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  Ballot Access News is edited and published by Richard Winger, the nation's leading expert on ballot access legal issues.

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Some Alaska Legislators Not Happy with Libertarian Party Choice for State Campaign Finance Commission

Published on March 5, 2015,

As previously reported, last year the Alaska Libertarian Party came in second for Governor of Alaska among the party nominees for that office. That is because the Democrats didn’t have a gubernatorial nominee. Therefore, under Alaska law, the Libertarian Party had the right to choose a nominee for the Commission that regulates campaign finance.

According to this story, the legislators who must approve the appointment aren’t sure they want to appoint Bill McCord, the Libertarian Party’s choice. The story is fairly comprehensive, and says one objection to McCord is that he hasn’t lived in Alaska very long. The story does not say if the position actually has a duration of residency requirement, but probably there is no such requirement. The story also does not say that McCord has been very interested in election law for over twenty-five years. Back in 1991, McCord was a constituent of Congressman Al Swift, who was chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives committee that handled election law bills. McCord helped persuade Swift to hold a hearing on a bill that would have helped minor parties and independent candidates.

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South Dakota Bill that Makes Ballot Access More Restrictive has Hearing Friday, March 6

Published on March 5, 2015,

The South Dakota House State Affairs Committee hears SB 69 on Friday, March 6, at 7:45 a.m. The hearing is in room 414. The bill injures ballot access three ways: (1) it makes it more difficult for a member of a small qualified party to get on his or her party’s primary ballot; (2) it won’t let members of qualified parties sign for an independent candidate; (3) it moves the petition deadline for newly-qualifying parties from March to February.

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Denver Elections Office Lets Petitioning Candidates Use Electronic Petition Signatures

Published on March 5, 2015,

Last month, the Denver Elections office announced that candidates can complete ballot access petitions using a tablet with a stylus, instead of paper petitions. The tablet is connected to the city’s voter registration records, so a circulator using the device can know instantly if the petition is valid. Candidates can rent tablets from the city for $375, and the money is returned when the device is returned.

So far, state law forbids the device from being used for local initiative petitions. Here is a link to the Denver Elections office press release about the program. Thanks to Election Administration Reports for this news.

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Oregon Legislature Passes Bill to Automatically Register Everyone with a Drivers License or State ID Card

Published on March 5, 2015,

On March 5, Oregon HB 2177 passed the legislature. See this story. The bill automatically registers everyone on the Oregon Motor Vehicles Department list who is at least age 18 and has indicated U.S. citizenship. No other state takes this approach, except that in a sense North Dakota has this policy, because in North Dakota there is no such thing as voter registration.

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New Hampshire House Defeats Bill to Restore Straight-Ticket Device

Published on March 5, 2015,

On March 4, the New Hampshire House defeated HB 185 by 28-335. The bill would have restored the straight-ticket device, which New Hampshire repealed in 2007. All of the votes in favor of straight-ticket voting were Republicans.

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New Hampshire Ballot Access Bill Loses on House Floor

Published on March 5, 2015,

On March 4, HB 665 was defeated in the New Hampshire House of Representatives by a vote of 56-286. The bill would have lowered the number of signatures for independent candidates and the nominees of unqualified parties. The statewide requirement would have dropped from 3,000 to 1,317.

The 56 Representatives who voted in favor of the bill consist of 52 Republicans and 4 Democrats. The lone independent, Representative David Luneau, voted against the bill. Thanks to Darryl Perry for this news.