A Nebraska man says a law passed just last year is unconstitutional and it's blocking him from running for the state's U.S. Senate seat.
When it comes to inalienable rights, Jim Jenkins is ready to defend his.
"The law prevents competition," said Jenkins. "It's a law that prevents ordinary citizens who want to run outside the political party from running."
A law passed last year says a person who wants to run for office can't change parties within the calendar year of that election.
That's a problem for Jenkins who tried to switch from Democrat to Independent January 10.
"Why we would restrict the participation of citizens in our democratic system is beyond me," said Jenkins. "It's just patently unfair, without sounding over the top it's un-American."
Jenkins isn't the only one who disagrees with the law.
"It's unconstitutional," said Senator Bill Avery. "I think Jim Jenkins ought to challenge it in the courts and if he did, he would win."
Senator Avery says a state can restrict access to the ballot, but only if there's good reason.
"I asked the introducer of this amendment, Senator Nelson, several times on the microphone, 'what is the compelling state interest for this amendment?'" Said Senator Avery. "He was never able to answer that."
"No, I don't believe it was unconstitutional," said Senator John Nelson. "I can recall that Senator Avery suggested it might be and also it was suggested by the Secretary of State. So what I did was go to the Attorney General and get an informal opinion from the Attorney General's office. They said that there were no unconstitutional problems at the time. I don't think we got that in writing, but it satisfied me."
During the bill's hearing in February of 2011, Neal Erickson, representing the Secretary of State said quote "Actually, I believe this is probably unconstitutional. I think it probably violates freedom of association." But not one member of the committee asked any questions in response to that allegation. Senator Nelson says the law is designed to protect the democratic process.
"It's a matter of elemental fairness," said Senator Nelson. "We have the primary process, it's a weeding out process. It gives everyone a chance to see all the candidates."
Nelson says this law prohibits candidates from bypassing the primary, but Avery doesn't see it that way.
"Voters must have the opportunity," said Senator Avery. "It is their right to vote for the candidate of their choice and when the state puts obstacles in the way of candidates appearing on the ballot then the state is running very, very close to violating the constitution."
"This is some politician somewhere deciding they don't want competition and they're going to prevent people in the election year from getting in and running against them," said Jenkins. "This is about elected officials protecting themselves."
Protecting themselves, Jenkins says, at the expense of the people.
"I think there is some infringement there, yes," said Senator Nelson. "But we have to have guidelines and rules. That's what this is all about."
"We're not perfect and the legislative process is imperfect at times," said Senator Avery. "Sometimes we make mistakes and I think we made one that day."
A mistake Jim Jenkins says he's working fix with sympathetic senators. However, repealing the law won't change anything in time for this election.