Ballot Access News -- June 2, 1997

Volume 13, Number 3

This issue was originally printed on white paper.

This issue begins the new schedule for publication of Ballot Access News.


Table of Contents
  1. BRITISH ELECTION REBUTS U.S. DEFENDERS OF RESTRICTIVE BALLOT ACCESS LAWS
  2. ALASKA NOW HAS PARTY QUALIFYING PROCEDURE
  3. MAINE BILL GAINS
  4. NORTH CAROLINA BILL GAINS
  5. NEW HAMPSHIRE BILL CONFLICT
  6. COLORADO BILL DIES
  7. TEXAS BILL DIES
  8. HAWAII BILL CORRECTION
  9. INDIANA BILL SIGNED
  10. OREGON BILL REVERSAL
  11. ALABAMA BILLS DIE
  12. LOUISIANA PRIMARY
  13. HIGH COURT REJECTS ALASKA REPUBLICANS
  14. CALIFORNIA TERM LIMITS
  15. LaROUCHE LAWSUIT
  16. DEBATE LAWSUIT
  17. TERM LIMITS LAW OUT
  18. OTHER LAWSUIT NEWS
  19. FLORIDA FILING FEES SOMEWHAT LOWER
  20. MORE LEGISLATIVE NEWS
  21. ELECTION RETURNS BOOK
  22. AARON RUSSO SEEKS NEVADA GOVERNORSHIP
  23. NEW MEXICO ELECTION
  24. 1998 PETITIONING FOR STATEWIDE OFFICE (table)
  25. PARTIES MEET TO PLAN EFFORT TO BOOST RON PAUL BILLS
  26. B.A.N. SCHEDULE CHANGE
  27. ACLU
  28. Subscription Information

BRITISH ELECTION REBUTS U.S. DEFENDERS OF RESTRICTIVE BALLOT ACCESS LAWS

On May 1, Great Britain held a parliamentary election. Three parties (Labor, Conservative, Liberal Democrat) appeared on the ballot in almost all districts, and a fourth party, the Referendum Party, appeared on the ballot in most districts. There were at least three parties on the ballot in every district, and in 97% of the districts, there were at least four parties on the ballot.

In 80% of the districts, there were at least five parties on the ballot. No district had more than ten parties on the ballot; the average district had six parties on the ballot.

British voters enjoyed a freedom which most U.S. voters in congressional elections do not enjoy: the right to choose from a full spectrum of political philosophies. Among the parties which appeared on the ballot in some British districts were the Communist, Freedom, Green, Hemp Coalition, National Front, Natural Law, ProLife Alliance, Socialist, Socialist Equality, Socialist Labour, and Workers Revolutionary Parties.

British ballot access law is not discriminatory. There is no petitioning; every candidate for Parliament can be placed on the ballot, as late as eleven days before the election, by paying a filing fee of slightly over 1,000 pounds (about $1,600). Candidates who poll as much as 5% get a refund.

Why does this matter to the ballot access debate in the U.S.? Because political scientists have long held Britain up as the model two-party system of the world.

When Justice Stephen Breyer, at oral argument last year in Timmons v Twin Cities Area New Party, voiced his belief that discriminatory election laws are needed to "defend" the two-party system, his choice of bad examples were "Fourth Republic France and Italy" (irrelevant examples; both used proportional representation).

Breyer would never have dreamed of using Britain as a "bad" example. British common law is the foundation of U.S. law. Many U.S. Supreme Court decisions have quoted ancient British court decisions to make a legal point. The whole theory of how a two-party system is supposed to work, is based on British history and practice (nowadays, the only political scientists or political commentators who criticize the British election system are advocates of proportional representation).

British voter turnout was considered low, by British historical standards, but at 71.6%, it was better than turnout in any U.S. election of the last sixty years. It is clear that British voters are more satisfied with their election system, than U.S. voters are satisfied with the U.S. system. U.S. turnout in 1996 was 49%.

To compare British voter choices with U.S. choices, note that in the U.S. congressional elections of November 1994, there were 39 U.S. House races with only a single candidate on the ballot (9% of the total of 435 races). Over half of 1994 U.S. House races had only two candidates on the ballot.

Defenders of restrictive ballot access laws say that they are necessary to "prevent factionalism". The Florida Supreme Court last year justified a law which imposes double filing fees on parties other than the Democratic and Republican Parties, on the state interest in "preventing factionalism". The U.S. Supreme Court on April 28, 1997, said states may write their election laws to "temper the destabilizing effects of party splintering and excessive factionalism". The Court has never warned against the dangers of one-candidate elections, and has never even acknowledged that one-candidate elections take place in the United States, even though political scientists have filed at least one brief with the Court, making this point.

