On August 31st the State Objection Panel convened in Des Moines for an Objection Hearing to determine whether the LPIA’s only candidate for US House this year should remain on the General Election ballot. The State Objection Panel is composed of Iowa Secretary of State Republican Paul Pate, Iowa Attorney General Democrat Tom Miller and State Auditor Democrat Rob Sand.
A Republican political consultant who was Republican Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig’s campaign manager in 2018 filed an Objection to the nomination papers of Dr. Bryan Jack Holder back in March. Holder is the Libertarian candidate for Iowa’s 3rd Congressional District who ran for the same office in 2014, 2016 and 2018. This is his 3rd time as the Libertarian Party of Iowa nominee. The Objetion filed on March 20th by Republican consultant Tyler Campbell alleged that several of the valid signatures were “questionable.” The Republican Secretary of State Paul Pate failed to properly document the time/date of the filing of the Objection, failed to notify candidate Holder of the Objection through certified mail back in March as required by State law and failed to schedule an Objection hearing for Dr. Holder within one week of the Objection being filed in violation of Iowa Code Chapter 44.5.
Holder raised nine (9) Counter Objections including lack of Standing by the Ojbector (he failed to provide proof that he is an Eligible Elector with the right to Object), lack of sufficient Notice by the Sec of State to candidate Holder (the certified letter fro the Sec of State to Holder arrived AFTER the Objection Hearing) and that the one week Statute of Limitations barred the hearing in August when it was required to be scheduled in March. Holder also provided proof that each signature complied with State law & each signatory was an Eligible Elector at the time of filing in March. Holder was required to submit a minimum of 375 signatures to run for US House and he submitted 394. Upon receipt of Holder’s Counter Objections, the Republican consultant Campbell withdrew his Objections just minutes before the Objection Hearing was to begin while Dr. Holder was setting up his video cameras in the Secretary of State’s office to film the Objection Hearing for the public.
Holder has secured a place on the ballot for the 3rd Congressional District for the Libertarian Party of Iowa.
|Counter Objections of Dr. Bryan Jack HolderLibertarian Candidate for Iowa’s 3rd Congressional Districtfor the Objection Panel|
Counter Objection #1- No Standing
Per Iowa Code Chapter 39.3 (6) an Eligible Elector is defined as-
6. “Eligible elector” means a person who possesses all of the qualifications necessary to entitle the person to be registered to vote, whether or not the person is in fact so registered.
Per Iowa Code Chapter 44.4 (2.a) only an Eligible Elector in the Congressional District may submit an Objection Letter to a nomination petition of Congressional candidates.
“44.4 Nominations and objections — time and place of filing.2. a. Objections to the legal sufficiency of a certificate of nomination or nominationpetition or to the eligibility of a candidate may be filed by any person who would have the right to vote for a candidate for the office in question. The objections must be filed with the officer with whom the certificate or petition is filed.”
In his Objection Letter, the Objector, Mr. Campbell failed to assert that he is an Eligible Elector in the Congressional District with the right to vote for a candidate for the office in question.
In addition to failing to assert that he is an Eligible Elector, Mr. Campbell failed to provide proof that he an Eligible Elector by failing to provide his residential address with his house number and street in his Objection Letter.
Mr. Campbell seeks to invalidate the legal signatures and lawful nominations made by Eligible Electors while providing no evidence that he was an Eligible Elector himself.
This Objection Letter should be dismissed immediately for lack of Standing by the Objector.
Counter Objection #2- No Date on the Objection Letter
The Objection Letter is missing the date of filing the Objection Letter. The Objection Letter does not have a Time/Date stamp indicating the Secretary of State’s Office received the Objection Letter before the Objection deadline had passed. Candidate Holder’s Affidavit of Candidacy was stamped with the Time/Date of filing by the Secretary of State’s Office to ensure transparency and to certify the that he filed before the filing deadline. By failing to Time/Date stamp the Objection Letter the State of Iowa failed to properly certify that the Objection Letter was filed before the Objection deadline.
This Objection Letter should be dismissed immediately for lack of Certification of the Time/Date of its filing.
Counter Objection #3- Insufficient Notice
Per Iowa Code Chapter 44.5 Notice of Objections-
“44.5 Notice of objections.When objections are filed, notice shall immediately be given to the affected candidate. The notice shall be addressed to the candidate’s place of residence as given in the certificate of nomination, stating that objections have been made to the certificate. The notice shall include the time and place of the hearing at which the objections will be considered. The hearing shall be held not later than one week after the objection is filed.”
The State of Iowa failed to give Candidate Holder sufficient legal notice in not immediately sending notice by US mail a physical notice certified letter to the candidate’s place of residence stating that an objection was made on March 20th, 2020 as required by Iowa Code Chapter 44.5. As it stands now, whatever “notice” which was mailed by the Secretary of State’s legal counsel Molly Widen on Friday, August 28th, 2020 will not arrive at Candidate Holder’s residence until AFTER the Objection Hearing on Monday, August 31st, 2020.
