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New Hampshire Bill, Restricting Flexibility of Newly-Qualifying Parties, is Signed into Law (June 13, 2012, 01:19 AM)
On May 31, New Hampshire Governor John Lynch signed SB 236 into law. It says that newly-qualifying parties must identify their nominees in June, even though the petition to qualify that party is not due until August. The bill takes effect immediately. The only party that is adversely affected this year is the Libertarian Party, which is the only newly-qualifying party expected to successfully petition in New Hampshire this year. If the bill had not passed, the Libertarians would have more time to recruit more candidates. See this story. In New Hampshire, newly-qualifying parties nominate by convention.
The bill does not affect independent candidates. The bill is probably unconstitutional, at least as applied to a newly-qualifying party that has not yet chosen its presidential nominee by June. However, the Libertarians already chose their national ticket in May. If Americans Elect had not dropped out of the 2012 presidential race, and if it hadn’t chosen its national ticket by mid-June, then Americans Elect would have been in a good position to sue New Hampshire. New Hampshire is the only state in the nation in which no minor party or independent candidate has ever won a constitutional ballot access case.
The New Hampshire primary (for office other than President) is on September 11. The bill is discriminatory, because it forces newly-qualifying parties to nominate their candidates three months before the major parties must nominate.
Jesse Ventura Virtually Endorses Gary Johnson (June 13, 2012, 01:05 AM)
On June 12, CNN broadcast an interview with former Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura. Venture said voters who really want to rebel ought to vote for Gary Johnson. See this story. Thanks to Starchild for the link.
Arizona Election Returns, Special U.S. House Election (June 12, 2012, 11:41 PM)
Here is a link to the Arizona Secretary of State’s web page, showing election returns for U.S. House, 8th district, special election. The ballot had Democratic, Republican, and Green Party nominees. The Democratic nominee is winning. The Green nominee has 2.48% (as of 8:40 p.m. Arizona time). By comparison, the Green Party had three U.S. House nominees in Arizona in November 2010, and they averaged 1.65% of the vote.
North Dakota held its primary on June 12, for the Republican, Democratic, Libertarian, and Constitution Parties. North Dakota has an open primary, which means any voter can choose any party’s primary ballot. The primary ballots are all printed on a single sheet of paper, and the voter decides in the privacy of the voting booth which primary he or she will participate in. North Dakota law requires candidates for statewide office to poll at least 300 votes in the primary, in order to advance to the November ballot. All three Libertarian candidates for statewide office met the requirement.
The Constitution Party did not have any candidates, but the state still printed primary ballots for it. In theory, a write-in candidate could have been nominated, but no write-in candidate polled enough votes to be nominated.
The Libertarian Party was disadvantaged in this primary because the state printed the Libertarian Party primary ballot on the back of the ballot, whereas the other three parties were printed on the front. But that problem was overcome. Here is a link to the Secretary of State’s web page, giving election returns. Not all votes have been counted yet.
The South Carolina press has carried many stories about this year’s primaries, in which 250 major party candidates for legislature and county office were eliminated from the primary ballots due to a technicality. Some of these candidates are now running as independent candidates, and are working on their petition drives. The deadline is July 16. See this story about one particular candidate’s petitioning activity. The requirement is 5% of the number of registered voters, which is quite difficult.
South Carolina has only had one independent in the legislature in the entire period starting in 1896. He is Jim Cromer, who was elected as an independent in 1990 and re-elected as an independent three more times. Chances are, in the November 2012 election, several individuals will be elected as independent candidates, even though they will then consider themselves members of one of the two major parties.
Salon Covers Odd U.S. House Race in Michigan (June 12, 2012, 04:26 PM)
Salon has this interesting article about Michigan’s U.S. House race, 11th district. That district went from being a safe seat for the Republican incumbent, Thad McCotter, into a district that is wildly unpredictable. McCotter failed to get 1,000 valid signatures on his petition to be on the Republican primary ballot, and then decided not to be a write-in candidate in the primary.
Scotusblog Lists Washington State ?Top-Two Open Primary? On its List of Cert Petitions to Watch (June 12, 2012, 04:13 PM)
On June 11, Scotusblog listed the Washington state lawsuit over the constitutionality of top-two election systems in its “cert petitions to watch.” See this link. Scroll down to the heading “Petitions of the day.” Thanks to Thomas Jones for this news.
Texas Newspapers Cover Libertarian Party, Green Party Nominating Conventions (June 12, 2012, 01:46 PM)
The Texas ballot-qualified minor parties held their nominating conventions on the weekend of June 9-10. Here is a story about the Libertarian Party convention and the Green Party convention. Both parties are ballot-qualified, based on their votes in 2010.
Americans Elect has suspended its petition in Texas, and the Constitution Party and other unqualified parties don’t seem to be trying to get on in Texas this year, so the November Texas ballot is expected to have only four presidential candidates on the ballot. The petition deadline for all unqualified parties and independent candidates is June 29.
South Carolina holds its Republican and Democratic primaries (for office other than President) on Tuesday, June 12. According to this story, there is still no decision on whether Paul Thurmond, a Republican running for State Senate, 41st district, is eligible. Presumably the decision will come down very soon.
If Thurmond is found ineligible by a state court, then the Republican Party will have no nominee for the 41st district seat, because all of Thurmond’s Republican opponents have already been disqualified.
Hearing Set on California Bill to Outlaw Paying Voter Registration Workers on a Per-Card Basis (June 12, 2012, 12:16 PM)
On Tuesday, June 19, at 1:30 p.m., the California Senate Elections Committee will hear AB 2058, which makes it illegal to pay registration drive workers on a per-registration card basis. The author is Assemblyman Richard Pan (D-Sacramento). The hearing is in Room 3191.
Under current law, the only method for a party to remain ballot-qualified is for it to increase its registration to over 100,000 members. AB 2058 would make it significantly more difficult for parties to increase their registration. In 2011, an identical bill, SB 205, passed the legislature but was vetoed by Governor Jerry Brown.
The same Committee will hear AB 2410, which would bar anyone from running for any elective office if that person, during the past twenty years, has been convicted of a felony involving bribery, embezzlement, or theft of public money. The bill makes no exception for federal office, and therefore violates the U.S. Constitution. States are not permitted to add to the qualifications for federal office.
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