The Ballot is Stronger than the Bullet: Alaska's Superior Strict Scrutiny Approach to Ballot Access Laws
Restrictive ballot access laws are the most burdensome requirement for third-party candidates. Such laws implicate First Amendment freedoms to associate both publicly and privately with like-minded individuals in order to advance political causes. Alaskan courts review state ballot access laws under the demanding standard of strict scrutiny. This standard was adopted through the efforts of Joe Vogler and his Alaskan Independence Party. The authors contend that such a standard has fostered Alaska’s unique openness toward third-party candidacies. Nonetheless, the Supreme Court of the United States does not utilize this same strict scrutiny review, instead using the Anderson-Burdick test, which balances the interests of the state in election maintenance with the burden on First Amendment rights. The authors argue that Alaska’s strict scrutiny approach is superior to the Supreme Court’s Anderson-Burdick balancing test because it creates a predictable test and protects First Amendment associational freedoms.