« JOTWELL: Kalajdzic on Freer on class actions in the Roberts Court | Main | Who Ultimately Runs "Student-Run" Law Reviews? Not Law Review Editors. »

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

State Ballot Eligibility Regulation

Derek Muller has a post arguing that states lack the authority to enforce federal constitutional eligibility requirements against federal congressional candidates. He says this means that 15-year olds can, say, run for the Senate even though they are obviously ineligible. Only Congress can (if such a person wins) exclude them from office.

There are several problems with this argument. But one is that I don't think this tracks actual practice. I once represented a woman who was excluded from the ballot for the House of Representatives because she was too young. (Basically, I made Muller's argument and lost.) I find it hard to believe that I'm only person to ever have had such a case. States also commonly require candidates for Congress to swear that they are eligible to serve, citing the Federal Constitution. If you don't complete the form, you can't run.

If Muller's argument were correct, I would also tend to think that all least one state would have a similar rule for state legislative elections. Many state constitutions just copied the Qualifications Clause in Article One, Section Five. I do not know of any state that reads this clause to say that state election officials are disabled from enforcing state constitutional eligibility requirements on legislative candidates. (But on this point I'm happy to be corrected if I'm wrong.)



Posted by Gerard Magliocca on January 11, 2022 at 09:46 PM | Permalink


The comments to this entry are closed.