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Friday, September 11, 2015

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

Updating this ILB post from yesterday, which quoted statements by Richard Winger, editor/publisher of Ballot Access News, that began "The decision is on shaky grounds, because elsewhere around the nation, limited voting has been upheld," Rob Richie, Executive Director of FairVote, takes the opposite position, as quoted by Rick Hasen in the Election Law Blog today. Hasen links to a lengthy post on the FairVote site that concludes:

The Seventh Circuit's ruling may have significant implications. Indianapolis's current law recognizes that in partisan elections for judges, partisan voters often "vote the ticket" and wipe out one side. That makes the primary the determinative election, with the general election at most contested on paper. FairVote's analyses have pointed out that most state legislative elections have general elections with no meaningful competition; several whole legislative chambers are represented by state representatives with party affiliations that match up perfectly with the partisan affiliation of the presidential nominee who carried their district.

Even worse, more than four in ten state legislative elections are not even contested on paper today.

Here is what the Seventh Circuit panel had to say about the right to vote:

When an election law reduces or forecloses the opportunity for electoral choice, it restricts a market where a voter might effectively and meaningfully exercise his choice between competing ideas or candidates, and thus severely burdens the right to vote.
If there really is a constitutional right to meaningful choices in November, we could be in for some creative legal challenges ahead!

Posted by Marcia Oddi on September 11, 2015 03:15 PM
Posted to Ind. (7th Cir.) Decisions