La. Judge Denies Sharpton a Place on Primary Ballot

A state judge has refused to place Al Sharpton (search) on the ballot for Louisiana's presidential primary, upholding state election officials who said there were several problems with the Sharpton campaign's application.

Lawyers for Sharpton had tried during a Thursday hearing persuade Judge Curtis Calloway to include Sharpton on the March 9 ballot, but Calloway ruled against Sharpton late Thursday morning.

Sharpton's lawsuit asked Calloway to require Louisiana Secretary of State (search) Fox McKeithen to add the New York civil rights activist to the candidate roster in the primary.

McKeithen said Sharpton didn't follow state law when his campaign sent in the $1,125 filing fee to sign up for the election, noting there were several problems with the Sharpton qualifying package.

The major stumbling block, according to McKeithen, involved the campaign check sent to pay the filing fee: it was postdated for Feb. 29, made for the wrong amount and was the wrong type of check.

Sharpton's lawsuit said the courts have consistently interpreted elections laws as liberally as possible to encourage candidate participation and that standard should be applied in this case.

Louisiana's ballots (searchwent to the printer last week without Sharpton's name, and elections officials have said if they are told to add Sharpton, it could force a delay of the presidential primary to a later date.

Other elections on the March ballot include 41 special elections to fill office vacancies or delayed elections because of redistricting concerns, 35 proposition elections, 26 municipal elections and contests to fill state party leadership posts.