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Democratic Party v. Wisconsin

United States Supreme Court
450 U.S. 107 (1981)


The Democratic Party of the United States (National Party) (defendant) prohibited non-Democrats from participating in selecting delegates to its national convention. Wisconsin election law permitted non-Democrats to vote in the Democratic primary. Wisconsin law then required its delegates to the national convention to vote in accordance with the results of the open primary. The law thus required Wisconsin delegates to vote for a candidate chosen in part by non-Democrats, in violation of the National Party’s rules. The State of Wisconsin (plaintiff) brought suit, seeking a declaratory judgment that its election law was constitutional. Wisconsin claimed several interests it sought to uphold with the law, which included ensuring the integrity of elections, ensuring a private ballot, increasing voter participation, and preventing voter harassment. The Wisconsin Supreme Court upheld the Wisconsin law. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Stewart, J.)

Dissent (Powell, J.)

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