Friday, December 22, 2023
For Immediate Release
Cenk Uygur Sues South Carolina Over Ballot Discrimination Citing Civil Rights Act
Today, presidential candidate Cenk Uygur filed a complaint in the federal district court of South Carolina for injunctive relief requiring the South Carolina State Election Commission to place his name on the ballot for the state’s Presidential Preference Primary on February 3, 2024.
The South Carolina Democratic Party previously rejected Mr. Uygur’s petition for placement on the ballot citing their Ballot Access Statute and Delegate Selection Plan. They also refused to refund his $20,000 filing fee. Mr. Uygur, a naturalized American citizen who immigrated to the United States from Turkey when he was 8 years old, cites the fact that the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment applies to “all persons born or naturalized” to counter the outdated notion of disqualification based on being a “natural born citizen.” The suit argues this clause in the original constitution has been both explicitly and implicitly repealed by the 14th Amendment.
However, Uygur’s lawsuit goes further in noting that the South Carolina State Election Commission is a program that received over $1 million in federal assistance in 2023 and that it intentionally discriminated against Mr. Uygur based on national origin. Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits federally assisted programs from discriminating against a person based on race, color, or national origin. Uygur, and a Democratic voter from South Carolina, are also suing on First Amendment grounds. Both the candidate and voters have been denied their right to freedom of speech and freedom of association. The case therefore argues the Ballot Access Statute and the Delegate Selection Plan are both illegal and blatantly unconstitutional.