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Connecticut House Passes Election-Day Registration Bill (May 1, 2012, 11:13 AM)
On April 30, the Connecticut House passed HB 5024, which makes it possible for unregistered individuals to register on election day. Here is the text of the bill. The vote was 83-59. Now the bill goes to the Senate. See this story, which says the House debated for five hours on this bill.
The leading opponent of the bill in the House debate said that this bill would make it possible for “some brat from Virginia” to vote twice for President, once in Virginia and once in Connecticut. But this was already possible and not necessarily illegal. Because the Electoral College system exists, and because early voting exists in so many states, it is possible and legal for individuals to vote for President in more than one state. If a voter is domiciled in one state, he may vote in that state’s selection process for presidential electors, by using early voting. Then, in theory at least, that voter might change domicile to another state, and he or she could then legally vote in that other state’s process for choosing presidential electors. Technically, the two elections are separate elections. In each election, the true candidates are candidates for presidential elector, and the election in one particular state over whom the electors should be for that state is a separate election from the other state’s choice of presidential electors. This is one of the flaws of the Electoral College system.
Thanks to Josh Van Vranken for this news.
New York Times Interview with Gary Johnson (May 1, 2012, 09:03 AM)
The New York Times has this interview with Gary Johnson, on the eve of the Libertarian Party’s national convention, which starts May 3.
Oregon Republican Nominees for Attorney General and Treasurer Will be Determined by Write-in Votes (April 30, 2012, 08:09 PM)
No one has qualified to be on the Republican primary ballot in Oregon for Attorney General or Treasurer. So, whoever wins the most write-ins in the Republican primary will be the Republican nominees. Republican Party officials are afraid the Democratic candidates will try to persuade Republican voters to write-in in the Democratic candidates. To counter than, the Republican Party is asking registered Republicans to write in James Buchal for Attorney General and Thomas Cox for Treasurer. See this story.
Tacoma Weekly Editorializes Against Top-Two Election System (April 30, 2012, 01:47 PM)
Tacoma Weekly, a free weekly newspaper in Tacoma, Washington, has this editorial, expressing the idea that top-two election systems are a bad idea because they eviscerate minor parties. Tacoma Weekly has existed since 1987. Thanks to J. Mills for the link.
April 2012 Ballot Access News Print Edition (April 30, 2012, 01:42 PM)
Ballot Access News
Table of Contents
PENNSYLVANIA SUPREME COURT SAYS IN-DISTRICT RESIDENCY LAW FOR CIRCULATORS CAN?T BE ENFORCED
On March 26, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court issued a unanimous decision, saying the state law that prohibits petitioners from working outside their home district can?t be enforced, at least for minor party and independent candidate petitions. In re The Nomination Petition of Carl Stevenson, 54-MAP-2010.
The Pennsylvania law restricting petitioners to their home districts had already been declared unconstitutional in U.S. District Court in Pennsylvania in 2002, in a case called Morrill v Weaver, 224 F.Supp.2d 905, eastern district. The state had not appealed. Yet, that wasn?t enough to settle the issue.
The Morrill decision had enjoined state and county election officials from enforcing the law. But, in Pennsylvania, election officials? acceptance of petitions does not mean that the candidate who submits the petition will be on the ballot. Pennsylvania is a "challenge" state. Anyone may challenge any candidate?s petition, and then state court judges hear the challenge and decide whether to leave the candidate on the ballot or not. Pennsylvania state court judges had not been following the Morrill decision. But now, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision says they must follow it.
The decision is not only a victory on the issue of freedom for petitioners; it sends a signal to the lower Pennsylvania state courts that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has a new interest in ballot access.
It would have been easy for the Supreme Court to have dismissed the Stevenson case without ruling on the constitutional issue. It is an old case, filed in 2010. Carl Stevenson had been an independent candidate for the legislature that year.
His petition had been challenged successfully in lower state court because some of his circulators didn?t live in his district. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court, on October 4, 2010, had told the lower court to check all the signatures. The lower court had then done so, but had found that even if the petitions carried by out-of-district circulators were counted, the candidate still didn?t have enough valid signatures.
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court, in its recent opinion, thus went out of its way to rule on the constitutional issue, even though it could easily have said that this case is moot, because the candidate didn?t have enough valid signatures in any event. Clearly the Supreme Court wanted to settle this issue, so it ruled, notwithstanding the mootness argument.
