The Case for Re-legalizing Fusion
Why Laws Banning Fusion Voting Should Be Overturned
For decades, political parties across America routinely “cross-nominated” the same candidate, giving voters more choices and enhancing their ability to participate meaningfully in the political process. Unfortunately, state laws passed a century ago for the express purpose of stifling electoral competition now prevent cross-nomination, or fusion, in nearly every state. These laws banning fusion are unconstitutional. That’s why the Center for Ballot Freedom is working with people across the political spectrum to re-legalize fusion by filing lawsuits citing their state constitutions, which often offer strong protections of their rights to vote, free speech, association, and equal protection.
Anti-fusion laws violate:
THE RIGHT TO VOTE
Many state constitutions explicitly state that voters shall have the right to vote for the candidates of their choice. Therefore laws preventing a party from listing a candidate on their ballot line because they already appear on another line infringe directly on the right to vote.
THE RIGHT TO FREE SPEECH AND POLITICAL ASSOCIATION
Limiting the candidates a party can endorse prevents parties from associating with and campaigning for whomever they please. This limits voter’s choice; in some instances they can only associate with a candidate through a party they may not wish to associate with. In the aggregate, the anti-fusion laws suppress the development of all minor parties, even when much of the electorate is eager to associate outside of the two major parties.
THE RIGHT TO ASSEMBLE AND MAKE OPINIONS KNOWN TO REPRESENTATIVES
Because the anti-fusion laws preclude voters outside of the Democratic and Republican Parties from working together in the political process to convey their views to their representatives, these fundamental rights are severely burdened.
The anti-fusion laws violate the guarantee of equal protection by imposing disproportionate and unjustifiable burdens on minor parties, their voters, and their nominees. For example, while major parties are automatically listed on the ballot, minor parties and their candidates often have to clear arbitrary and burdensome petitioning requirements. The result discriminates against minor parties and their candidates, denying them an equal opportunity to stand before the voters.