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Massachusetts: Libertarians file suit when state won't allow tag-team petitions

A Politicker MA report begins: The American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts has filed a lawsuit against the Massachusetts Elections Division seeking to ensure the Libertarian presidential nominee appears on the November ballot in Massachusetts.

At issue is whether state election officials allow the Libertarian party to substitute Bob Barr and Wayne Root, its nominees for president and vice president, in place of George Phillies, a Massachusetts Libertarian that sought his party's nomination, on the November ballot. In July of 2007, Phillies asked officials if the Libertarian nominee could be substituted for his name on the ballot because he had to begin gathering the requisite number of signatures well before the Libertarians May 25 convention where its nominee would be chosen.

"The central issue in this case is the restriction of ballot access for third parties, which has been and continues to be a problem in Massachusetts," John Reinstein, Legal Director for the ACLU of Massachusetts, said in a statement.

When Phillies failed to garner the nomination at the convention, he contacted election officials asking to substitute Barr's name for his on the ballot. On June 5, the ACLU said, the elections division denied the request and said Barr could not rely on the signatures Phillies had already collected. The Libertarian Party, the officials said according to the ACLU, would have to repeat the signature gathering process for Barr to appear on the ballot. -- ACLU Mass. files lawsuit for Libertarian candidate to appear on Nov. ballot | Politicker MA

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