Libertarians sue to block Romney from Washington state ballot

Steven Nelson Associate Editor
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The Washington State Libertarian Party filed a lawsuit on Thursday asking that Mitt Romney be removed from the state’s November ballot.

The suit says that the state Republican Party should legally be considered a minor party because it did not officially nominate a Senate candidate in 2010.

Washington State law says, “‘Major political party’ means a political party of which at least one nominee for president, vice president, United States senator, or a statewide office received at least five percent of the total vote cast at the last preceding state general election in an even-numbered year.”

In 2010, the Republican Party did not nominate a Senate candidate at its convention, but the state’s non-partisan “top two” primary system resulted in Republican Dino Rossi appearing on the ballot. The Senate race was the only statewide contest in 2010.

If the lawsuit is successful, Republican candidate Mitt Romney would be removed from the ballot, as the deadline for minor party candidates to qualify has already passed.

The lawsuit asks for “an order declaring that the Washington State Republican Party is ‘minor party’ for purposes of the 2012 general election and directing the Secretary of State to issue ballots for the November election that do not contain the printed name of any Republican Party nominee.”

State Republican Party Chairman Kirby Wilbur said the lawsuit was a “silly matter” and that Rossi was indeed nominated by the party’s board before the 2010 election, although he was not nominated at the state convention.

“We have legal documents that show that,” Wilbur said.

Brian Zylstra, a spokesman for the Washington Secretary of State’s office, told The Daily Caller, “We expect [the lawsuit] will be dismissed.”

Although the definition cited in the Libertarian Party’s lawsuit “is still on the books, much of it is no longer operative because it has been impliedly repealed by Initiative 872,” which established the top two primary system in 2004, said Zylstra.

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