and Submitted March 12, 2019 San Francisco, California
from the United States District Court for the Central
District of California Michael W. Fitzgerald, District Judge,
Presiding D.C. No. 2:16-cv-03242-MWF-GJS
A. Rossi (argued), Mountville, Pennsylvania, for
Jonathan M. Eisenberg (argued), Deputy Attorney General;
Xavier Becerra, Attorney General of California; Thomas S.
Patterson, Senior Assistant Attorney General; Stepan A.
Haytayan, Supervising Deputy Attorney General; Office of the
California Attorney General, Los Angeles, California; for
Before: J. Clifford Wallace, A. Wallace Tashima, and M.
Margaret McKeown, Circuit Judges.
panel affirmed the district court's dismissal of an
action brought by independent presidential candidate Roque De
La Fuente challenging two California ballot access laws, Cal.
Elec. Code §§ 8400, 8403, which require independent
candidates to collect signatures from one percent of
California's registered voters-over 170, 000
signatures-to appear on a statewide ballot.
panel first held that De La Fuente had standing because he
suffered a concrete injury that was not merely speculative.
The panel noted that De La Fuente's declaration confirmed
that he is running for President of the United States in
the balancing framework in Anderson v. Celebrezze,
460 U.S. 780 (1983), and Burdick v. Takushi, 504
U.S. 428 (1992), the panel held that California's overall
scheme does not significantly impair ballot access. The panel
stated that Sections 8400 and 8403 were generally applicable,
even-handed, politically neutral, and aimed at protecting the
reliability and integrity of the election process. The panel
concluded that the ballot access laws reasonably related to
California's important regulatory interests in managing
its democratic process and were proportionate to
California's large voter population.
MCKEOWN, CIRCUIT JUDGE
examine yet another state's regulation of ballot access
as we consider a challenge to ballot qualification laws in
California, the country's most populous state. See,
e.g., Ariz. Libertarian Party v. Hobbs, 925
F.3d 1085 (9th Cir. 2019) (addressing Arizona ballot
regulations). Together, two California ballot access laws
require independent candidates to collect signatures from one
percent of California's registered voters-over 170, 000
signatures-to appear on a statewide ballot. Independent
presidential candidate Roque De La Fuente challenges these
requirements as unconstitutional.
losing the 2016 Democratic presidential primary in
California, De La Fuente wanted to continue his candidacy in
the general election as an independent candidate. But he
faced what he argues is a "cost prohibitive"
obstacle: sections 8400 and 8403 of California's ballot
access laws (collectively, "Ballot Access Laws").
Cal. Elec. Code §§ 8400, 8403. Under section 8400,
independent candidates running for statewide office must
collect signatures from one percent of all registered voters.
Id. § 8400 (requiring independent candidates to
collect signatures from "voters of the state equal to
not less in number than 1 percent of the entire number of
registered voters of the state at the time of the close of
registration prior to the preceding general election").
Section 8403 requires independent candidates to collect the
signatures at least 88, but no more than 193, days before the
election. Id. § 8403(a). So, in 2016, De La
Fuente had to collect 178, 039 valid signatures in 105 days
to appear on the general election ballot.
he needed paid canvassers and twice as many signatures to
ensure a comfortable margin of error, De La Fuente estimated
the cost of ballot access to be three to four million
dollars. He argues that such an expense makes running
statewide "cost prohibitive," unconstitutionally
burdening rights guaranteed by the First and Fourteenth
Amendments. De La Fuente points out that the next highest
state signature requirement is about 60, 000 fewer (in
Florida) and that no independent candidate has appeared on