Post-certification signature challenge
The opposite of a post-certification signature challenge is a post-rejection signature recovery effort. This happens when an election official says that not enough signatures were collected to qualify a candidate or an initiative for the ballot because of various alleged irregularities or deficiencies in some of the signatures that were submitted. Although it is an expensive undertaking, when this happens, the candidate or the initiative's supporters can file a lawsuit contesting the failure to certify, attempting to "recover" enough of the invalidated signatures to meet the signature threshold, allowing initiative or candidate can appear on the ballot.
Post-certification challenges in 2008
- Maine Democratic Party v. Secretary of State. In this case, the Democrats sued (successfully) to have the name of independent U.S. Senate candidate Herb Hoffman removed from the ballot.
- Nevada Proposition 13. After certification, a post-certification lawsuit was filed by the state's AFL-CIO and on September 9, a judge ordered it removed from the ballot.
- Colorado Civil Rights Initiative.
- Colorado Right to Work Initiative.
- Greg Hodge signature challenge (2008).
- Jenkins v. Hale.
- Nebraska Civil Rights Initiative, 424 (2008).
2008 signature challenges
Initiatives, referenda and candidates where signature lawsuits were filed include:
- Frazee-Vergas school levy referendum (2008).
- Allegheny County drink tax referendum (2008).
Post-rejection signature recovery efforts
See also: Signature recovery lawsuits.
- Andy Dillon recall (2008). This effort succeeded, with a federal judge ordering that the Michigan Secretary of State re-count signatures that had been rejected under a provision of Michigan's recall law that the judge found to be unconstitutional. After re-counting the signatures, it was determined that there were sufficient valid signatures for the recall question to be placed on the November 4, 2008 ballot.
- Arizona Proposition 104 (affirmative action)
- Arizona Proposition 203 (the TIME initiative)
- Lemons v. Bradbury pertaining to Oregon Ballot Measure 303 (2008). This effort failed, with a panel of the Ninth Circuit saying that the results of the overall petition-checking process in Oregon should be upheld.
Notable post-certification challenges
In 2004, a series of events led Ralph Nader to file Nader v. Democratic National Committee and Nader v. McAuliffe. In October 2007, teams of attorneys refiled post-certification signature challenges in at least eighteen states whose election officials had certified Nader for the ballot as a presidential candidate, successfully having Nader's name struck from those ballots.
Objections to post-certification challenges
In a comment published in the Yale Law Journal in June 2006, Robert Yablon wrote, "Systems that encourage private challenges to candidate filings are particularly problematic because they allow partisan actors to target disfavored adversaries without appreciably advancing the state's legitimate interest in regulating the electoral process.":
- Washington Post, "Anti-Bias Law Wins In Md.'s High Court," September 10, 2008
- Las Vegas Review-Journal, "Initiatives' success rate so far a big zero," September 1, 2008
- Mercury News, "Judge rejects tax proposal," September 9, 2008 (dead link)
- Elections board investigating fraud
- North Dakota Forum, "Frazee-Vergas levy petition blocked," September 19, 2008
- Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, "Signature check for drink tax petition challenge ongoing," September 15, 2008
- Validation Procedures and the Burden of Ballot Access Regulations