Courts back two capitalist parties’ ballot monopoly

By Terry Evans
November 18, 2019

Confirming its role as a guardian of the capitalist rulers’ two-party system, the black-robed Supreme Court justices continue to refuse to hear any cases that involve opening up greater access to the ballot for third-party candidates. However, they do hear — and uphold — cases brought by either Democrats or Republicans to further restrict getting on the ballot. 

On Oct. 7 it rejected hearing an appeal of a decision by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals that overturned a lower court decision lifting onerous petitioning requirements in special elections in Alabama. 

Since 1992 the Supreme Court has cursorily rejected review of all 60 election law cases brought by parties other than the Democrats or Republicans. 

Restricting the franchise for working people is a bipartisan effort. Republicans have promoted state laws that make it harder for people to register, or vote early, laws aimed at African Americans. Both parties have backed laws that push deadlines for filing by third parties back further and further. To field a slate of third-party candidates in the November 2020 campaign in California, you have to gather 65,000 valid signatures and have filed by Oct. 2, 2019! 

Democrats are pushing measures that effectively throw opponent parties off the ballot. New York state will hear a proposal backed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the state’s Democrats that will jack up the number of votes a political party needs to get to retain a spot on the ballot for gubernatorial contests by five times — from 50,000 to 250,000. Their target is the Working Families Party — which always back Democrats, but sometimes promotes challengers against nominees inside the state party organization it considers not to be progressive enough. 

And many workers are directly barred from voting. Thirty-two states impose restrictions on former felons right to vote, excluding millions of workers from the franchise.