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De La Fuente v. Wyman

United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Tacoma

January 31, 2018

ROQUE “ROCKY” DE LA FUENTE, Plaintiff,
v.
KIM WYMAN, in her official capacity as the Secretary of State for the State of Washington, Defendant.

          ORDER RESERVING RULING ON PLAINTIFF'S AND DEFENDANT'S CROSS-MOTIONS FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT AND SCHEDULING ORAL ARGUMENT

          BENJAMIN H. SETTLE, United States District Judge

         This matter comes before the Court on the motion for summary judgment of Plaintiff Roque “Rocky” De La Fuente (“Plaintiff”) and the cross-motion for summary judgment of Defendant Kim Wyman in her role as Washington State's Secretary of State (“the State”). Dkts. 30, 33. The Court has considered the pleadings filed in support of and in opposition to the motions and the remainder of the file and for the reasons stated below hereby reserves ruling on the parties' motions and renotes them for consideration on February 14, 2018.

         I. BACKGROUND

         In 2016, Plaintiff ran as a candidate for President of the United States. In pursuit of the presidency, Plaintiff sought to be placed on Washington State's ballot as a candidate for the American Delta Party.

         Washington State regulations provide that minor party or independent presidential candidates may be placed on the State's ballot by obtaining a valid nomination and presenting the Secretary of State with a “certificate of nomination.” RCW 29A.56.600- .670. To be nominated, a minor party or independent candidate must hold one or multiple “conventions, ” each attended by at least one hundred voters, whereat the candidate obtains “nominating petitions” from at least 1, 000 registered Washington voters. RCW 29A.56.600-.620. A “nominating petition” must be signed and bear the voter's printed name and address. RCW 29A.56.630.

         This case revolves around the State's requirement that a convention be proceeded by the publication of ten days' notice in a newspaper of general circulation. Specifically, the State requires:

Each minor party or independent candidate must publish a notice in a newspaper of general circulation within the county in which the party or the candidate intends to hold a convention. The notice must appear at least ten days before the convention is to be held, and shall state the date, time, and place of the convention. Additionally, it shall include the mailing address of the person or organization sponsoring the convention.

RCW 29A.56.620.

         A minor party or independent presidential candidate can then be placed on the ballot by presenting the Secretary of State with a “certificate of nomination.” RCW 29A.56.640. To be valid, the certificate must:

(1) Be in writing;
(2) Contain the name of each person nominated, his or her residence, the office for which he or she is named, and a sworn statement from both nominees giving their consent to the nomination;
(3) Identify the minor political party or the independent candidate on whose behalf the convention was held;
(4) Be verified by the oath of the presiding officer and secretary;
(5) Be accompanied by a nominating petition or petitions bearing the signatures and addresses of at least one thousand registered voters of the state of Washington;
(6) Contain proof of publication of the notice of calling the convention; and
(7) Be submitted to the secretary of state not later than the first ...

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