Posted on February 8, 2014 by the Webmaster

In Lindsay v. Bowen, presidential candidate Peta Lindsay is challenging her exclusion from the Peace and Freedom Party's 2012 presidential primary. The Peace and Freedom Party is also a plaintiff in this suit. This case is now in Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, where oral argument will be held on February 13.

When: Thursday, February 13, 2014 at 9:30am
Where: Federal Courthouse, Mission St and 7th Street, San Francisco (MAP)
What: Oral argument in appeal of Lindsay v. Bowen

The Peace and Freedom Party a plaintiff in this suit.

Secretary of State Debra Bowen believes she has the authority to exclude Lindsay because she is too young to serve as President, even though the same Debra Bowen also claims she does not have authority to exclude candidates who do not meet residency requirements or to investigate claims that candidates do not meet citizenship requirements.

Ballot access expert Richard Winger elaborates as follows (see Ballot Access News, December 18, 2013):

The issue of whether California should print the names of candidates on the ballot who don’t meet the constitutional qualifications is very confused. In 2012, the California Court of Appeals ruled in Fuller v Bowen, 203 Cal App 4th 1476, that election officials do not have the authority to judge the qualifications of candidates for state legislature. The court said the Secretary of State was correct to list a particular Republican candidate for State Senate on the ballot, even though he admitted he had not lived in the district for a full year before filing. The court said only the legislature can judge the qualifications of candidates.

Also, in 2010, the same California Court of Appeals ruled that the Secretary of State should not investigate the qualifications of candidates for president. The decision in Keyes v Bowen, 189 Cal App 4th 647, says, “With respect to general elections, section 6901 directs that the Secretary of State must place on the ballot the names of the several political parties’ candidates.” The word “must” is in italics.

Yet in the Peace & Freedom case, the U.S. District Court ruled that because Lindsay admits she does not meet the qualifications, the Secretary of State was correct to keep her off the ballot. Long ago, in 1892, California printed the name of the Prohibition Party’s vice-presidential nominee on the ballot even though he was under age 35. Also, in 1972, the California Secretary of State permitted Linda Jenness to be a qualified write-in presidential candidate, even though she was under age 35.

Bowen contends that her action is not discriminatory because other underage candidates would also be excluded. We think that misses the point. Either the Secretary of State can make determinations about whether candidates are qualified or she can't. She shouldn't get to pick which qualifications to look at. The voters should do that.


The Federal District Court ruled against us on December 11, 2012. We believe there is a real chance that the trial court ruling will be reversed on appeal.

For more on the Peta Lindsay case, see



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