The decision still leaves unresolved whether out-of-district circulators may work on primary petitions. That issue will probably be in court soon. Assuming the residency requirement is invalidated for primary petitions, then California will be the only state with an in-district residency requirement for circulators.
The new decision probably means that the state courts must now also follow the 1999 federal court decision on fusion. The 1999 federal decision had said that if Pennsylvania lets the qualified parties cross-endorse each other nominees for certain offices, then the state must let minor parties enjoy the same freedom. The 3rd Circuit had ruled favorably on this issue in Reform Party of Allegheny County v Allegheny County Department of Elections, 174 F.3d 305. But the state courts had refused to follow that decision as well, notably in the Zulick case in 2003.
UTAH MAKES IT EASIER FOR PARTIES TO REMAIN ON BALLOT
On March 22, Utah Governor Gary Herbert signed HB 233, which says that when a party meets the 2% vote test, it is on the ballot for four years, not just two years.
It is fairly easy for a minor party in Utah to poll 2% for a statewide race in a presidential election year, because there are always five or six statewide partisan offices on the ballot. But it is difficult in midterm years, because generally only one office is on the ballot, U.S. Senate.
Nebraska will probably soon pass a similar law. The Nebraska bill is on consent calendar for April 2. Assuming the Nebraska bill passes, the only states that will still require a party to poll a certain share of the vote every two years, in order to remain ballot-qualified, are Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, and Wyoming.
TEXAS DEMOCRATS? GIFT TO GREEN PARTY
Texas law requires a party to poll at least 5% for a statewide race (or 2% for Governor) in order to remain ballot-qualified.
This year, the Democratic Party has no nominees for five statewide positions. This is good news for the Green Party, because it has candidates for two of those five positions. With no Democrat in the race, those Greens are extremely likely to poll at least 5%. The Libertarian Party got 2% for Governor in 2010, so it is on the ballot automatically for 2012 and 2014.
THREE NEW LAWSUITS FILED AGAINST EARLY PETITION DEADLINES
Illinois: on March 30, the Libertarian Party filed a lawsuit against the June petition deadline for minor party petitions. The Illinois petition deadline had always been in October, September, or August, until 1999, when it was moved to mid-June. The lawsuit also challenges the law that requires newly-qualifying parties to run a full slate. The case is Libertarian Party of Illinois v State Board of Elections, in U.S. District Court, northern district.
New Mexico: on March 29, the Green and Constitution Parties filed a federal lawsuit against the early April petition deadline for newly-qualifying parties. That deadline had always been in October, September, or July, until 1995, when it was moved to April. The case is Constitution Party of New Mexico v Duran.
North Carolina: on March 27, the Constitution Party filed a lawsuit against the May petition deadline for newly-qualifying parties. The State Board of Elections was so sure that deadline is unconstitutional, in 1988, it waived the deadline and let the New Alliance Party turn in its signatures in late July. But in recent years, it refuses to continue that policy. The case is Constitution Party of North Carolina v Bartlett, in U.S. District Court in the western district.
OKLAHOMA JUDGE DECLINES TO PUT LIBERTARIANS ON BALLOT, FOR NOW
On March 19, U.S. District Court Judge Timothy DeGiusti declined to issue an injunction putting the Libertarian Party on the Oklahoma ballot. He noted that the party submitted 57,137 signatures by the March 1 deadline, and that 51,739 are required and the petition had not yet been checked. Therefore, he wrote, the party may have enough signatures.
As of March 29, the day this newsletter is being printed, the state still hasn?t said if the Libertarian petition is valid. If it is not, the party will probably renew its request for injunctive relief. The lawsuit challenges the early deadline. The case is Libertarian Party of Oklahoma v Ziriax, U.S. District Court, western district. The party has over 8,000 more signatures that were collected after the deadline.
Oklahoma moved the petition deadline from May to March because it moved its primary from July to June, and says all parties, even newly-qualifying parties, must nominate by primary. The party said it is willing to nominate by convention, but the state says that isn?t fair to candidates who might want to run in a Libertarian primary, even though the party would happily invite them to contest for a nomination at the convention.
Although Judge DeGiusti?s order, denying injunctive relief, is fairly long (35 pages), nowhere does it discuss the precedents that say early petition deadlines for newly-qualifying parties are unconstitutional.
