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  • Writer's pictureOliver Hall

CCD Appeals Cases Challenging Exorbitant Cost of Ballot Access in Indiana and Texas

For the last several years, CCD has been in federal court challenging the ballot access requirements in two of the most restrictive states in the nation -- Indiana and Texas.

During that litigation, we presented uncontested evidence demonstrating that it now costs $500,000 or more for a statewide Independent or Minor Party to qualify for the ballot in Indiana, and in Texas it costs $1,000,000 or more.

Why does it cost so much?

Partly it's due to the huge number of signatures each state requires Independents and Minor Parties to submit -- about 40,000 or more in Indiana, and 80,000 to 100,000 or more in Texas -- plus all kinds of onerous requirements and restrictions on the signature collection process itself.

But another critical factor is that neither state has updated or improved its petitioning procedures since they were adopted more than 100 years ago.

Today -- just like the horse and buggy days -- Independents and Minor Parties must demonstrate voters' support by obtaining their signatures on paper nomination petitions signed by hand and in person.

That process might have been sufficient a century ago, when states only required a few hundred or a thousand signatures for ballot access, but it's woefully inadequate today, when signature requirements have skyrocketed.

And just like the signature requirements themselves, the cost of complying with them has skyrocketed.

In both cases, CCD argued that the exorbitant cost of complying with these antiquated and obsolete procedures is an unconstitutional financial barrier to political participation.

And in both cases, federal district courts improperly rejected the argument by refusing to consider our uncontested evidence establishing that cost.

Here is the Texas decision. And here is the Indiana decision.

The Texas decision was appealed to the Fifth Circuit, and the Indiana decision was appealed to the Seventh Circuit.

Both appeals have been fully briefed and await oral argument.

We're looking for a reversal in each case. Courts can reject our claims, but they cannot disregard the evidence. And if they consider that evidence, they should hold the laws in both states unconstitutional.

See the Indiana appellate brief here.

See the Texas appellate brief here.

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