Let anyone who is in a position to debate the issue of restrictive ballot access, remember to cite the example of Britain. If there is any truth whatsoever in the claim that a ballot with four, five or six parties would harm the United States, let the person who asserts such a claim try to explain how Great Britain is harmed by such ballots.

The recent elections in France and other countries can be used to make the point as well, but examples other than Britain are less valuable. France has changed its election system several times since World War II (trying a parliamentary system, then a presidential system; trying proportional representation, then abandoning it), so the French example is confusing.


ALASKA NOW HAS PARTY QUALIFYING PROCEDURE

Alaska has joined the ranks of states which have a procedure for a party to qualify itself for the ballot, before it has chosen its candidates. HB 112 became law, even though Alaska Governor Tony Knowles vetoed it, because the legislature overrode his veto on Sunday, May 11. The vote in the joint session was 43-16.

The new procedure is difficult. A group must persuade 6,403 voters (3% of the last gubernatorial vote) to register as members of the party. The only three minor parties which have ever had qualified status in Alaska had this number of registrants at their peak: Libertarian 1,598 (1986); Green 2,869 (1996); Alaska Independence 14,646 (1996).

The Division of Elections has said that it will begin to keep track of the number of registrants of various unqualified parties which indicate they plan to attempt to qualify. The Libertarian Party plans to try.

Previously, a group could not qualify as a "party" in Alaska until after it polled 3% for Governor.


MAINE BILL GAINS

(See also this update.)

LD 1376 passed the Maine Senate on May 30 by a voice vote. The House will probably vote on June 2.

The bill puts the Green Party back on the ballot, by providing that the 5% vote test need only be met every four years. It also lets independent voters sign the new party petition (although members of qualified parties can't sign); makes the petition deadline ten days earlier; makes it illegal for a party to use "independent" in its name; and says that a party is qualified as soon as it meets the 5% vote or petition tests (formerly, even after it met the 5% test, the state forced it to wait another year before it was recognized).


NORTH CAROLINA BILL GAINS

(See also this update.)

On May 1, SB 573 passed the Senate by a vote of 48-0. It changes the petition deadline for new party petitions to July, lets voters register as members of unqualified parties, and eliminates wording on petitions saying signers "represent" the party.


NEW HAMPSHIRE BILL CONFLICT

(See also this update.)

Both houses of the New Hampshire legislature have passed HB 417, which expands the definition of "party" from one which polled 3% for Governor, to one which polled 3% for any statewide candidate. But, the versions passed by each house are not the same, and the bill must go to a conference committee. The Senate version says that all qualified parties nominate by primary; the House version says parties with less than 3% of the registration nominate by convention. If the bill passes, the Reform and Libertarian Parties will be on the 1998 ballot.


COLORADO BILL DIES

HB 1168 failed to be brought up for a vote in the Senate, and the session is now over. The bill would have created a procedure for a group to turn itself into a qualified party, prior to any particular election. The bill had been amended in the Senate to eliminate pre-primary nominating conventions for Democrats and Republicans, a controversial idea that killed the bill.


TEXAS BILL DIES

The Texas legislature adjourned without passing HB 2712, which would have cut the number of signatures for new party petitions from 1% of the last gubernatorial vote, to one-half of 1%, and expanded the petitioning period. The bill cannot be re-introduced next year because the Texas legislature only meets in odd years.


HAWAII BILL CORRECTION

(See also this update.)

The last B.A.N. said that SB 1064 (which has passed the legislature, but which still hasn't been signed by the Governor) imposes a requirement that new party petitions carry the Social Security Number of each signer of a party petition. Fortunately, this provision was amended out of the bill at the last minute.

However, the bill was then amended to set the petition deadline 20 days earlier than it had been before. Also, the bill requires the birthday of every signer to be entered on the petition. No other state requires signers of a petition to show their birthday next to their signatures.


INDIANA BILL SIGNED

On May 13, Governor Frank O'Bannon signed HB 1844. It makes many small improvements in the ballot access laws. Probably the most significant is a provision permitting a group which submitted a petition, to replace any nominee listed on the petition if the candidate withdraws. This had already been policy in Indiana, but only by administrative practice; now it is in the law.


OREGON BILL REVERSAL

(See also this update.)

