Anderson v. Martin

LOCATION: New York Supreme Court Appellate Division, First Department

DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1962-1965)

CITATION: 375 US 399 (1964)
ARGUED: Nov 20, 1963 / Nov 21, 1963
DECIDED: Jan 13, 1964

Facts of the case


Media for Anderson v. Martin

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - November 20, 1963 in Anderson v. Martin

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - November 21, 1963 in Anderson v. Martin

Earl Warren:

Dupuy H. Anderson, et al., Appellants, versus Wade O. Martin, Jr.

Attorney General Gremillion.

Jack P. F. Gremillion:

Honorable Chief Justice and Justices of the Court, I'm here representing the Louisiana Secretary of State who is charged under this particular act with preparing the ballots.

And as a chief election officer of the State of Louisiana, all of the ballots are prepared by him.

Then they go to the printer.

And then they are placed on the voting machines.

Now, we have voting machines in every precinct in the State of Louisiana and we have had for about -- had for about 10 years now.

They proved very effective and very beneficial on the ballot which is prepared by the Secretary of State, are three things, the man -- the candidate's name, his race and at first, when it -- legislature first prepared ballots who instructed the Secretary of State to prepare these ballots, we found that we had a lot of illiterate people in Louisiana.

There are a lot of people who were registered to vote who couldn't read and write.

And so later on, they put the number on the voting machine.

So, we have three things that appear on the ballot, a number, a name and a race and that is all that is on the voting machine other than the instruction that you got to push this button and switch this switch and so forth.

Now, we have in a Democratic primary -- well, a Republican primary, too, but there's very few Republicans in Louisiana, I apologize for that.

But we're having a primary election on December the 7th in Louisiana.

And of course, I am a candidate for a reelection.

And I reemphasize that in my case, number 20 is my ballot number, my race and my name and that's all that appears on the ballot.

Now, that information, and may it please the Court, is given to the Secretary of State in a form of a qualification paper that the candidate himself must fill out.

On that qualification paper, approximately six things, he signs an affidavit.

He says that I'm a qualified voter, that I possess all the qualifications under Louisiana law, that I'm a registered voter in a certain ward, in a certain precinct.

He says, "I herewith pay the fee which is required by the committee involved.

He also says that I am not a dummy candidate.

He also says that I am not a subversive person as defined under the appropriate section of Louisiana law.

And he also says that I am a member of blank and that candidate fills in his race and it is from that qualification paper that the committee passes on the -- and accepts and they're given to the Secretary of State and from there, he prepares the ballot.

I give you that information so you can understand the -- the Louisiana legal machinery on just how the ballot is prepared.

The question in this case, as far as I'm concerned and I hope the Court, is really a simple one.

It comes down to this.

Can a State require information on a ballot, such as race, for the purpose of informing the electorate?

Can it do that when it treats all of the candidates alike?

Now, is that unconstitutional?

Does it violate any section of the United States Constitution?

I don't think that the First Amendment is involved here because there's no freedom of speech being denied to anyone.