Michigan Libertarian Party to Sue over Gary Johnson’s Absence from November Ballot

Due to a rule in Michigan that puts a timed deadline on when a candidate for office can change political parties, Libertarian Party presidential candidate Gov. Gary Johnson will likely not appear on the November ballot. His sin: missing the deadline by three minutes. Via Talking Points Memo:

Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson (R) told the Libertarian Party last month that Johnson filed his paperwork withdrawing from the GOP presidential primary back in November 2011 three minutes too late (4:03 instead of 4 p.m., according to a letter from Johnson’s office to the Libertarian Party), and thus fell prey to the state’s “sore-loser law,” which bars candidates who lose in a party primary from switching to another party to run in the general election. Most other states have similar laws; but rarely are they used to keep presidential candidates off ballot the ballot, according to experts.

Johnson’s supporters accuse the Michigan GOP establishment of acting to keep their candidate from hurting Gov. Mitt Romney’s chances in the state. The Libertarian Party of Michigan plans to sue next week to try to get him back on the ballot. Even if they lose the suit, though, they have an awesome backup plan:

Johnson supporters located another libertarian named Gary Johnson (he’s a businessman in Texas) and are prepared to nominate him for the party’s Michigan ballot line if the New Mexican Gary Johnson doesn’t make it. Supporters of the former Gov. Johnson say they will allow a sham Johnson campaign in Michigan and still win votes away from major party candidates.

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  • ||

    Johnson supporters located another libertarian named Gary Johnson (he’s a businessman in Texas) and are prepared to nominate him for the party’s Michigan ballot line if the New Mexican Gary Johnson doesn’t make it. Supporters of the former Gov. Johnson say they will allow a sham Johnson campaign in Michigan and still win votes away from major party candidates.

    This has awesome '80s party movie written all over it.

  • Banjos||

    Extra awesomeness if the Gary Johnson they found was recently deceased and they have pretend he is alive for the duration of the election.

  • Whiterun Guard||

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T....._Gentleman

    I mean, 1992, but yeah. And I don't remember them pretending he was alive though. Then again, that was a lot of beers ago.

  • Voros McCracken||

    The upshot of the movie was Eddie Murphy being moved to help the poor kids who had been given cancer by powerlines and defeat the corrupt bigwigs who were stopping this great and noble cause.

  • ||

    Johnson supporters located another libertarian named Gary Johnson (he’s a businessman in Texas) and are prepared to nominate him for the party’s Michigan ballot line if the New Mexican Gary Johnson doesn’t make it.

    I love the hijinks, but I don't see how this is going to fly. Won't any votes for "Gary Johnson" in Michigan be for the wrong Gary Johnson? Will hard-core libertarians have to write in "Gary Johnson" instead of checking the "Gary Johnson" box?

  • ||

    Sure, they'll be for the "wrong" one, but it doesn't really matter, since it's almost certain that Johnson won't win the presidency, and most intelligent people will understand what's really going on. There's nothing preventing them from doing it legally, so what's the problem?

  • ||

    Oh, I don't have a problem with it. Fucking with election officials makes me a little giddy. My point is just that a vote for this guy isn't a vote for "the real" Gary Johnson.

  • Xenocles||

    It only matters which Gary Johnson the chosen electors vote for.

  • Xenocles||

    Which is of course to say that it doesn't matter at all.

  • CE||

    Actually, there won't be any votes for either Gary Johnson. If the "Gary Johnson" on the ballot actually wins, it means Michigan will get a slate of Electoral College voters pledged to vote for the other Gary Johnson. Since they'll be in on the ruse, they'll blow off that pledge and vote for the Gary Johnson they want to vote for.

  • ||

    That backup plan is the coolest idea ever. I have another idea. Nominate someone named Barack Obama in blue states, and someone named Mitt Romney in red states. There have got to a few out there, right?

  • The Hammer||

    Not once the drones get finished.

  • Torontonian||

    I'd be willing to change my name to something that would take votes away from mainstream candidates.

    How about a name like "Mark Here".

  • GW||

    "Free pussy"

    That should get some votes.

  • ||

    Maybe something like "Hotel Coral Essex".

  • Xenocles||

    Just give me a few minutes with some wire cutters.

  • PaganPriestess||

    I won't be happy until "None of the Above" is on the ballot.

  • Emmerson Biggins||

    None Ofthe Above

  • Robert||

    This whole legal issue is silly. gary Johnson wasn't a member of the Republican Party of Mich., was he? More importantly, he's not the candidate, the presidential electors are. So how can a "sore loser" law in Mich. possibly apply to him?

  • CE||

    It can't.

  • Robert||

    Say, is that businessman in Tex. the Gary T. Johnson who was a candidate nominated at least once by their LP in the 1980s? And whom people probably mixed up with the W. Gary Johnson whom LP ran for governor of NY?

  • Shmevin||

    Also, what's the ostensible point of "sore loser" laws? Why does it matter if major party primary losers run third party candidacies? If they couldn't win the primary in a major party, they have almost no shot as a minor candidate overall, and if they *do* win, it's obviously the will of the people.

    I get that the real purpose of sore loser laws is to make it that much more difficult to voice surmountable dissent against the establishment, but is there a plausible explanation that would hold any ground with the general public?

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