Politics

Appeals Court Upholds Ballot Ban On 27-Year-Old Presidential Hopeful

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A California polling place

Voters cast ballots at a California polling place (Eric Thayer/Getty Images)

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – A federal appeals court ruled in San Francisco Tuesday that a 27-year-old Peace and Freedom Party candidate who was not old enough to be president had no right to appear on California’s ballot in 2012.

Although the U.S. Constitution requires presidents to be at least 35 years old, Peta Lindsay sought to run for the job in November 2012.

Lindsay argued that even though she wasn’t old enough to serve, she had a First Amendment free-speech right to run in order to “present and support an alternative to the two-party system.”

Lindsay appealed to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals after California Secretary of State Debra Bowen excluded her from the ballot and a federal trial judge in Sacramento upheld Bowen’s action.

A three-judge panel of the appeals court unanimously affirmed the lower court today.

Chief Circuit Judge Alex Kozinski wrote that the state had a responsibility to seek to protect the integrity of the ballot and avoid voter confusion.

“Everyone agrees that Lindsay couldn’t hold the office for which she was trying to run,” Kozinski said in the court’s opinion.

Requiring Bowen to include the name on the ballot “would mean that anyone, regardless of age, citizenship or any other constitutional ineligibility would be entitled to clutter and confuse our electoral ballot,” Kozinski wrote.

“Nothing in the First Amendment compels such an absurd result,” Kozinski said.

Under the banner of a different party, the Party for Socialism and Liberation, Lindsay and vice presidential candidate Yari Osorio appeared on the ballots of 13 other states in 2012 and received more than 9,000 votes nationwide.

A lawyer for Lindsay was not immediately available for comment. At the time she sought to run for president, Lindsay was living in Los Angeles and pursuing a master’s degree in education.

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