I’ve just posted a draft of an article, Weaponizing the Ballot, on SSRN here. From the abstract:
States are considering legislation that would exclude presidential candidates from appearing on the ballot if they fail to disclose their tax returns. These proposals exceed the state’s power under the Elections Clause and the Presidential Electors Clause. States have no power to add qualifications to presidential or congressional candidates. But states do have constitutional authority to regulate the manner of holding elections and to direct the manner of appointing presidential electors. Manner regulations that relate to the ballot are those that affect the integrity and reliability of the electoral process itself or that require a preliminary showing of substantial support. In other words, they are procedural rules to help voters choose their preferred candidate. Tax disclosure requirements are not procedural election rules, which means they fall outside the scope of the state’s constitutional authority to administer federal elections and are unconstitutional.
And from the introduction:
This Article makes three principal contributions to help understand the scope of state authority to regulate access to the ballot in federal elections. First, while states may not add qualifications to candidates seeking federal office, this Article finds that “manner” regulations may at times legitimately affect the ability of candidates to win office. Second, this Article defines the constitutional scope of “manner” rules as election process rules, and it synthesizes alternative judicial formulations of state power over the “manner” of holding elections as variations of this definition. Third, this Articles applies this definition to proposals that compel disclosure of information as a condition of ballot access—applied here to tax returns, but applicable to other disclosures like medical records or school transcripts—and finds that they exceed the state’s power to regulate the manner of holding elections.
I’m pleased to share this major work, which builds off ideas I floated in a New York Times op-ed many months ago, and which builds off my scholarship thinking about state control over ballot rules generally and review of qualifications of candidates for federal office.