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Free Citizen

This writer espouses individual liberty, free markets, and limited government.

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Location: Jackson, Mississippi, United States

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Oklahoma Case May Affect Mississippi

In 1998, Mississippi's already-difficult initiative process was dealt a body blow when out-of-state petition circulators were outlawed. As the article below notes, the 10th Circuit today became the fourth federal appeals court to strike down such a ban on non-resident circulators. The case that bears watching is Brewer v. Nader, in which the state of Arizona has asked the U. S. Supreme Court to review the 9th Circuit's ruling. It looks as though the courts are going to make it possible to invalidate such bans in Mississippi and other states. ~~ SR

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From Ballot Access News:

On December 18, the 10th Circuit struck down Oklahoma’s ban on out-of-state circulators for initiatives. Yes on Term Limits v Savage, no. 07-6233. The decision is here. It is 16 pages long and says that there is no strong evidence that out-of-state circulators are more likely to engage in fraud than in-state circulators. Also it says that if Oklahoma needs to question circulators after the petition has been submitted, the state is free to pass a law saying that circulators must agree to return for questioning.

There are now four circuits that have invalidated bans on out-of-state circulators (the 6th, 7th, 9th and 10th), and only one circuit, the 8th, that has upheld them. Furthermore, the 8th Circuit decision was from North Dakota, a state that has no voter registration, and therefore the 8th Circuit decision can be said not to apply to the other 49 states that do have voter registration.

This decision is good news for Paul Jacob and his associates, who have been in jeopardy of a criminal prosecution for conspiring to bring out-of-state circulators into Oklahoma.

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