Groups File Amicus Brief in Support of Ballot Access

Common Cause Indiana and the League of Women Voters Indiana have filed an amicus brief at the Indiana Supreme Court, encouraging the state’s high court to uphold the unconstitutionality of the 2021 affiliation statue.

John Rust is a 2024 candidate for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate in Indiana. He filed suit against the state in September 2023 due a 2021 state law that requires candidates in party primaries to have voted in the last two primaries for their respective party, or to get the signature of the top county party official in the county in which they reside if they have not voted in the last two party primaries.

Rust had voted in only one Republican primary as of September 2023, and the Republican Party chair in his county has refused to sign his candidate paperwork.  Thus, Rust is denied ballot access due to lack of voting history and his inability to obtain the party official’s signature granting him ballot access.

The trial court ruled in favor of Rust, claiming the “affiliation statue” infringed on Rust’s and his supporters’ 1st and 14th amendment rights. Common Cause Indiana and The League of Women Voters Indiana are asking the Indiana Supreme Court to uphold that ruling.  

“Indiana should not be trying to unfairly restrict candidates’ access to the ballot, limiting choices in a state that already battles low turnout and voter apathy. We should work to increase both ballot access and voting,” said Julia Vaughn, Executive Director of Common Cause Indiana. “Although we usually don’t get involved in internal party matters, this statute is ultimately harming voters, so when the opportunity to share our thoughts became available, we were motivated to do so.”    

“We hope the Indiana Supreme Court upholds the lower court ruling that the affiliation state is unconstitutional, and that Indiana voters have more choices when it comes to candidates on the ballot in the 2024 elections,” said Linda Hanson, President of the League of Women Voters of Indiana.  “Our overly restrictive ballot access laws limit those choices, and the trial court judge was right to rule that it infringes on Mr. Rust’s constitutional rights, and those same rights for all voters.”  

The brief was filed January 11, 2024. The case number is 23S-PL-371 at the Indiana Supreme Court. You can view the amicus brief here. The Indiana Supreme Court will hear the case at 9 a.m. on Monday, February 12, 2024. 

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