Arizona may continue to use a ballot registration form that lists only the two largest political parties in the state, the Ninth Circuit ruled Friday. The Arizona Libertarian and Green parties, and three of their members, sued then-Secretary of State Ken Bennett in 2011 after the state legislature decided that only the two largest political parties would be listed by name on voter registration forms. The plaintiffs in the lawsuit filed in Tucson Federal Court claimed the statute discriminated against Green and Libertarian voters, who now had to write out their party affiliation in a small box, forcing them to “abbreviate, and run the risk that their abbreviation is illegible or misread.”
U.S. District Judge Cindy Jorgenson ruled in favor for the state in 2013. “[P]arties in Arizona that are not the two largest political parties that are entitled to continued representation on the ballot are not placed in a situation where they cannot determine from the mass of unaffiliated persons who were actually supporters of their organizations,” Jorgenson wrote.
The parties appealed to the Ninth Circuit, who agreed with Jorgenson.
The statute “does not directly inhibit the ability of any party to gain access to the ballot, nor does it articulate different criteria for major and minor parties who seek to get their candidates on the ballot,” wrote U.S. Circuit Judge A. Wallace Tashima on behalf of a three-judge panel. “All new political parties (and parties that have lost continuing ballot access) are required to comply with the same criteria to get their candidate on the ballot.”
Full Article: Courthouse News Service.