Thursday, January 31, 2008

Law Suit Coolness!

Wow! I'm surprised.

We won, or at least didn't lose. I was an expert witness in a case, where the ACLU and the Libs and the Greens are suing the state of NC to get the ballot access law changed.

And...well...read for yourself!

I have just been doing some research myself, and have supervised a dissertation, that shows that:

A. Easing ballot access makes the state-sponsored parties more accountable, and more responsive, to the citizens of the state. In particular, the Democrats are more liberal in states with better ballot access. It doesn't matter if a party actually enters on the left (Greens, for example). Just the THREAT of entry is enough to make the Dem candidates move left.

B. Better ballot access also seems to reduce corruption. Number of arrests, amount of money stolen, etc., all down if it is easier to get on the ballot.

(Nod to Anonyman, who was worried I might need a hug)

9 comments:

Angus said...

congrats dude! that is way cool. and ur using labels too!! double kudos.

JimPanzee said...

I'm certain you thought of this but just so I don't go spouting off half-cocked...how did the dissertation author measure the chicken-egg problem with the ballots. That is, how are you certain that easier ballot access makes more liberal Dems and that it wasn't that more liberal Dems made sure that ballot access was easier?

Oh, and also congratulations.

Michael said...

No, JimpanZ, you may well be right. That is why cross-section regressions frighten me.

All I would say is that it is a different equilibrium. My implied claim of causality may be quite wrong.

But it is likely true it is more complex than just left-right. In NC, a lot of the support for open ballot access is from the REPUBLICANS. They know that a Green candidate on the ballot hurts the Dems.

That doesn't mean your objection isn't still correct, in a more complicated way. All policy differences in states may well be endogenous, in just the way you suggest.

JimPanzee said...

Oh, it's not an objection, I think it's a cool hypothesis. I just wanted to make sure I had all the facts right before I go telling my friends about it. Because, as I'm sure you know, all my friends are deeply interested in the theory of policy decisions.

I'm happy with their being a relationship for the moment. Thanks for the response.

Fundman said...

Outstanding! Best of luck!

Dirty Davey said...

I have to say--this specific lawsuit aside--I would be more likely to sign the NC Libertarians' ballot petitions if they approached me saying "would you sign this petition to put the Libertarians on the ballot?", rather than saying "would you sign this petition to open up access to the ballot?" and requiring me to specifically ask them to determine the party for which they are petitioning.

Tom said...

I was at the hearing for summary judgment. I'm no lawyer, but I thought the point of a summary judgment was either (a) the case is so clear and compelling that full trial is a waste of time or (b) that some grievous harm would come to the parties by waiting for the trial. Three attorneys spoke (Libertarian, Green, and State), but none seem to address those points. The judge even asked, at one point, what was the basis for a summary judgment; the attorneys didn't seem to get it.

Good news: Judge Stanback, even while denying the motion, commented that he thought 5,000 or 10,000 ought to be enough. He may be the judge for the trial, too. We hope so. (But... isn't that statement somewhat prejudicial? ...grounds for the State to ask for a different judge?)

Tom said...

Addressing dirty dave's comment: when I petition (not that much) I do identify the Party. But there are a lot of different people doing this. The Party gives guidelines, but can't police them.

Seth said...

Go Munger Go!