skip navigation
Here's how you know US flag signifying that this is a United States Federal Government website

An official website of the United States government

Here's how you know

Dot gov

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.


Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you've safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

LaRouche v. State Board of Elections


On April 4, 1985, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit issued an opinion in LaRouche v. State Board of Elections which reversed a ruling by the U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina concerning Mr. LaRouche's eligibility for the ballot. The district court had ruled that Lyndon H. LaRouche, a publicly funded Presidential primary candidate in 1984, had met the ballot access requirements for the state's 1984 Presidential primary. The appeals court found that the district court had erred in issuing a preliminary injunction to bar holding the primary election without Mr. LaRouche's name on the ballot. Finally, the appeals court noted that, although its ruling came after the 1984 Presidential primary and general elections had been held, the appeal was "not moot because it present[ed] facts which [were] 'capable of repetition, yet evading review.'" See 758 F.2d 998 (1985).


To qualify for Presidential primary ballot access under North Carolina law, an individual must meet the eligibility requirements for Presidential primary matching funds spelled out in 26 U.S.C. §9033. Under this section, among other requirements, the candidate must agree to repay any funds which, based on an FEC audit of the candidate's campaign, are owed to the U.S. Treasury. 11 CFR 9033.1 and 9033.2.

On January 26, 1984, the Commission made an initial determination that Mr. LaRouche had not established matching fund eligibility for the 1984 election because he had failed to live up to this agreement to repay funds) in his 1980 campaign.[1] Pursuant to the FEC's decision, the North Carolina State Board of Elections decided that Mr. LaRouche's name could not be placed on the state's 1984 Presidential primary ballot.

In response to the elections board's decision, Mr. LaRouche filed suit with the federal district court seeking an injunction to bar the primary election, unless the elections board placed his name on the ballot.

District court ruling

The district court found that the state's adoption of the federal matching fund eligibility requirements as part of the requirements for access to the state's Presidential primary ballot did not violate due process of law. Nevertheless, the court found that the board had erred in denying Mr. LaRouche ballot access. The court was persuaded by Mr. LaRouche's argument that the FEC's refusal to certify his eligibility for matching funds was erroneous. The court therefore issued a preliminary injunction barring the primary election. (Subsequently, the appeals court stayed the district court's injunction, and the primary election was held without Mr. LaRouche's name on the ballot.)

Appeals court ruling

The appeals court agreed with the district court's conclusion that the state could lawfully adopt the federal criteria. However, the appeals court found that "the record discloses that LaRouche had not complied with 26 U.S.C. §9033(a)(3), providing that the candidate agree to pay amounts owed based on FEC audits. Due to LaRouche's failure to honor his §9033(a)(3) agreement concerning the 1980 Presidential election, the FEC legitimately concluded that LaRouche's §9033(a)(3) agreement for the 1984 Presidential election was inadequate." Consequently, "since LaRouche did not fulfill all the federal criteria, the district court erred in enjoining the primary election from proceeding without LaRouche's name on the ballot."


[1] On April 12, 1984, after Mr. LaRouche's 1980 campaign made the required repayments, the Commission certified that Mr. LaRouche was eligible for Presidential primary matching funds. 11 CFR Parts 9033 and 9036.

Source:   FEC Record — August 1985