531 U.S. 510 (2001)

A 2001 U.S. Supreme Court opinion in which the Court struck down a state law that required that the candidates’ support or opposition to term limits be indicated on the ballot.

Following the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in U.S. Term Limits, Inc. v. Thornton, Missouri adopted an amendment to its constitution which permitted the state during the primary general elections to, among other things, print warnings on the ballots for candidates that did not support term limits.

The Court struck down the Missouri law as an unconstitutional attempt by a state to regulate the electoral outcomes for federal office.

The Court recognized the states’ “broad power to prescribe the procedural mechanism for holding congressional elections.”  That power “encompasse[d] maters like notices, registration, supervision of voting, protection of voters, prevention of fraud and corrupt practices, counting of votes, duties of inspectors and canvassers, and making and publication of election returns.”

In this case, however, the Court stated that Missouri clearly went beyond its proper exercise of power and, “[t]hus, far from regulating the procedural mechanisms of elections . . . attempt[ed] to ‘dictate electoral outcomes.'”  The Court ruled that, “[s]uch ‘regulation’ of congressional elections simply [was] not authorized by the Elections Clause.”

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