Nader v. Keith

385 F.3d 729 (2004)

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Nader v. Keith

United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
385 F.3d 729 (2004)

KS

Facts

Ralph Nader (plaintiff) announced his independent presidential candidacy in February 2004. Because Nader had not been nominated by a political party that received at least 5 percent of the votes in the most recent statewide election, Illinois election law required that Nader submit nominating petitions signed by at least 25,000 qualified voters in Illinois. Additionally, each of the voter-petitioners needed to include the address at which the petitioner was registered to vote. Lastly, the petitions had to be submitted to the state board of election at least 134 days before the general election. To be part of the 2004 general election, Nader’s nominating petitions were due on June 21, 2004, and on that date, Nader turned in over 32,000 petitions. More than 19,000 of the petitions were challenged, with the principal challenge being that the voter-petitioner was not registered to vote at the address provided. The state board of election held an administrative hearing on the Nader petitions, striking 12,327 petitions that did not include the address at which the voter-petitioner was registered to vote and depressing Nader’s total petitions below the 25,000 required. Nader continued to collect new petitions; however, the state board of elections refused to consider the new nominating petitions, as they were untimely submitted after the June 21 due date. Nader sued John Keith (defendant), chairman of the Illinois State Board of Elections, arguing that the rules requiring that the nominating petitions be submitted with the addresses of the registered voters 134 days before the election were an unreasonable burden to third-party and independent, nonparty candidates. Nader sought a preliminary injunction ordering his name to be included on the ballot. The US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois denied Nader’s request for a preliminary injunction, and Nader appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Posner, J.)

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