FRANCE VOTERS HAVE TEN CHOICES
France holds a presidential election on April 22. The filing deadline was in March, and ten candidates qualified. They each needed 500 signatures from public officials.
TEXAS PETITION DEADLINES FOR 2012 EXTENDED TO JUNE 29
On March 1, a U.S. District Court in Texas issued an order, moving the independent presidential petition deadline, the deadline for other independents, and the deadline for new parties, to June 29. The lawsuit, Perez v State, 5:11-cv-360, concerns redistricting. Because the court drew new U.S. House and legislative districts, it moved the primary from March 6 to May 29. Because it postponed the primary, it also had to set new deadlines for independent candidates for district office.
The statutory deadline for independent presidential candidates is the second Monday in May (May 14). Moving that deadline from May 14 to June 29 is a significant advantage to independent presidential candidates.
It also means that for the first time since 1984, no state has a deadline for an independent presidential candidate to get on a ballot that is earlier than June.
According to the Secretary of State, if a voter signs a petition for a minor party, and then votes in the May 29 primary, the signature is valid. If the voter votes and then signs, it is not valid. But independent candidates are not treated so well. If a voter signs for an independent candidate and then votes in the primary, the signature is not valid. This probably violates due process, because an independent candidate cannot know how many of his or her signers will later vote in the primary.
CALIFORNIA TOP-TWO COURT HEARING
The March 1 B.A.N. said that a hearing would be held in Oakland, California, on March 6, in Rubin v Bowen. However, the hearing was postponed until April 10. This is the state court lawsuit filed by several minor parties against the California top-two system last year.
U.S. SUPREME COURT WON?T HEAR BALLOT ACCESS CASES
On March 19, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear Maslow v New York State Board of Elections, which challenged a law that says only party members, or Notaries Public, may circulate a petition to get someone on a primary ballot.
On February 27, the Court refused to hear Greene v N.C. State Board of Elections, which challenged the petition requirement for independent candidates for U.S. House. The law requires a petition signed by 4% of the registered voters.
NEBRASKA CONGRESS CANDIDATES NEED NOT BE REGISTERED VOTERS
On March 22, a Nebraska state court ruled that states cannot require congressional candidates to be registered voters. The decision is based on the 1995 U.S. Supreme Court opinion U.S. Term Limits v Thornton, which said states cannot add to the qualifications listed in the U.S. Constitution. The Nebraska case is Nebraska Republican Party v Gale, Lancaster County district court, 12-1102.
The Republican Party had sued to remove Bob Kerrey from the Democratic presidential primary ballot. Kerry is running for U.S. Senate. The Republican Party had charged that his voter registration is invalid, because he doesn?t live at the place where he is registered to vote.
CALIFORNIA PETITIONER RESIDENCY
On March 12, a California Superior Court in Shasta County ruled that recall petitions are valid, even if the circulator doesn?t live in the jurisdiction that is considering holding a recall election. Shasta County Citizens for Justice v City of Shasta Lake, cv-174130. The opinion says, "The statutory scheme for remedies relating to improper signature gathering is to hold the circulator accountable, not the signator."
BALLOT ACCESS BILLS
Arizona: HB 2826, which makes it more difficult for candidates to get on a presidential primary ballot, passed the House on February 20 and passed the Senate Judiciary Committee on March 5. It requires 1,000 signatures for a presidential candidate who has not qualified for Primary Season Matching funds and who cannot show that he or she is already on the presidential primary in at least 20 other states. Currently anyone may get on a presidential primary ballot just by request.
Alabama: the Senate will vote on SB 15, the ballot access improvement bill, on April 3. It lowers the number of signatures for a newly-qualifying party from 44,829 to 5,000, and also eases independent candidate requirements.
Georgia: even though the Secretary of State?s Advisory Committee recommended that the number of signatures for independent candidates, and the nominees of unqualified parties, should be reduced, the legislature has killed the Secretary of State?s bill to make that change. The Chairman of the House Rules Committee, Mark Hamilton, said he deleted the ballot access improvement parts of the Secretary of State?s bill because the advocates of better ballot access had been rude to him.
