Ballot Access News -- August 12, 1996

Volume 12, Number 6

This issue was originally printed on white paper.

Table of Contents
  17. 1996 PETITIONING FOR PRESIDENT (continued) (table)
  25. Subscription Information



On July 31, U.S. District Court Judge George Howard ruled that Arkansas cannot require a new political party to submit a petition signed by 3% of the last vote cast (currently 21,506 signatures), since Arkansas only requires 10,000 signatures for an independent candidate for statewide office (for office other than president). Citizens to Establish a Reform Party v Priest LRC96-185. Judge Howard is a Carter appointee.

In addition, the January 2 petition deadline was also declared unconstitutional. The Reform Party will now be permitted to nominate candidates for partisan offices this year, and may nominate its candidates by convention, since Arkansas primaries have already been held. The party expects to have some candidates for the state legislature and at least one for congress. This will be the first time that any third party candidates have appeared on the ballot in Arkansas, with the party label (for any office other than president), since 1970. Arkansas procedures for third party and independent presidential ballot access are very easy, and were not at issue in this lawsuit.

The decision was especially noteworthy, given that two previous 1996 lawsuits to get the Reform Party on the Arkansas ballot, did not succeed. The first had been filed on March 11 in federal court, over the question of whether the Reform Party's petition had enough signatures. In that case, federal judge William Wilson had ruled that federal courts have no authority to hear such questions. The party had then filed in state court, which ruled that the party did not have enough valid signatures. At that point, the only hope for the party was to get the law declared unconstitutional, and this has now happened.

Arkansas has not decided yet, whether to appeal.

The decision was the first to strike down the number of signatures needed to qualify a new party for the statewide ballot, since 1984, when South Dakota's 10% petition was invalidated. Furthermore, it was the first time ever that the number of signatures to qualify a new party was struck down, on the grounds that the statewide independent petition requirement is a smaller number.

Arkansas has required a statewide independent candidate (for office other than president) to submit 10,000 signatures, since 1977. Clearly, that requirement is sufficient to keep the Arkansas ballot uncluttered. Only one candidate has ever managed to meet the 10,000 signature requirement in Arkansas. Barring an appeal by the state, or some legislative revision, the number of signatures needed for a new party in Arkansas is now 10,000, and the petition deadline is not determined.


The last B.A.N. reported that the New York legislature had passed a bill, easing ballot access for all candidates, major party, minor party, and independent alike. The bill passed on July 10, but the legislature still hasn't sent the bill to Governor George Pataki for his signature.

It is believed that Pataki asked the legislature not to send the bill to him yet, because he doesn't wish to sign it until petitioning for this election year is complete. Although the bill does not go into effect until December 1, 1996, if it were signed now, it would be possible for any candidate with ballot access woes, to sue for an immediate application of the new, more relaxed rules. It would be difficult for the state to defend the old rules, if the new procedures were signed into law for future elections. This argument will fail, though, if the bill isn't yet signed into law.


On July 30, the Voting Rights Section of the U.S. Justice Department effectively stopped the Alaska Republican Party from holding a mail-in primary at party expense (see B.A.N. of May 28, 1996, for an explanation of why the Alaska Republican Party planned to hold its own private primary).

Under the Voting Rights Act, sixteen particular states, including Alaska, cannot change any election procedures unless the U.S. Justice Department gives permission. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 back on March 27, 1996, the political parties also cannot change any procedures relating to nomination of candidates, unless they also ask permission from the Justice Department. The Justice Department is using its new power over political parties to stop the Republican Party of Alaska from holding its own primary.

Technically, the Justice Department didn't say that the party couldn't hold a primary. Instead, the Department waited until the very last day, to tell the party that it needs more information about the primary. Even if the Party had immediately answered the questions, the Department would have another sixty days to evaluate the answers. By then it would be too late for the party to hold a primary, since the November ballots must be printed in September.


On July 25, the US Taxpayers Party filed a lawsuit in Texas state court, alleging that Texas had improperly rejected signatures on its petition. National Committee of the US Taxpayers Party v Garza, 96-08741, Travis County. On July 30 the Secretary of State announced that the party will appear on the ballot.


