Spartanburg Herald-Journal supports ballot access for Eugene Platt as a Green

The editorial page of Spartanburg’s daily paper, the Herald-Journal, my hometown paper, and incidentally, my employer, is supporting Eugene Platt‘s ballot access fight to appear on the November ballot for State Representative in South Carolina’s 115th District.

The ACLU is currently suing the SC Electoral commission for denying Platt ballot access as the nominee of the Green Party when he subsequently entered and lost the Democratic primary. I’ve posted on this before and a list of references will follow the editorial.

Its good for Mr. Platt’s situation and the wider South Carolina media is taking an interest in his case, and that is good for ballot access in general

‘Sore loser’ law
A law that allows one

Spartanburg Herald-Journal, Opinions

Published: Monday, August 11, 2008 at 3:15 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, August 8, 2008 at 6:40 p.m.

Democratic Party voters shouldn’t be able to dictate who represents the Green Party on the ballot. That’s why South Carolina’s “sore loser” law should be struck down.

The law is the subject of a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union against the state Election Commission on behalf of Eugene Platt. Platt ran for a state House seat from Charleston as a Democrat but lost the primary.

Now the Green Party wants Platt to represent it on the ballot, but state law won’t allow it. The “sore loser” law prohibits a candidate who loses a primary from appearing on the general election ballot as another party’s candidate.

The ACLU claims the law is unconstitutional, and it’s right.

The Democratic Party has a genuine interest in preserving the integrity of its nominating primaries. Democrats who have been
rejected from the primary shouldn’t continue to work against the party’s nominee.

But that interest is dwarfed by the right of other parties to nominate whoever they choose to represent them on the ballot. The law is being used to deprive the Green Party of its chosen candidate.

The worst aspect of the law is that the Green Party will lose its candidate because of the choice of Democratic voters in that party’s primary. In other words, the law allows Democratic Party voters to reject a Green Party candidate.

The “sore loser” law also obstructs South Carolina’s law allowing “fusion voting” – one person running as the candidate of two or more parties, appearing more than once on the ballot and combining his votes.

The lawsuit points out that, under the sore loser law, if a candidate planning to run under the banners of several parties runs in any primary, he runs the risk of not being able to appear on the ballot under any party – just because of the votes of the members of one party.

The “sore loser” law is an invention of the members of the two major parties. Its intention is to protect those parties and their monopoly on the political process. It makes sure that candidates rejected by one of these parties are out of the campaign.

The court should strike down the law. It narrows the political process. It is dedicated to the preservation of the current power structure, not the effective expression of the will of the people through elections.

This story appeared in print on page A6

URL for the original editorial is here.

ACLU page on the case:

Green Party Watch reported on the story here.

The story was subsequently picked up by the Associated Press and printed in The State of Columbia, and the Herald Journal.

The Charleston Post & Courier published their own story by Yvonne Wenger.

The ACLU’s press release was picked up by the widely read liberal blog, by the election law blog, by the Independent Political Report, and of course by Ballot Access News.

Eugene Platt is an excellent candidate for the State House seat. He is elected local official serving on the James Island Public Service District Commission since 1993. He is a Charleston native who previously ran for the same State House seat in 2006, nearly upsetting the Republican incumbent.

Subsequent to the Democratic Primary, Mr. Platt announced that he was leaving the Democratic Party and was joining the Green Party as its Downstate Coordinator – making him effectively South Carolina’s first elected Green.


Posted on August 11, 2008, in Eugene Platt, Green Party, Politics, South Carolina and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

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