Monday, May 08, 2006

Victory in Court!

Dear friends in Liberty,

On Friday we won an important victory in the lawsuit brought by the Libertarian Party of NC against our state’s extreme ballot access barriers. Judge Orlando Hudson has signed the order denying the state’s motion to dismiss our lawsuit. This is excellent news!

Now we move on to the real heart of our case. All of the preliminary motions are out of the way and we can have our case heard in NC Superior Court.

This means the state will have to explain to the judge precisely why they have set the ballot access barriers so high in North Carolina. It also means we get the opportunity to present all of our evidence in court and put the arguments of both sides into the official judicial record.

Our attorney, Michael Crowell, has briefed us on the next step. We will need to discuss with the NC Attorney General’s office how much is needed in the way of discovery and set a schedule of future hearings. Our goal is to get a Superior Court ruling in time for the elections coming up this November. Fortunately, the good will we have developed over the years with the State Board of Elections and the Attorney General’s office is now paying off, and they are fairly cooperative in setting these schedules to meet our needs.

Although the victory is procedural, its importance cannot be underestimated. According to Richard Winger of Ballot Access News, no one has won a ruling below the state Supreme Court level in any similar ballot access lawsuit since 1982. Today’s victory means we get to argue our case on our terms and gives us the momentum going to the next level.

But our lawsuit is unlike any similar suit that has been brought before. Our challenge to the state is not just that their ballot access restrictions are unfair. We are alleging that these restrictions are part of an entire scheme of election law which favors Democrats and Republicans over anyone who does not want to be part of those two parties. Many have fought against ballot access laws before and lost, but we are the first to try to show that these oppressive laws are part of a broader scheme to prevent the equal participation of all voters in our elections.

This strategy has allowed the NC Green Party to join our lawsuit, and leaves the doors open for other parties, independent voters and even non-voters to join with us. The Greens have jumped in with both feet. They have enlisted the support of the ACLU to represent them.

ACLU involvement is our lawsuit is a huge asset for us. The Greens’ lawyer, Hoppy Elliott, works very well with Mr. Crowell and together they made a very powerful and effective presentation for us at last week’s hearing.

Although the ACLU works for free, our lawyer does not. Right now he is owed over $5,500, and the next phase of trial will be the most expensive. He is giving us a discounted rate and happily working away even while we are behind on the bill. We made the decision to hire the most experienced election law attorney in the state and he is doing an excellent job of representing our interests.

Please take a moment right now to go to the website of Freedom Ballot Access to make your best possible donation. We take credit cards and PayPal at the site, and also provide you with an address if you’d prefer to mail a check.

Why Freedom Ballot Access? It is organized as a federal “527” organization, which frees us from all of the limits placed on other political groups in their fundraising. You can give an unlimited amount and your donation does not have to be publicly reported. While we are engaged in many ballot access struggles on a nonpartisan basis, all donations from North Carolina will go towards paying for this lawsuit. Our nonpartisan status also allows us to solicit donations from anyone, not only Libertarians, and protects your donations from any other political concerns.

If you have any questions about the lawsuit or Freedom Ballot Access, feel free to reply to this message or call me at 919-286-0152.

Today we have won an important victory! Now we need to take it to the next level. Please make your best possible donation now at to help ensure that all future elections in NC shall truly be free. Thank you.

yours in liberty –
Sean Haugh
Treasurer, Freedom Ballot Access


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