On July 30, the 5th circuit ruled 2-1 that Louisiana cannot continue to hold congressional elections in October, since Congress passed a law back in 1872 that congressional elections must be in November. Love v Foster, no. 96-30429.

The U.S. Constitution, Article I, Section 4, gives Congress the power to regulate congressional elections, and is the basis for the 1872 law. Louisiana, since 1978, has been holding congressional elections in October. All candidates run on the same ballot, and all voters receive that ballot. If anyone polls at least 50% of the vote, that person is elected in October; otherwise there is a run-off between the top two vote-getters in November, even if they are members of the same party.

Louisiana has asked for a rehearing, and if that is denied, plans to ask for U.S. Supreme Court review.

If the decision stands, Louisiana is free to continue to use its blanket primary system, but must hold the first election in November. The federal law says that if any state requires a run-off, such run-offs may be held in December.

The decision was written by Judge W. Eugene Davis, a Reagan appointee, and co-signed by Judge Eldon Fallon, a Clinton appointee. The dissenter was Judge James Dennis, another Clinton appointee.

The voters who filed the lawsuit, hope that eventually the state will change its blanket primary, and switch to a system in which only registered Republicans help choose Republican nominees, only registered Democrats help choose Democratic nominees, etc.


Noted constitutional expert Lawrence Tribe will argue on behalf of fusion, in the U.S. Supreme Court, in McKenna v Twin Cities Area New Party. The argument will probably be in December 1996. The case will determine whether the First Amendment protects the right of two political parties to jointly nominate the same candidate.


On January 5, the 8th circuit ruled that the First Amendment protects the right of two political parties, to jointly nominate the same candidate, a practice termed "fusion". Therefore, until or unless the U.S. Supreme Court reverses this decision, all of the states in the 8th circuit must permit "fusion".

Nebraska is in the 8th circuit. Since fusion hasn't been legal in Nebraska for approximately 90 years, the state wasn't prepared for the issue.

At the May Libertarian primary, no candidate was printed on the Libertarian ballot for U.S. Senator. A registered Libertarian, John DeCamp, sought to win the party's nomination by write-in votes. He polled eleven write-ins. However, the winner of the Republican primary, Chuck Hagel, polled fourteen write-in votes in the Libertarian primary, and claimed the nomination of both parties.

Nebraska law requires the write-in winner of a partisan primary, to pay a filing fee, shortly after the primary is over. Hagel didn't pay that fee, so the State ruled that Hagel wasn't the Libertarian nominee after all. This meant that there was a vacancy in the Libertarian nomination, which could be filled by the party's officers. The party's officers chose DeCamp.

Hagel and the Republican Party then sued, claiming that Hagel is the Libertarian nominee and that Hagel did not need to pay a filing fee for having won the Libertarian primary, since he already paid a filing fee to enter the Republican primary, and no candidate need ever pay more than one filing fee. The law doesn't cover this point, since of course when the law was written, no one could be the nominee of more than one party. Republican Party v State Board of Canvassers, case 543-292, Lancaster County District Court. The hearing is August 12.

Arkansas, also in the 8th circuit, may see examples of fusion also. The Reform Party's nomination is being sought by various Republican and Democratic nominees.


The voters of San Francisco will vote on November 5, whether or not to use preference voting, to elect county supervisors.

Congressman James E. Clyburn, South Carolina's only black member of Congress, has become an active proponent of preference voting for congressional elections. He is attempting to persuade the South Carolina legislature to memorialize Congress, to ask that Congress permit states to use preference voting in congressional elections.


On August 7, a 3-judge federal court redrew the boundaries of 13 of Texas' 30 congressional districts. Since Texas already held its primaries, the judges ruled that the 13 newly-designed districts will elect members of Congress in November on a non-partisan basis. Primary results for these 13 districts are now meaningless. All candidates must requalify, either by paying $500 or by submitting 500 signatures.


The Libertarian Party, which recently became a fully-qualified party in Oklahoma, has become the first party in that state's history to invite independent voters to vote in its primary. Under a 1986 U.S. Supreme Court decision, Tashjian v Republican Party of Connecticut, any party is free to decide for itself, whether to let independent voters vote in its primary.

