Earlier this year, the Kentucky legislature changed the deadline for the nominees of qualified convention parties to file a declaration of candidacy, from April 1, to mid-January of an election year. Kentucky elects its statewide state offices in November 2019, as well as some partisan county offices. The bill, HB 114, took effect immediately.
On April 11, the Kentucky Libertarian Party filed a federal lawsuit against the new law, Sweeney v Crigler, e.d., 2:19cv-46. The complaint challenges the need for the nominees of a qualified convention party to file such declarations of candidacy so early in the year. Aside from that, the complaint also argues that it violates due process for the bill to have taken effect immediately. The party’s nominating convention this year was in early March, so the nominees had no chance to file their declarations by mid-January. The party is running for Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Auditor, Agriculture Commissioner, and some county offices.
The party is on the ballot but if it doesn’t win this lawsuit, it won’t be able to have any nominees on this year’s ballot. The case is assigned to U.S. District Court Judge William O. Bertelsman, a Carter appointee.
Constitutional ballot access cases filed by minor parties, and independent candidates, are now pending in Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Montana, New York, North Carolina, Utah, and Washington.