On August 15th, the Libertarian Party in Washington State petitioned to have Mitt Romney’s name removed from the Republican ticket in November. They are claiming that the GOP is no longer ‘significant’ enough to qualify as a major party under Washington law.
Chapter 29A of the Revised Code of Washington defines a major party as:
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.
The lawsuit by the Libertarian Party claims that Republican Dino Rossi, who received 48% of the vote for the U.S Senate in 2010, was not officially nominated by the GOP. Therefore, no Republican nominee qualifies to be on the November ballot, because no Senate candidate reached the ‘magic number’ of votes.
Much to no one’s surprise, the GOP disagrees. Per the Associated Press, the Republican-led state election committee points to an administrative code that essential repealed the rules cited above. Chairman of the committee, Sam Reed, argues that the enacted election regulation of 2004, defines a major political party as, “a party whose presidential candidate received more than five percent of the vote in the last white house vote”.
Using this standard, both the Republican and Democrat party qualify as major political party, and should both be represented on the presidential ballot come November.
But whose definition is the correct definition?
John Mills, the attorney representing the Libertarian Party, calls for a separation of powers. He argues that laws passed by the state legislature carry more weight than regulations passed by separate government agencies.
“As a legal matter, that’s kind of a frivolous argument,” Mills said. The Legislature hasn’t repealed the old laws, and an effort to make those changes a few years ago failed.
State Republican Party Chairman Kirby Wilbur is calling the lawsuit “silly.”
However, does any of this really matter? If you know anything about the Electoral College and how states lean, you know that Washington state is almost a guaranteed Democratic state every presidential election. So does it even really matter if Romney is on the ticket? Some say no, but Republicans in Washington will make sure Romney is on their ticket, that I am sure of.
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