Courthouse News reports:
Democratic organizations and activists claim in court that Florida’s “ballot order” law unfairly puts their candidates at a disadvantage by listing Republican candidates first year after year.
In a federal lawsuit filed in Tallahassee, the Democrats contend the statute mandating candidates of the governor’s political party to be listed first on a ballot creates “position bias” and gives the governing party an unfair advantage.
The Democratic National Committee, Democratic Governors Association, Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee and the liberal group Priorities USA brought the suit against Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner. Florida Republicans gain nearly 3 percentage points over the Democratic contender when listed first on the ballot, according to the complaint.
About a dozen states have similar laws.
Florida has a law that will put Republican candidates first on the ballot in every race in 2018. Political scientists know that this gives GOP candidates and unfair advantage due to “position bias.” Today we sued Florida to create a level playing field for all candidates.
— Marc E. Elias (@marceelias) May 24, 2018
Ballot placement can have a small, but actual, impact on close elections. That’s why many places randomize ballot order (at least when using electronic voting machines that also have a verified paper trail) https://t.co/cfPxfjMSRr
— Josh Douglas (@JoshuaADouglas) May 25, 2018
Florida law uses an alternate mechanism for determining ballot order – rather than flipping a coin, it’s based on the far more democratic principle of whichever party received more votes in the last gubernatorial election. When a Democrat is governor, Democrats appear first.
— michaelmorley11 (@michaelmorley11) May 25, 2018