Dem 51
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GOP 49
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Newton's Third Law of Ballot Access?

It would seem, at least based on the events of the past few days, that every time a presidential ballot access question is resolved, another one must arise to take its place.

To start, Ohio Republicans have finally pulled themselves together enough to address the silly Joe Biden ballot-access question, and have passed a resolution granting the Democrats a deadline waiver, which Gov. Mike DeWine has signed. It's not yet clear if the blue team will go forward with plans to hold a "virtual convention" a couple of weeks before the actual convention, since that is no longer necessary.

But, just as that question was being put to bed, a new ballot access question emerged, this one affecting the fellow on the other side of the contest. As we all know, thanks to Arizona, Republicans are huge fans of state laws passed back during the Civil War, when the states in question were territories. And so, they will surely love this law, passed by the Washington territorial legislature in 1865:

Any of the following causes may be asserted by a registered voter to challenge the right to assume office of a candidate declared elected to that office, to challenge the right of a candidate to appear on the general election ballot after a primary, or to challenge certification of the result of an election on any measure:...

(3) Because the person whose right is being contested was, previous to the election, convicted of a felony by a court of competent jurisdiction, the conviction not having been reversed nor the person's civil rights restored after the conviction.

Sound like anyone you know?

Karma being what it is, in view of what happened in Ohio, a challenge to Donald Trump's eligibility for the ballot cannot happen until he is officially chosen as the Republican candidate at the Republican National Convention. And reportedly, Washingtonians are lining up to be the one to make the challenge. How quickly the process will play out, and whether and how the U.S. Supreme Court will get involved, is anyone's guess.

Obviously, Trump isn't going to win Washington State, so if he is somehow kept off the ballot, it won't affect the electoral vote tally. However, if there are no Trump coattails, it could affect some of the House races in the state—say, in the R+5 WA-03 (represented by Democrat Marie Gluesenkamp Perez), or the D+1 WA-08 (represented by Democrat Kim Schrier). Further, the coverage of the legal battle in Washington will be another round of headlines that contain the words "Donald Trump" and "felon," which is not good PR for the wannabe president. And finally, once this story gets out, there are going to be people in 49 states and D.C. poring over the state's election codes to see if they also have a law like this. It's not impossible that one or more swing states just might have a similar law, particularly in one of the Western states where constitutions were written substantially by anti-corruption reformers. (Z)

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