This Objection should be dismissed immediately for lack of sufficient legal notice.
Counter Objection #4- Statute of Limitations
44.5 Notice of objections.When objections are filed, notice shall immediately be given to the affected candidate. The notice shall be addressed to the candidate’s place of residence as given in the certificate of nomination, stating that objections have been made to the certificate. The notice shall include the time and place of the hearing at which the objections will be considered. The hearing shall be held not later than one week after the objection is filed.
Objector Campbell filed his Objection Letter on March 20th, 2020 according to an email sent by the Secretary of State’s legal counsel, Molly Widen to Candidate Holder on March 23rd, 2020. The State of Iowa failed to give Candidate Holder required due process in not scheduling the Objection Hearing within one week as required by Iowa Code Chapter 44.5
This Objection Hearing scheduled for today, August 31st, 2020 is NOT authorized by Iowa Code Chapter 44.5 and is in violation of State law. The Statute of Limitations in Iowa Code Chapter 44.5 required a hearing within ONE WEEK not five (5) months after the Objection Letter was filed.
This Objection should be dismissed immediately for being barred by the Statute of Limitations for conducting an Objection Hearing.
Counter Objection #5- “Questionable” is not a Legal Standard for Determining Whether Petitions Were Signed by Eligible Electors
Objector Campbell argues that certain Petition Signatures are “questionable”. There is a legal presumption that all signatures are valid at the time they were gathered and filed as the Secretary of State’s office does not have the authority to strike or remove signature lines from Nomination Petitions. Objector Campbell offered no proof in his Objection Letter to invalidate their authenticity or validity. Objector Campbell merely made assertions unsupported by evidence and has failed to prove that Petition Signers were NOT Eligible Electors at the time they signed Nomination Petitions to endorse Candidate Holder.
Counter Objection #6- Eligible Electors are NOT required to list their Apartment Numbers on Nomination Petitions
Objector Campbell argues that six (6) signatures of Eligible Electors should be struck because he claims that they live in apartments. He provided no proof that these Eligible Electors reside in apartments, nor has he cited any State law which requires Eligible Electors who sign Nomination Petitions to list their apartment number on Nomination Petitions. Eligible Electors who sign Nomination Petitions are only required to list their Residential Address House and Number, not their apartment number as stated in Iowa Code Chapter 45.6 (2). Here is the relevant Code Section-
“45.6 Requirements in signing.The following requirements shall be observed in the signing and preparation of nominationpetitions:
2. Each signer shall add the signer’s residential address, with street and number, if any,and city.”
All of the Eligible Electors who signed Candidate Holder’s Nomination Petitions substantially complied with this requirement when they listed their Residential Address House and Number. As such, these signatures of Eligible Electors should NOT be struck from the Nomination Petitions.
Counter Objection #7- No Evidence that Eligible Elector Addresses Do Not Exist
Objector Campbell argues that several of the Eligible Electors who signed Candidate Holder’s Nomination Petition listed addresses that do not exist without providing any proof to support this claim. Objector Campbell failed to provide documentary evidence that these addresses do not exist with his Objection Letter. These claims should be dismissed.
Counter Objection #8- No Evidence that Eligible Electors Are Not Associated with Addresses
Objector Campbell argues that several of the Eligible Electors who signed Candidate Holder’s Nomination Petition are not listed in the private phone directory “White Pages”. Iowa Law does NOT require Eligible Electors to be listed in the “White Pages” or any other directory. Objector Campbell also failed to provide documentary evidence supporting the allegation that these Eligible Electors are NOT listed in the “White Pages”. These claims should be dismissed.
Counter Objection #9- Eligible Electors Are Not Required to be Registered Voters
Per Iowa Code Chapter 39.3 (6) an Eligible Elector is defined as-
“Eligible elector” means a person who possesses all of the qualifications necessary to entitle the person to be registered to vote, whether or not the person is in fact so registered.Objector Campbell argues in one sentence that several of the Eligible Electors who signed Candidate Holder’s Nomination Petition are not listed in the Voter Registration system and in the same sentence references the Candidate Guide which clearly states that Iowa Law does NOT require Eligible Electors to be registered to vote. Objector Campbell invalidated his argument to remove fifteen (15) signatures. Objector Campbell also failed to provide documentary evidence supporting the allegation that these Eligible Electors are NOT in the Voter Registration system. These claims should be dismissed.
In summary, for the aforementioned Counter Objections, the Objections filed by Mr. Campbell should be dismissed and Candidate Holder’s name should remain on the General Election ballot as it has been since he filed his Nomination Petitions and Affidavit of Candidacy on March 13th, 2020 over five (5) months ago. To do anything less than dismiss these Objections would be a grave injustice and would destroy public trust in Iowa’s free and fair elections. Thank you for your attention to this matter.