of frustrating the State's democratic process." The reference to the 10,000 signatures for the Constitution Party, and the 20,000 votes for the Green Party, is to past elections, not anything related to this year's election.

Green, Constitution parties allowed to be on November ballot in Tenn.

NASHVILLE — A 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling Thursday assures that Green Party candidates will have a place on Tennessee's November general election ballot in several races — including Martin Pleasant of Knoxville as the party's U.S. Senate nominee.
"That's wonderful," said Pleasant, 43, who now plans to take some time off his job with the Knox County Engineering and Public Works Department for campaigning.
State Election Coordinator Mark Goins said the court ruling came in requests for an expedited ruling on two issues in a lawsuit brought by the Green and Constitution parties challenging the state's ballot access.
Currently, Democrats and Republicans are listed by party affiliation but others are listed as independents. A U.S. District Court judge in Nashville ruled in February in the Green and Constitution parties' favor on some key issues, but the state attorney general appealed.
In Thursday's decision, the court declared Green and Constitution party candidates must be on the ballot and listed by party name, Goins said. But the court ruled for the state in another issue up for "expedited" decision — letting stand a present law requiring the "majority party," now Republicans, be listed first on the ballot, followed by the "minority party," the Democrats, with others following lower on the ballot.
The Nashville judge had ruled that the ballot order should be determined by a random drawing.
Further hearings and rulings are expected later.
The Green Party of Tennessee nominated a slate of candidates at a convention earlier this year, but their place on the ballot was not assured until Thursday's decision. The decision also means that Kermit Steck of Kingsport will be on the ballot as U.S. Senate nominee of the Constitution Party, which did not qualify candidates in any other races.
Five Green Party congressional candidates will be on the ballot under the ruling. They are Robert N. Smith of Greeneville in the 1st District, Norris Dryer of Knoxville in the 2nd District; John Miglietta of Nashville in the 5th District; Patrick John Riley of Lancaster in the 6th District; and Howard Switzer of Linden in the 7th District.
There are also five Green Party candidates for state House seats, including two in Knoxville. Calvin Cassady will oppose Rep. Joe Armstrong, D-Knoxville, in the 15th state House District, while Bryan Moneyhun will face Rep. Bill Dunn, R-Knoxville, in the 16th District. Both Armstrong and Dunn would have no opposition to re-election without the Green nominees.
Get Copyright Permissions © 2012, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.

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