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Thursday, September 10, 2015

Ind. Decisions - 7th Circuit opinion re Marion County's judicial election system termed "questionable" by one writer

Richard Winger, editor/publisher of Ballot Access News, and identified thereon as "the nation's leading expert on ballot access legal issues," writes today in a post headed "Seventh Circuit Strikes Down Limited Voting for Indianapolis Judicial Races" about yesterday's opinion:

The decision is on shaky grounds, because elsewhere around the nation, limited voting has been upheld. The decision mentions decisions upholding limited voting in New York, Connecticut, and the District of Columbia. The decisions from Connecticut and the District of Columbia were summarily affirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court. The Seventh Circuit declines to follow those precedents on the grounds that judicial elections are different than elections for other office. The cases from New York, Connecticut, and D.C. involved city council and school board elections. * * *

The decision says the Indianapolis limited voting restricts the right of voters to a choice of whom to vote for. One flaw in that argument is that, in theory, minor party and independent candidates are also permitted to run, so if there were robust independent candidates or minor party candidacies, the voters would still have a meaningful choice in the general election. But, the decision says there haven’t been any such candidates since 2000 and 2002, when there were some Libertarian nominees. Obviously when there are only Democratic and Republican nominees on the general election ballot, and each of those parties can only run for half the seats (and assuming there are no declared write-in candidates), the voters have no choice whatsoever; the outcome is predetermined.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on September 10, 2015 01:50 PM
Posted to Ind. (7th Cir.) Decisions