Aug 29 2012

Oklahoma Attorney General Ruled on August 17 that Americans Elect May Not Place a Presidential Candidate on the Ballot, but Kept the Opinion a Secret, and Tricked Libertarians Into Postponing the Ballot Access Lawsuit

Source: Ballot Access News

Oklahoma state officials have acted to keep Gary Johnson off the Oklahoma ballot. On August 17, the Attorney General issued a 20-page opinion saying the State Board of Elections should disregard the action of the state officers of Americans Elect, who had nominated Gary Johnson for President on July 21. But, he kept this opinion a secret from the Americans Elect Party state officers. UPDATE: here is an Oklahoma news story.

He also kept it a secret from Jim Linger, attorney for the Libertarian Party ballot access lawsuit. But he told Linger on the phone that the Attorney General’s office, and himself, did not lend any credence to the claim of national leaders of Americans Elect that the party should be removed from the ballot. Therefore, Linger, feeling optimistic about Gary Johnson being on the ballot as the Americans Elect presidential nominee, voluntarily agreed on August 20 to postpone further legal action in the Libertarian Party’s ballot access lawsuit (which had been filed on January 31, 2012) until next year. The lawsuit had been stalled for two months because the state’s expert witness, Professor Clifford Jones, was out of the United States.

The Attorney General’s opinion, which was only made known to the public on August 29, says that because the national leaders filed the notice of intent to qualify a political party last year, the wishes of the national leaders of Americans Elect (who don’t want any Americans Elect candidates on the ballot for any office in 2012), should be respected, and the state officers of Americans Elect should not be respected. The Attorney General Opinion refers to the state officers as “the local group”. The Attorney General’s Opinion mentions that the national leaders of Americans Elect have a trademark on the name “Americans Elect”, but the Opinion does not mention any case law to support the idea that trademark controls this case. On January 19, 2012, the 9th circuit ruled that trademark law has no relevance to political party names. That decision is Washington State Republican Party v Washington State Grange, 676 F.3d 784. Nor does the Attorney General Opinion acknowledge that there are Americans Elect Party nominees in Arizona this year for Congress and county office.

It is likely that the state officers of Americans Elect will sue the State Board of Elections to safeguard their ability to place a presidential nominee on the ballot. The state chair of Americans Elect, Rex Lawhorn, was an original supporter of Americans Elect, from the very beginning of the creation of Americans Elect. He worked hard to set up facebook pages and physical meetings of his fellow Americans Elect members and enthusiasts.

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