HB 2203 passed the legislature on May 23. As amended, it raises the number of registered members a party needs to retain its place on the ballot, from approximately 950, to approximately 1,300. The bill doesn't change the 1% vote test, which must also be met. Originally the bill lowered the registration test. The Natural Law and Socialist Parties may ask Governor John Kitzhaber to veto the bill. If he signs it, these parties will need to increase their registration by August 1998 to remain on the ballot.


ALABAMA BILLS DIE

The Alabama legislature has now adjourned, without passing either of the bills to improve ballot access, HB 620 and SB 479.


LOUISIANA PRIMARY

(See also this update.)

On May 28, the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee passed SB 1010, by Senator John Dardenne (R-Baton Rouge). It would revise the primary election system. Currently, Louisiana elections for all public office other than president, are conducted as though they were non-partisan (party labels for qualified parties are printed on the ballot, but they are merely descriptive and have no bearing on the outcome). SB 1010 would re-institute partisan primaries.


HIGH COURT REJECTS ALASKA REPUBLICANS

(See also this update.)

On May 12, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the appeal of the Alaska Republican Party in its lawsuit against Alaska's blanket primary. O'Callaghan v Ulmer, 95-1962. The Court had been pondering whether to hear the case ever since October 1996. The decision was a surprise, since generally when a major political party brings a lawsuit over the First Amendment rights of political parties, the U.S. Supreme Court agrees to hear it. The lower court (in this case, the Alaska Supreme Court) had upheld Alaska's primary system, in which registered Democrats are free to help choose Republican nominees, and vice versa.

The Republican Party hopes to persuade the Green and Alaska Independence Parties to join it in another lawsuit in federal court, since in the first case, the party was not given a chance to submit any evidence. The case which is still alive is Ross v State, A95-0053. It needs more plaintiffs than just the Republicans to avoid res judicata.


CALIFORNIA TERM LIMITS

(See also this update.)

The 9th Circuit will expedite the case over legislative term limits. Bates v Jones, 97-15864. The hearing will be in August, and a decision will be out in time for the 1998 elections.


LaROUCHE LAWSUIT

(See also this update.)

On April 28, the U.S. Court of Appeals, D.C. Circuit, ruled that the lawsuit LaRouche v Fowler, 96-7191, should not be dismissed until a full set of briefs has been filed. The Democratic National Committee had tried to get the case dismissed even before it had been briefed. The issue is whether a national political party is subject to the Voting Rights Act, when it changes a rule which affects a state covered by 5 (mostly, states in the deep South). Last year the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Morse v Republican Party of Virginia that state political parties, as well as state and local governments, are subject to the act, which requires pre-clearance from the U.S. Justice Department before any rule affecting nominations can be changed.


DEBATE LAWSUIT

(See also this update.)

Any group which wishes to file an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court, in defense of the idea that government-owned TV stations which sponsor candidate debates must invite all candidates on the ballot, must do so by June 30. The case is Arkansas Educational TV v Forbes, 96-779. So far, as far as is known, only the Natural Law and Reform Parties are intending to file. On the other side there are amicus briefs from the Association of Public TV Stations, the federal government, and perhaps others.

The brief for Arkansas Educational TV speaks disparagingly of "myriad fringe candidates" and predicts there will be "a flood of candidates" if Forbes wins his lawsuit. The contention is nonsense. If Forbes wins his lawsuit, Public TV will probably arrange to have groups like the League of Women Voters sponsor the debates (the League, of course, is free to invite whichever candidates it wishes, since it is a private group, not part of the government); public TV will still broadcast them; nothing will have changed.

For information on filing an amicus brief, contact the Rutherford Institute (which represents Ralph Forbes), 1445 E. Rio Rd., Charlottesville, VA, 22901, (804)-978-3888.


TERM LIMITS LAW OUT

On May 21, a federal district court in Maine invalidated the "new" type of congressional term limits passed by the voters last year. League of Women Voters v Gwadosky, cv-97-1-B. Judge Morton Brody, a Bush appointee, ruled that the U.S. Constitution, Article V (which tells how the Constitution may be amended), prevents a state from putting labels on the ballot for legislative and congressional candidates which say "Violated voters' instructions on term limits" if they had voted against a constitutional amendment to provide for congressional term limits.

Although U.S. Term Limits will continue to defend this type of law in court, in the future it will not qualify initiatives like the Maine law which was just invalidated. Instead, its initiatives will provide that candidates may have "Voluntarily pledges to serve no more than three terms" next to their names, if they wish. Should someone break the pledge, "Broke Term Limits Pledge" would appear next to the name.