Oklahoma does not hold a primary for a qualified party unless there is a contest between at least two candidates. This year the state must hold a Libertarian primary, since there are two Libertarians running against each other for U.S. Senate.


The Federal Communications Commission still hasn't announced whether it will let TV networks give free time for the major party presidential candidates (but no others) to present their programs.


1. Alabama: On August 12, the Natural Law Party filed a lawsuit in federal court to get on the ballot. The state admits that the party turned in 12,020 valid signatures. This number was the legal requirement in Alabama before March 18, 1996; but on that date the requirement was increased to 36,060. Natural Law Party of Alabama v Bennett. The party charges that it violates due process for any state to increase the number of signatures, in the middle of petition season. Also, the state put the Libertarian Party on the 1996 ballot and the Libertarians were only required to submit 12,020 signatures.

2. Arizona: On August 7, the Libertarian Party filed a lawsuit in state court to get its presidential nominee on the ballot. Arizona Libertarian Party v Hull, 96-13996, Maricopa County. The lawsuit is needed because the party filed its candidates for presidential elector, three business days too late. The hearing is August 16.

3. Maryland: the Libertarian Party is about to file a lawsuit, against state law which forces it to submit petitions of approximately 9,000 signatures for each of its U.S. House candidates, even though it is a qualified party. Maryland is the only state in the nation which has no third party or independent candidates on the ballot for federal or state office (except for president) this year.

4. Oklahoma: the Natural Law Party is about to sue the State Election Board, over state law which forces independent presidential candidates to submit 41,006 signatures, yet which does not require an independent candidate for any other office to submit any signatures at all (instead, they pay a filing fee).

5. South Carolina: on August 8, the Natural Law Party filed a lawsuit in federal court to force the state to print the names of its candidates on the ballot. Natural Law Party of S.C. v DePass, 3:96-2301-17. The case was assigned to Judge Joseph Anderson, a Reagan appointee who has never before had a ballot access case.

The state admits that the party is a qualified party (since it submitted 10,000 signatures by the May petition deadline) but says that it cannot nominate candidates this year because it didn't hold organizing meetings in March and April. The party did hold such meetings, but the meetings were held immediately after the party submitted its petition. The party argues that it is absurd to force it to have held meetings, before it was a recognized party.

6. Virginia: supporters of Ralph Nader are about to sue Virginia, to force it to permit write-in votes for president. The state Constitution guarantees the right to cast write-ins at general elections, but the state won't permit write-ins for president. The state says that write-ins for president are impossible, since the true candidates are the presidential elector candidates. However, 30 other states handle this problem, by providing that a write-in presidential candidate must file a slate of elector candidates in advance of the election. Then, write-ins for that presidential candidate are deemed to be cast for that slate of electors.

7. West Virginia: the State Supreme Court has agreed to hear the Libertarian Party's lawsuit to get its presidential candidate on the ballot. State ex rel Browne v Hechler, no. 23637. The hearing will be near the end of August. The issue is whether the state may charge a $2,000 filing fee for the presidential candidates of new parties, given that it does not charge any fee to place the presidential candidates of the old parties on the November ballot.


Two states which already permit third parties to use a stand-in candidate, recently improved these procedures.

Iowa's Secretary of State had ruled last year that substitution is legal, but now he has placed this ruling in the state's administrative code.

Colorado's legislature recently passed a bill which clarifies that substitution can be used by all third parties, whether they qualify by petition or by fee.


1. Missouri: Independent candidate Jo Ann Emerson may be elected to the U.S. House from the 8th district. She is the widow of Congressman Bill Emerson, a Republican who died June 23.

Mrs. Emerson was too late to enter the Republican primary, so she qualified as an independent candidate. If elected, she will affiliate with Republicans in the House. She is endorsed by Newt Gingrich and Missouri's Republican U.S. Senators.

2. Oregon: Republican State Senator Greg Walden created the "Second Congressional District Party" so that he could run for Congress in opposition to the incumbent Republican member of Congress, Wes Cooley. Since Cooley was caught up in several scandals, and since the Democratic Party is weak in this district, for a while observers felt that Walden might win. However, on August 6, Cooley withdrew, and the Republican Party is now free to nominate another candidate, so Walden's chances are lessened.


