Category Archives: Eugene Platt
Over on the South Carolina Green Party blog, I’ve posted a round up of recent news on Eugene Platt’s case in state court concerning the party loyalty oaths.
Platt, who as served on the James Island Public Service Commission for many years, nearly won the SC House District 115 running as a Democrat in 2006. In 2008 Platt sought and was awarded the Green Party nomination for the same seat, then ran in the Democratic Primary hoping to set up a fusion campaign. Platt lost the Democratic Party primary, then was kept off the ballot as a Green when the SC State Election Commission upheld the larger party’s loyalty oath. This was despite the overall legality of fusion and the oath’s technical application to write-in and petition campaigns only.
Lawyers representing the ACLU Voting Rights Project argued the case of Temple v Platt’s case before the South Carolina Supreme Court on Wednesday, January 6. The case arises from the Democratic Party of South Carolina’s successful move to keep Eugene Platt off the November 2008 ballot by means of a loyalty oath. As Ballot Access News helpfully explains:
The Post & Courier is conducting an online poll, asking “Should a political candidate be able to register with more than one party to run for elected office?” We encourage Greens and other supporters of independent politics to visit the poll and vote ‘yes.’ The poll is here: http://www.postandcourier.com/polls/2010/jan/should-political-candidate-be-able-register-more-o/.
Update (August 29, 2008):The Mchael E. Moritz College of Law at Ohio State University has a very complete upload of materials submitted for this case on both sides here: http://moritzlaw.osu.edu/electionlaw/litigation/scgreenpartyv.scsec.php
Ballot Access News is reporting that the SC Democratic Party is seeking to intervene in the case of South Carolina Green Party et al, v. South Carolina State Election Commission et al. It is likely that judge Joseph F Anderson, Jr. will permit the SCDP to become party to the suit. Their standing could be based on the loyalty oath that Platt was required to sign before seeking the Democratic nomination.
The issue is whether someone who has already been nominated by a minor party, and who later runs in a major party primary and loses that primary, should be kept off the general election ballot entirely. South Carolina permits fusion. Although the U.S. Supreme Court upheld “sore loser” laws in 1974, Platt argues he isn’t a “sore loser”. He is an “ambitious winner”, i.e., someone who wins one party’s nomination and then tries for another party’s nomination.
Platt was already a party nominee when he entered the Democratic primary. Someone who wins one party primary then seeks electoral fusion with another party is an “ambitious winner.”
Someone who has ben rejected by one party before seeking the nomination of another, then might be a sore loser. The facts in this case are different.
There has been steady traffic to my posts here about Eugene Platt. The case has received some national coverage via Associated Press. I suppose it has gained some traction due to the similarities with the Democratic strategy of sinking progressive challengers, as in Pennsylvania in 2004 and 2006 and also Oregon. Of course the local media in Charleston have been reporting the story. Mr. Platt has been an elected official in Charleston County for more than ten years and nearly defeated the incumbent Republican running for this same State House seat in 2006.
The case could be decided anytime in time for Platt to be included on the ballot. The court has not yet made any of this paperwork available online. The ACLU’s filing is available on its website, here.