U.S. Supreme Court Sets Conference Date for Nader Hawaii Ballot Access Case
Ballot Access News March 17th, 2011
On April 1, the U.S. Supreme Court will consider whether to hear Nader v Nago, 10-728, the Hawaii ballot access case. This is the case, filed in 2004, that challenges the number of signatures for an independent presidential candidate in Hawaii, which is approximately six times as many signatures as needed for an entire new political party with its own primary. Nader argues that Hawaii is discriminating against independent presidential candidates, relative to new political parties, because there can’t be any good reason for requiring so many more signatures for independent presidential candidates.
The state claims the disparity is justified because when a new party gets on the ballot, the presidential candidate of that newly qualifying party still must worry whether that party will nominate him or her or not. Also, Hawaii points out that a party has the burden of holding a national convention. Hawaii requires qualified parties that place a presidential nominee on the ballot to participate in a national presidential convention, but Hawaii has no rules requiring the national convention to be a large gathering. In 2008, when Nader created the Independent Party in Hawaii to take advantage of the easier rules for parties than for independent presidential candidates, that party’s “national convention” was just a handful of people.