1. Georgia: the rehearing request in Duke v Cleland, 95-8452, is still pending. This is the case in the 11th circuit over whether a party can keep candidates off its primary ballots, if it doesn't like their political views.

2. Nebraska: (See also this update.) there will be a decision any day in Bernbeck v Moore, 96-cv-3263 (federal court). The issue is the validity of a state law which forbids anyone from circulating an initiative petition, unless that person has been a registered voter for at least 30 days.

There will also soon be a decision in Dobrovolny v Moore, 96-cv-3262, over whether it violates due process for a state to require an initiative to be signed by 10% of the number of registered voters, as of the time the petition is submitted. The problem with this formula is that the circulators of the petition cannot know how many signatures they will need, until after they have submitted the petition!


See this note about tables.

Alabama 36,060 5,000 already on *alr on (indp) *in court *already on Jul 1 Aug 30
Alaska 2,586 # 2,586 already on already on *already on already on in doubt in doubt
Arizona 15,062 # 7,813 *in court already on too late in court May 18 Jun 27
Arkansas *10,000 # 0 *already on *already on already on already on *in doubt Sep 15
California (reg) 89,007 147,238 already on already on already on already on Oct 24 95 Aug 9
Colorado no procedure # 0 already on already on already on already on -- Jul 16
Connecticut no procedure # 7,500 *finished *already on *finished *already on -- Aug 7
Delaware (reg.) 191 3,828 already on finished *finished *already on Aug 17 Jul 15
D.C. no procedure # 3,458 *finished finished *finished 0 -- Aug 20
Florida 196,788 # 65,596 finished finished write-in too late Jul 16 Jul 15
Georgia 30,036 # 31,771 already on finished finished finished Jul 9 Jul 9
Hawaii 4,889 # 3,829 already on alr on (indp) already on 0 Apr 24 Sep 6
Idaho 9,644 4,822 already on finished *9,000 *11,500 Aug 31 Aug 26
Illinois no procedure # 25,000 already on finished *finished *finished -- Aug 5
Indiana no procedure # 29,822 already on *already on too late *too late -- Jul 15
Iowa no procedure # 1,500 *1,700 finished finished finished -- Aug 16
Kansas 16,418 5,000 already on already on *finished already on Jun 1 Aug 5
Kentucky no procedure # 5,000 *already on *already on *already on *already on -- Sep 3
Louisiana (reg) 111,121 # 0 0 *already on 0 0 Jun 30 Aug 29
Maine (reg) 25,565 # 4,000 already on already on already on already on De 14 95 May 24
Maryland 10,000 72,785 already on *already on finished already on Aug 5 Aug 5
Massachsts. (reg) 31,661 # 10,000 already on finished *finished *finished Feb 14 Jul 30
Michigan 30,891 30,891 already on *already on *already on too late Jul 18 Jul 18
Minnesota 89,731 # 2,000 *finished already on *500 *1,200 May 1 Sep 10
Mississippi just be org. # 1,000 already on *alr on (indp) already on already on Jan 12 Sep 6
Missouri 10,000 10,000 already on finished *finished finished Jul 29 Jul 29
Montana 10,471 # 10,471 already on already on already on *finished Mar 14 Jul 31
Nebraska 5,773 2,500 already on *already on already on *1,000 Aug 1 Aug 27
Nevada 3,761 3,761 already on *already on already on already on Jul 11 Jul 11
New Hampshire 9,584 # 3,000 already on *already on *finished *already on Aug 9 Aug 7
New Jersey no procedure # 800 *already on *already on *already on *already on -- Jul 29
New Mexico 2,339 14,029 already on already on already on already on Apr 2 Sep 10
New York no procedure # 15,000 *19,000 already on *12,000 *11,000 -- Aug 20
North Carolina 51,904 80,684 already on already on already on *too late May 16 Jun 28
North Dakota 7,000 4,000 already on already on already on already on De 29 95 Sep 6
Ohio 33,463 5,000 *finished already on already on finished Aug 22 Aug 22
Oklahoma 49,751 # 41,711 already on already on too late too late May 31 Jul 15
Oregon 18,316 14,601 already on already on *finished *finished Aug 1 Aug 27
Pennsylvania no procedure # 24,425 *already on *already on *already on *already on -- Aug 1
Rhode Island 18,069 # 1,000 400 finished *finished *finished Aug 1 Sep 6
South Carolina 10,000 10,000 already on already on *in court already on May 5 Aug 1
South Dakota 7,792 # 3,117 already on alr on (indp) *finished already on Apr 2 Aug 6
Tennessee 37,179 25 already on alr on (indp) already on *already on Apr 3 Aug 20
Texas 43,963 61,541 already on alr on (indp) *already on *already on May 27 May 13
Utah 500 # 300 already on already on already on already on Mar 1 Sep 1
Vermont just be org. # 1,000 already on *already on already on *already on Sep 19 Sep 19
Virginia no procedure # 15,168 *20,000 already on *10,000 *finished -- Aug 23
Washington no procedure # 200 already on already on already on already on -- Jul 6
West Virginia no procedure # 6,837 in court finished *too late *too late -- Aug 1
Wisconsin 10,000 # 2,000 already on already on *already on already on Jun 1 Sep 3
Wyoming 8,000 9,810 already on alr on (indp) already on 0 May 1 Aug 25