Missouri: on March 8, the House passed HB 1236 by a vote of 144-1. It eliminates the requirement that the petition to create a new party (which, in general, does not require any candidates to be listed) must list candidates for presidential elector if the group expects to enter the presidential race.
Nebraska: on March 14, the Governor signed LB 759, which legalizes out-of-state petitioners.
Virginia: on March 2, the legislature passed HB 1151, which says that petitions are valid this year, whether the petitioners used the old U.S. House district boundaries or the new U.S. House district boundaries. The bill takes effect immediately.
Arizona: on March 15, the House Judiciary Committee passed SCR 1021, which puts a ballot question on the November 2012 ballot asking voters if they wish to stop funding the public funding program (for candidates for state office). The bill had already passed the Senate.
Idaho: on March 1, Governor Butch Otter signed HB 391, which eliminates the presidential primary, starting with this year. That means that two states that held presidential primaries in 2008 will not have held such primaries in 2012. The other state is Washington.
Kentucky: on March 5, Senate President David Williams introduced SB 7, which moves the presidential primary from May to the first week in August. Last year a bill like this passed the Senate, but not the House. The bill would not take effect until 2016. There is no logical reason why early August is too late for a presidential primary. The Republican National Convention opens August 27 this year, and Democrats start on September 3.
Maine: on March 8, the legislature?s Joint Taxation Committee passed LD 1826 unanimously. It repeals the law that puts a question on the state income tax form, asking taxpayers if they wish to direct a small donation to the political party that the taxpayer chooses. The Maine Green Party usually gets half its annual income from the income tax form.
Maine (2): on March 20, the legislature passed LD 1774, which eliminates extra public funding for publicly-funded candidates who have well-financed opponents who don?t use public funding.
Utah: the legislature adjourned without passing HB 50. The bill would have eliminated the question on the state income tax form that asks taxpayers if they wish to send a small donation to the taxpayer?s favorite party. The House had passed the bill 51-20, but the Senate didn?t vote on it.
LAWSUITS WHICH ENJOINED OR OVERTURNED EARLY PETITION DEADLINES
The chart below lists the 49 known judicial decisions that either struck down early petition deadlines for newly-qualifying parties and independent candidates, or enjoined those deadlines, or suggested that such early deadlines are probably unconstitutional. The purpose of the chart is not only to serve as a reference, but to show a general reader that the case law on early deadlines is overwhelmingly favorable for ballot access. These lawsuit victories have taken place in thirty states.
This chart includes a few cases in which the state agreed that its deadline was too early, and signed a consent decree. It also includes one case, Bergland v Harris, in which the court suggested the deadline was too early, but remanded the case to a lower court for more fact-finding. The legislature then eased the deadline and no further proceedings were held.
2012 PETITIONING FOR PRESIDENT
#partisan label permitted (other than "independent").
PARTIES NOT ON PETITIONING CHART
Parties that are not included on the petitioning chart above, but which are attempting to get on the ballot, are: (1) the Justice Party has 50 signatures in Kentucky, 100 signatures in Ohio, 100 in Pennsylvania, and 200 in Texas; (2) American Third Position has 75 signatures in Mississippi, 25 in New Jersey, and 300 in West Virginia; (3) the Socialist Party has 400 in New Jersey, and is working to requalify in Florida; (4) the Party for Socialism and Liberation has finished its Vermont petition.
The Justice Party is hoping that one-state ballot-qualified parties in Connecticut, Delaware, Michigan, New Mexico, Oregon, South Carolina, and Vermont, will nominate Rocky Anderson for President. Five of those parties nominated Ralph Nader in 2008.
MAINE MAY ELECT AN INDEPENDENT U.S. SENATOR THIS YEAR
On March 5, Angus King said that he will run for U.S. Senate this year as an independent. Polls have showed that he is likely to win. He was elected as an independent Governor in 1994, and easily re-elected in 1998.
Although Maine has had strong independent candidates for Governor in the last forty years (an independent was elected three times), no independent candidate for U.S. Senate in Maine has ever polled as much as 10% of the vote, in the history of popular U.S. Senate elections, which started in 1914.
FORMER OR CURRENT PUBLIC OFFICIALS RUN AS INDEPENDENT CANDIDATES
During March, several current or former public officials announced plans to run as independents. On March 22, Nancy Argenziano, a former Republican State Senator, said she will run as an independent for the Florida House. On March 11, former Democratic Congressman Donald A. Bailey said he will run for Pennsylvania Attorney General as an independent. On March 21, Jack Cunningham, the Republican County Clerk of Kane County, Illinois, said he may run for Congress as an independent.
