Update: Federal judge allows GOP-recruited “sham” Green Party candidates to remain on the ballot

Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

The wheels of justice turn slowly. When the legal system intersects with the fast-paced election system, expediency too often takes precedence over justice.

This is precisely what happened on Thursday when U.S. District Court Judge David Campbell conceded that his hands are tied by election deadlines and he refused to grant a temporary injunction kicking 9 "sham" Green Party candidates recruited by Republican Party officials off the November ballot.

Judge Campbell said that issuing an emergency order now removing the candidates' names from the ballot, before a full-blown hearing on the merits of the case, would not be fair to the candidates themselves. Judge won't kick Green Party candidates off ballot. This is procedurally correct, but it fails to address the substance of the lawsuit.

Republican Party officials have successfully hijacked the Arizona Green Party by recruiting "sham" candidates and taking advantage of a loophole in Arizona law to qualify them for the ballot in November, in some cases with a single vote. Arizona Capitol Times » Judge allows Green Party candidates to stay on ballot:

The number of write-in votes needed for Democrats, Libertarians and Republicans is based on the number of signatures they would have needed to qualify for the ballot in the first place. But newly recognized parties – which the Green Party is in 2010 – need only a plurality of votes, meaning an unopposed write-in candidate can win the nomination with a single vote. Several of the candidates named in the lawsuit got just one vote, or barely more.

Judge Campbell rejected a request by attorneys for several counties to throw out the lawsuit entirely. Instead, he wants to hear from both sides what they think should happen next.

That leaves the door open for Keith Beauchamp, the Green Party's attorney, to argue that none of the votes cast for the nine disputed candidates should be counted when the votes are tallied on November 2.

If Judge Campbell were to agree, county officials would have to post notice at each of the more than 2,000 polling places informing voters that while these names remain on the ballot, any votes for them won't count.

This is a non-solution. Votes will still be cast and "siphoned" from other legitimate candidates. The only effective remedy was removal of the "sham" candidates from the ballot, and that was denied.

The Arizona Republican Party's subversion of Arizona's electoral process by hijacking the Arizona Green Party with "sham" candidates is a shocking scandal for which the party should be roundly condemned and those involved prosecuted for voter fraud. The silence from the media on this scandal is stunning.

The Arizona Democratic Party is pursuing the matter in state Superior Court. Judge won't kick Green Party candidates off ballot:

In a lawsuit filed Thursday in Maricopa County Superior Court, attorney Paul Eckstein said Arizona voters will be "deceived, misled and confused'' about the true nature of the campaigns of the Green Party write-in candidates which will affect the "purity'' of the general election. He wants Judge Robert Oberbillig to erase the candidates' names from the ballot.

This lawsuit will also fail on the issue of timeliness. The Court's hands are tied by the election deadlines. Several counties are set to begin printing ballots Friday. Once they are printed, it is too late to order the names removed from the ballot.

Judge Oberbillig is bound by the same procedural constraints as Judge Campbell, i.e., issuing an emergency order now removing the candidates' names from the ballot, before a full-blown hearing on the merits of the case, would not be fair to the candidates themselves. Time has run out.

NB:I have advocated for a Special Action Appeal process to the Arizona Supreme Court directly with a "fast track" process to determine election law disputes. Hearings for injunctive relief would be a full trial on the merits and a decision rendered promptly. Election law disputes would take priority over all other matters. Given the short deadlines in a fast-paced election system, there needs to be a "fast-track" process to timely determine election disputes. Expediency should not trump justice simply because the wheels of justice turn slowly.

One Response to Update: Federal judge allows GOP-recruited “sham” Green Party candidates to remain on the ballot

  1. I hesitate to continue to try to persuade you of something you’re unwilling to understand or even acknowledge, but I ask anyone reading this to go to my blog, http://grayson-green.blogspot.com, and see why not all the candidates are “sham” candidates. Today I am referred to, as I was in federal court yesterday, in Howard Fischer’s article in The East Valley Tribune as elsewhere as having a swastika on my campaign website – the reason in court given by the Arizona Green Party lawyer as to why the party doesn’t want to associate with me – but the context, as in the Shirley Sherrod case, is missing: the swastika clearly is labeled with the website it came from, http://www.protestarizona.com/, and refers to the fascist tendencies in Arizona laws like SB 1070, noted by Cardinal Mahony and others.

    If I am staying on the ballot, I will soon say on my website that I will be just as happy for people to vote for the Democratic candidate, Rebecca Schneider, for Congress against Jeff Flake, as I would for myself. I think it’s more likely the winning write-in Libertarian primary candidates will “siphon” votes from Jeff Flake than I would from Rebecca (who is a fine person and has been quite supportive, it seems: she should get more support from Democrats and the state and national parites).

    But in any event, you probably understand that he is unbeatable in C.D. 6. If there’s any chance I see Rebecca can win, I’ll simply withdraw. I probably would have done so anyway, but the Arizona Green Party bosses have been so determined to take me off the ballot for invalid reasons that I’d like to have my constitutional rights as a candidate – and those of the six voters who cast ballots for me – vindicated, too.

    I have already endorsed Terry Goddard, Rodney Glassman and all the other statewide, congressional and legislative candidates of the Democratic party. The last post on my campaign website was a Democratic party video, the funny “28 Days Later” parody about Gov. Brewer. Once this is all over, I will rejoin the Democratic party.

    I do wish you would really look at the Green Party’s role in this fiasco. As a Democrat, you should understand that none of this would have happened if the inept, bumbling and now lying party leaders had quelled their own ambitions in the name of progressive/liberal unity and of ending the Republican political domination of the state — at least until the law was changed so that this kind of thing happened again.

    At this point, I would like to be a Green candidate so I could help put the Green Party out of business and avoid this problem in the future. Thanks for letting me say my peace. Sorry about going on and on.

    You’ll be glad to know this is my last comment.