"FULL PARTY REQ." is a procedure by which a new party can qualify before it chooses candidates; not every state has such a procedure. * -- entry changed since last issue. # -- label: candidate procedure in these states (32) lets candidate choose a party label, which is printed on the ballot.

1996 PETITIONING FOR PRESIDENT (continued) (table)

See this note about tables.

Alabama *1,000 0 *800 0 *finished *100 0 0
Alaska already on 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Arizona in court too late too late too late too late too late too late too late
Arkansas 0 already on 0 0 0 0 0 0
California already on *too late *too late *too late *too late *too late *too late *too late
Colorado already on already on already on already on *already on already on too late too late
Connecticut *finished *too late *too late *too late *too late *too late *too late *too late
Delaware *finished 0 0 0 (reg) 3 (reg) 4 0 20
D.C. *2,500 0 0 *400 *finished 0 0 *550
Florida write-in too late too late write-in write-in too late too late too late
Georgia too late too late too late too late too late too late too late too late
Hawaii already on 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Idaho 0 0 2,500 0 0 0 0 0
Illinois *too late *too late *too late *too late *too late *too late *too late *too late
Indiana *too late *too late *too late *too late *too late *too late *too late *too late
Iowa *500 0 0 0 *finished 0 *1,300 100
Kansas *too late *too late *too late *too late *too late *too late *too late *too late
Kentucky *2,000 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Louisiana 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Maine already on too late too late too late too late too late too late too late
Maryland *too late *finished *too late *too late *too late *too late *too late *too late
Massachsts. *too late *finished *too late *too late *too late *too late *too late *too late
Michigan too late already on too late too late too late too late too late too late
Minnesota *1,000 *500 *0 *0 *finished *0 *already on 0
Mississippi *200 0 *600 0 0 *150 0 0
Missouri *too late *too late *too late *too late *too late *too late *too late *too late
Montana *too late *too late *too late *too late *too late *too late *too late *too late
Nebraska *1,000 0 200 0 0 0 0 0
Nevada *already on *too late *too late *too late *too late *too late *too late *too late
New Hampshire *500 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
New Jersey *already on *already on *too late *too late *already on *too late *too late *too late
New Mexico already on 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
New York *16,000 *18,000 *0 *0 *22,000 0 *0 *5,000
North Carolina *Write-in too late too late too late Write-in too late too late too late
North Dakota *700 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Ohio *2,500 *7,000 0 0 0 0 0 *0
Oklahoma too late too late too late too late too late too late too late too late
Oregon already on 0 0 already on 0 0 0 0
Pennsylvania *too late *too late *too late *too late *too late *too late *too late *too late
Rhode Island *1,000 *700 0 0 *50 0 0 0
South Carolina *too late *too late *too late *too late *too late *too late *too late *too late
South Dakota *too late *too late *too late *too late *too late *too late *too late *too late
Tennessee *already on 0 *30 *already on 0 *already on 0 0
Texas too late too late too late too late too late too late too late too late
Utah *already on finished 0 0 *finished *finished 0 0
Vermont *500 0 0 already on *10 0 already on 0
Virginia 5,500 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Washington already on already on already on too late already on too late too late too late
West Virginia *too late *too late *too late *too late *too late *too late *too late *too late
Wisconsin *1,000 *0 *0 *400 *0 *0 *500 *0
Wyoming in court 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
STATES ON 12 5 2 4 3 2 1 0