This language will be easier to defend in court, should anyone sue, since it doesn't deal with amending the U.S. Constitution.


OTHER LAWSUIT NEWS

1. Arizona: on May 1, an Arizona state court upheld a law that no one may circulate an initiative petition in the state without having been in the state for at least 29 days, and must intend to stay in the state. Vizcaino v Purcell, Maricopa Co., 97-6257. There will be an appeal.

2. California: on May 21, the 9th circuit ruled that a political party is free to expel an elected member of its county central committee, for virtually any reason it chooses. The Republican El Dorado County central committee expelled two elected members either because they were gay, or because they rented their ranch for a fund-raiser for a Democrat. The expelled members sued, but the 9th circuit ruled against them, concluding "The El Dorado County Republican Central Committee is a private political organization, not a government actor."

3. Georgia: on April 8, a state court upheld state law which requires a write-in candidate to publish notice of his candidacy in a newspaper of general circulation. Esco v Secretary of State, Fulton Co. E-53493.

Esco was a Green Party candidate for the state legislature. No other state has such a requirement. There is no longer any rationale for the requirement, since for some time, write-in candidates who wish to have their write-ins tallied must file a write-in declaration of candidacy.

4. Kentucky: a lawsuit is about to be filed against state law which makes it illegal for a voter to vote in the Democratic Party primary in 1998, if he or she voted in the Republican primary in 1996 (or vice versa).

5. Minnesota: on May 19, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear Rosenstiel v Rodriguez, 96-1454. The 8th circuit had upheld Minnesota campaign finance laws which provide severe penalties for candidates who "voluntarily" refuse to limit spending in state elections.

6. Mississippi: U.S. Term Limits has filed a lawsuit in federal court against restrictions on initiative petitions (passed by last year's legislature). U.S. Term Limits v Clark, 3:96cv859. The new law forbids out-of-state petitioners, bans paying circulators per signature, and imposes a congressional distribution requirement on initiative petitions.

7. New Hampshire: On Feb. 24, federal judge Steven McAuliffe, a Bush appointee, upheld a law which gives the party which polled the highest vote for Governor the left column on the ballot. Gilmore v Gardner, 94-477. The case had been brought by a Democrat. Ironically, the Democrats elected the Governor last year, so now they have the left-hand column.

8. New Jersey: (See also this update.) This month there should be a decision on injunctive relief in the case against the April petition deadline for non-presidential minor party and independent candidates. Council of Alternative Parties v Hooks, cv97-1966. The case is being expedited since it concerns this year's election for state office.

New Jersey (2): on January 17, a state court struck down state law that parties must have county chairs and vice-chairs of opposite sexes. Hartman v Covert, Burling. Co. 1752-96.

9. New York: on April 17, the 2nd circuit upheld state law which requires new party and independent candidates for the U.S. House to submit 3,500 signatures, even though candidates for the same office seeking a place on a primary ballot only need 1,250 signatures. Kuntz v New York State Senate, 96-7678.

10. Oklahoma: the state has agreed to print a "Reform Party" checkbox on its voter registration forms, next to similar checkboxes for the Republican and Democratic Parties. Therefore, there will be no need for the judge to issue an opinion in the party's lawsuit, Reform Party of Oklahoma v Ward. The Reform Party has been a qualified party in Oklahoma for a year now, and the state had no excuse for refusing to change its voter registration forms.

11. Virginia: (See also this update.) on May 8, the 4th circuit heard arguments in Wood v Meadows, 96-1832, over the June petition deadline for non-presidential independent and minor party candidates. Judge J. Michael Luttig, a Bush appointee, seemed unfavorable to independent candidates, but Judge John Copenhaver, a Ford appointee, and James Michael, a Carter appointee, seemed favorable.

12. Wyoming: the Labor Party has filed for a rehearing in the 10th circuit in Spiegel v State, over the May 1 petition deadline for new parties. The legislature had changed the deadline to June 1, so the court dismissed the case, but the party argues that June 1 is also unconstitutional.

13. nationwide: on May 12, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear Hagelin v FEC, 96-1286, over whether the FEC should be forced to decide quickly (instead of at its usual slow pace) whether its own rules on debates for federal candidates were violated last year when the Commission on Presidential Debates excluded all presidential candidates except Bill Clinton and Bob Dole.


