WV Ballot Access Victory

On November 3, U.S. District Court Judge Joseph Goodwin, a Clinton appointee, ruled that West Virginia may not charge a filing fee for declared write-in candidates. Phillips v Hechler, civ 6:00-894. The ruling upset a law that had been passed in 1993. The basis for the ruling is that the purpose of a filing fee is to keep a ballot from being crowded with too many names. That rationale has no application for write-in candidates.

Gavel.The case was filed by Howard Phillips (Constitution Party presidential candidate), who was unable to qualify for the ballot, and who therefore depended on write-in votes in West Virginia. If the law had not been overturned, he would have had to pay $4,000 just to have his write-ins tallied (the fee is 1% of the annual salary of the office). The state has not yet said if it will appeal.

(From Ballot Access News.)

Comments

One Response to “WV Ballot Access Victory”
  1. jbecker says:

    In blatant defiance to this ruling, two bills were introduced in the West Virginia legislature almost ten years later to require declared write-in candidates to pay filing fees. The bills are SB334 (Jan 21, 2010) and HB 2657 (Jan 13, 2010). Fortunately neither got out of committee. Shame on the politicians who are endorsing this!

    The Senate bill can be read here: http://www.legis.state.wv.us/Bill_Text_HTML/2010_SESSIONS/RS/Bills/SB334%20intr.htm
    “A BILL to amend and reenact §3-6-4a of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, relating to elections; requiring write-in candidates for public office to pay a filing fee for the office sought; and providing for distribution of the fee in the same manner as other candidates.”

    The House bill is here:
    http://www.legis.state.wv.us/Bill_Text_HTML/2010_SESSIONS/RS/Bills/hb2657%20intr.htm
    “A BILL to amend and reenact §3-5-8 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended; and to amend and reenact §3-6-4a of said code, all relating to elections; requiring write-in candidates for public office to pay a filing fee for the office sought; and providing for distribution of the fee in the same manner as other candidates.”

    Discussion thread at http://www.ballot-access.org/2010/01/29/west-virginia-bills-to-require-write-in-candidates-to-pay-filing-fee/

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