American is on in *Colorado and Utah. Socialist Equality is on in Michigan and New Jersey, and finished in MN. * -- entry changed since last issue. "Collins" is independent candidate Charles Collins of GA. "Write-in" means write-ins will be counted for the party. Green column includes A Delaware Party in the state of Delaware, which backs Ralph Nader.


The Peace & Freedom Party of California, a ballot-qualified party, held a state convention on August 3-4 to choose a presidential candidate. Three candidates, all of whom are already the presidential candidates of another party, enjoyed substantial support at that meeting: Monica Moorehead (Workers World candidate, who won the non-binding PFP presidential primary in March 1996); Mary Cal Hollis (Socialist Party candidate); and Ralph Nader.

No one was able to obtain a majority, although at various points both Moorehead and Hollis were only one vote short. The convention then voted to choose a slate of electors, some of whom would be pledged to each of the three contenders. However, the California Secretary of State ruled on August 6 that if all of the party's elector candidates don't agree on which presidential candidate they support, the party will be omitted from the presidential portion of the ballot.

The party may hold another convention. Any further convention must be held before the end of August. Nader will be on the California ballot in any event, since the Green Party is also on in that state.


The vote to determine which presidential candidates could be formally nominated in Long Beach on August 11 was: Ross Perot 27,883 (64.7%); Richard Lamm 11,965 (27.8%); other 3,259 (7.6%). The party mailed ballots to 979,882 individuals, but the post office returned 99,584 as "undeliverable". Of the 880,298 ballots which were delivered, only 4.9% were used and mailed back to Dallas.

The next vote, to determine the party's presidential nominee, will be announced on August 18.


Kathy Coll, who had been chosen as a Buchanan delegate to the Republican national convention from Pennsylvania, was removed as a delegate on August 8, after the Republican state party learned that she had helped circulate the petition to place the U.S. Taxpayers Party on the Pennsylvania ballot (in Pennsylvania, the U.S. Taxpayers Party is called the Constitutional Party).


Keiko Bonk-Abramson, the only Green Party nominee who has ever been elected to partisan office, has represented one district on the Hawaii County Council for the last four years. This year, instead of running for re-election, she is running for Mayor of Hawaii County. The Green Party has some hope of electing her, and in any event is confident that it will elect two or three of its candidates to this County Council this November.


Leonard Peltier, a well-known Native American activist who has been imprisoned for many years, was nominated as an independent candidate for president last month, by a group which tried to place him on the Washington ballot.

Although the group collected enough valid signatures on the Peltier petition, he will not appear on the ballot. Washington state demands a notarized letter of acceptance from all nominees, and prison authorities refused to let Peltier be visited by a notary public.


The newspaper USA Today, edition of August 23-25, will carry a 16-page advertising insert for the Natural Law Party. This ad will include the complete party platform, and a list of all party candidates. The ad costs hundreds of thousands of dollars, but the party is defraying part of the cost by selling advertising inside the supplement.


COFOE, the Coalition for Free & Open Elections, is a coalition of the nation's nationally-organized political parties. COFOE lends technical assistance to groups who lobby for better ballot access laws. COFOE also sometimes participates in ballot access lawsuits.

At the COFOE Board meeting of June 23, Greg Pason was elected Chairman of COFOE to replace Ann Rosenhaft, who has moved to Great Britain. Pason can be reached at COFOE, PO Box 20263, London Terrace Sta., New York, NY 10011. Telephone (212)-691-0776.

Ballot Access News. is published by and copyright by Richard Winger Note: subscriptions are available!
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Compilation copyright (c) 1996 Bob Bickford