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ACLU to Argue in Appeals Court That South Carolina's Ballot Access Law Is Unconstitutional
Group Says "Sore Loser" Statute Violates Free Association Rights
RICHMOND, Va. - May 10 - The American Civil Liberties Union will
argue in a federal appeals court in Virginia on Tuesday, May 11 that
South Carolina's so-called "sore loser" statute unconstitutionally
violates the right of voters and parties to select the candidates of
their choosing. The statute prevents candidates who seek nominations
from multiple parties from appearing on the ballot if they lose any one
The statute prevented Eugene Platt, the Green Party's chosen candidate for the state House of Representatives, from appearing on the ballot in the November 2008 elections because he later lost the Democratic Party's primary nomination.
South Carolina is one of only a handful of states that permit fusion voting, which allows multiple political parties to nominate the same candidate. However, the state's "sore loser" statute blocks a candidate from appearing on the ballot if he or she loses any party's nomination even if another party selects that candidate as its nominee.
The ACLU's lawsuit charges that the statute imposes an unjustified burden on the First Amendment's free association rights of candidates and voters as well as political parties' right to select their preferred candidates.
Oral arguments in South Carolina Green Party et al. v. South Carolina State Election Commission et al., challenging South Carolina's "sore loser" statute
Bryan Sells, ACLU Voting Rights Project senior staff attorney, will argue the case before a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
9:30 a.m. EDT
The Lewis F. Powell, Jr., U.S. Courthouse
1100 East Main Street, Suite 501
Richmond, Virginia 23219-3517
The ACLU's legal brief in the case is available at: www.aclu.org/voting-rights/
More information on the work of the ACLU Voting Rights Project is available at: www.votingrights.org