Friday, May 30


A judge has upheld North Carolina’s high standard requiring tens of thousands of signatures to be collected before a group is officially recognized as a political party, ruling there’s no fundamental right for the party of a voter’s choice to be on the ballot. The Libertarian Party sued the state in 2005, arguing requirements to get on the ballot and stay on it are too onerous, violating party members’ freedom of speech and association. The Green Party of North Carolina later joined the lawsuit. Superior Court Judge Robert Hobgood, who heard the case in a non-jury trial earlier this month in Wake County, ruled May 27 that the “state has a compelling interest in requiring a preliminary modicum of support before recognizing a political party and placing its candidates on the ballot.” Hobgood wrote that the state has an interest “in avoiding confusion, deception and even frustration of the democratic process in the general election.”. . . This year, under the law, groups had to collect nearly 70,000 voter signatures to receive official party status - one of the highest thresholds in the country, according to the party leaders and candidates who sued. First Amendment Center

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a ruling that would have forced Mississippians to register by political party and show photo identification at the polls to be able to vote. U.S. District Judge Allen Pepper in Mississippi ruled last year that the state should re-register all voters to allow people to declare themselves as Democrats, Republicans or members of another party. Or, Pepper said, people could register as unaffiliated with any party. Pepper had said Mississippi must restructure its party primary system by Aug. 31, 2008. Under current law, Mississippians do not declare a party affiliation when they register to vote. First Amendment Center

Senate candidate Al Franken 's satirical and explicit take on virtual sex and other topics, published in Playboy magazine eight years ago, is drawing concern instead of laughter from some Minnesota Democrats.

Rep. Betty McCollum, who supported the comedian's rival Mike Ciresi until he dropped out of the race for the party's nomination for the Senate, complained Thursday that she and other Minnesota Democrats will be on the same November ballot as a candidate "who has pornographic writings that are indefensible.". . . At one point in the Playboy piece titled "Porn-O-Rama!" Franken called the Internet a "terrific learning tool," writing that his 12-year-old son was able to use it for a sixth-grade report on bestiality.

At a Wisconsin town hall meeting, John McCain told the crowd we are "succeeding" in Iraq and that things are "quiet" in the Iraqi city of Mosul. That same day, there were two suicide bombings in the not-so sleepy town and a third in a neighboring area.