On April 27, U.S. District Court Judge Sam Crow, a semi-retired Reagan appointee, upheld Kansas' policy of providing no write-in line on voter registration forms, concerning the voter's choice of political party.
Constitution Party of Kansas v Biggs, 10-4043.
Here is the 17 page opinion.
The Constitution Party is not ballot-qualified in Kansas but has placed nominees on the ballot through the independent candidate procedure.
The 10th circuit had ruled in 1984 that Colorado must provide write-in space on voter registration forms, so that voters could register as members of unqualified parties.
Kansas is in the 10th circuit, so Judge Crow
should have followed the 1984 decision, which is called Baer v Meyer.
said that if Kansas showed a blank line on the voter registration form, the voter filling in the form might have bad handwriting and it would be difficult for election officials to understand what the voter had written.
This is not a good argument, because the same thing could be said about the voter's address on the form, but somehow Kansas officials manage to cope with reading handwriting for addresses and other hand-written entries on the form.
Also, Judge Crow
said letting voters register into an unqualified party would make extra work for elections officials.
Ironically, the Libertarian Party of Kansas had filed a similar lawsuit in 1987, when it wasn't a qualified party, and it had won the case.
Kansas conceded the case, which was called Merritt v Graves, and started printing a blank line on voter registration forms so that voters could register as members of an unqualified party.
But, then, in late 1990, the Libertarian Party successfully petitioned to become a qualified party, so the state then stopped printing the blank line on the voter registration forms.
did not mention Merritt v Graves.