The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Maria Archuleta, (212) 519-7808 or 549-2666;

ACLU to Argue in Appeals Court That South Carolina's Ballot Access Law Is Unconstitutional

Group Says "Sore Loser" Statute Violates Free Association Rights


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
party's nomination.

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

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.
1100 East Main Street, Suite 501
Richmond, Virginia 23219-3517

The ACLU's legal brief in the case is
available at:

More information on the work of the
ACLU Voting Rights Project is available at:

The American Civil Liberties Union was founded in 1920 and is our nation's guardian of liberty. The ACLU works in the courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to all people in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States.

(212) 549-2666