MINOR PARTY PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARIES
Arizona: Green Party primary, February 28, results are Jill Stein 385, Kent Mesplay 50, Richard Grayson 39, Michael Oatman 39, Gary Swing 30, Gerard Davis 18.
Massachusetts: Green Party primary, March 6, with these candidates on the ballot: Jill Stein, Kent Mesplay, Harley Mikkelson. Neither the Secretary of State nor the media have yet reported the results.
Missouri: Libertarian primary, Feb. 7: James Ogle 483, uncommitted 431. None of the other Libertarians seeking the party?s nomination entered this primary.
Former Governor and U.S. Senator David Boren, a Democrat who is now President of the University of Oklahoma, recently became an endorser and spokesperson for Americans Elect. Also Michal Eisner, former CEO of the Disney Company, recently published an op-ed in favor of Americans Elect.
Currently there are 28 announced candidates for the Americans Elect nomination, including some presidential candidates who are also seeking the nomination of another party, or who have already received the nomination of another party. Rocky Anderson of the Justice Party, Marlin Miller of American Third Position Party, David Jon Sponheim of America?s Third Party, and R. J. Harris of the Libertarian Party, also are officially seeking the Americans Elect nomination. Buddy Roemer, who is seeking it, is also seeking the Reform Party nomination.
As of March 25, Americans Elect had collected 2,484,242 signatures across the nation, according to its web page.
Americans Elect recently received a Trademark for its name.
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Gary Johnson Recommends that Libertarian Party Nominate Former Judge Jim Gray for Vice-President (April 30, 2012, 01:24 PM)
On April 30, former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson, who is widely expected to be the Libertarian Party presidential nominee this year, endorsed former California Superior Court Judge Jim Gray for the Libertarian Party’s vice-presidential nomination. Gray was appointed to the Superior Court in 1989 by California Governor George Deukmejian, and served as a Judge until 2010. Gray had previously served as a Municipal Court Judge in Santa Ana, California. In 2004, when Gray was the party’s U.S. Senate nominee in 2004, he took a leave of absence. Gray polled 216,522 votes for U.S. Senate in 2004. His best showing was in Mendocino County, where he polled 5.2%. Here is Gray’s wiki page. He is age 67.
On other Libertarian presidential campaign news, Wes Benedict and Arthur DiBianca, two Texas Libertarians, have founded the “Libertarian Action Super PAC”, also known as LASPAC. It has already received $100,000 in contributions, and plans to make independent expenditures to promote the Libertarian presidential ticket. Donations to such committees are unlimited, as long as the committee does not coordinate with the candidate.
Ron Paul Has Potential of Enough Support to be Placed in Nomination at Republican Convention (April 29, 2012, 07:57 PM)
Republican Party national convention rules do not permit anyone to be nominated unless the candidate has plurality “support” from at least five states. Ron Paul has been gaining enough delegates in the various party meetings that actually choose delegates, to have a chance at meeting the 5-state “support” rule. See this post about Massachusetts from PolicyMic, and this and this post about certain other states from DailyPaul. Last week it was clearly established that Paul has the most delegates of any candidate in Minnesota.
Texas Voters Visit Polls Twice in May (April 29, 2012, 11:36 AM)
Texas holds non-partisan city elections on May 12, and then on May 29 holds its partisan primaries for all partisan office, including President. Having two separate kinds of election only 17 days apart has consequences that are explained in this article.
Russian Voters About to Gain Ability to Elect Governors of Regions (April 28, 2012, 09:57 AM)
The Russian Parliament has passed a bill to again let Russian voters choose Governors for the various regions of Russia. See this story. Under current law, all the Governors are appointed by the central government.
Constitution Party in Colorado Objects to Americans Elect?s Party Name (April 27, 2012, 11:14 PM)
In Colorado, the Constitution Party is named the “American Constitution Party.” According to this story, the Colorado Constitution Party has asked the Secretary of State not to permit Americans Elect to use “Americans” in its party name. However, it doesn’t seem likely that the Secretary of State will accede to that request. Thanks to Uncovered Politics for the link.
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