FLORIDA FILING FEES SOMEWHAT LOWER

On April 18, Florida Governor Lawton Chiles signed CS/HBs 461, 281 & 75, the awkward term for this year's election law revision bill. The bill lowers candidate filing fees somewhat, from 7.5% of the annual salary of the office being sought, to 6%. This means that the filing fee for Congress in Florida will drop from just over $10,000, to just over $8,000.

The bill also provides that organizations which wish to obtain a large number of voter registration forms, must pay for them, setting up one more hurdle for any group which wishes to qualify for permanent status as a "party". The only way for a party to remain on the Florida ballot is to have registration of at least 5% of the total number of registered voters in the state. The bill does not take effect until January 1, 1998.


MORE LEGISLATIVE NEWS

1. California: SB 918, which would have provided that anyone running for state office who polls at least 50% of the vote in the new blanket primary, is deemed elected and need not run in the general election, was defeated in the Senate Elections Committee on April 16.

2. Maine: on May 15, the House defeated two bills which would have made petitioning more difficult. LD 89 would have banned petitioning inside a building where voting is taking place, and LD 381 would have banned it within 250 feet of such a building.

2. New Hampshire: (B.A.N. first reported on this bill in the April 7, 1997 issue.) On May 22, the State Senate Public Affairs Committee defeated HB 446, which would have banned fusion.

3. Texas: HB 32, which would have moved the primary from March to May, failed to pass the Senate by the deadline, and is dead.


ELECTION RETURNS BOOK

The FEC expects to publish its free volume of 1996 election returns later this month. Call (800)-424-9530 to ask for Federal Elections '96.


AARON RUSSO SEEKS NEVADA GOVERNORSHIP

Aaron Russo, somewhat famous for having been Bette Midler's campaign manager, as well as producer of "Trading Places" and other mainstream movies, announced in 1995 that he was founding a new political party, the Constitution Party. Russo said his party would have libertarian ideas but that they would be presented with more appeal. However, the party never appeared on the ballot in any state.

Russo has moved from Beverly Hills to Reno, has registered "Republican" and plans to run for Governor of Nevada next year.


NEW MEXICO ELECTION

See this note about tables.

On May 13, a special election was held in New Mexico to fill the vacant seat of former Congressman Bill Richardson, a Democrat. The results:

Redmond Republican 43,472 42.74%
Serna Democrat 40,424 39.74%
Miller Green 17,079 16.79%
Nagel Libertarian 392 .39%
Pearlman Reform 304 .30%

Three declared write-in candidates polled 38 votes.

The showing of Carol Miller, the Green candidate, was the best [percentage] Congressional showing by a nationally-organized minor party since 1950 (excluding races in which either the Democrats or Republicans didn't run a candidate). Miller spent $30,000, in contrast to Serna's $541,000 and Redmond's $250,000.

Since the election, several leading New Mexico Democrats, including former Congressman Richardson himself, have said that the state should legalize fusion, so that Greens and Democrats in the future might perhaps jointly run the same candidate. Richardson said, "The Greens aren't a 2% party anymore".

However, Green activists are thinking of asking next year's legislature to provide for preference voting instead. A voter would put a "1" on the ballot next to the favorite choice, and a "2" for the next preference, etc.


1998 PETITIONING FOR STATEWIDE OFFICE (table)

See this note about tables.

STATE REQUIREMENTS SIGNATURES COLLECTED
FULL PARTY CAND. REFORM LIB'T NAT LAW TAXPAYR GREEN DEADLINE
Alabama 35,973 35,973 0 0 0 0 0 Jun 29
Alaska (reg.) *6,403 #2,453 0 *4,000 0 0 already on June 1
Arizona est. (reg.) 15,000 est #8,000 already on already on 0 0 3,000 May 16
Arkansas 26,528 10,000 already on 0 0 0 0 May 4
California (reg) 89,007 156,621 already on already on already on already on already on Dec 31, '97
Colorado no procedure #1,000 0 0 0 0 0 Jul 14
Connecticut no procedure #7,500 0 0 0 already on 0 Aug 7
Delaware est. (reg.) 200 4,000 already on already on already on already on 20 Aug 22
D.C. no procedure #3,000 can't start can't start can't start can't start can't start Aug 26
Florida 242,337 242,337 can't start can't start can't start can't start can't start Jul 14
Georgia 38,113 #38,113 already on already on in court in court 0 Jul 14
Hawaii 5,450 25 0 *150 0 0 already on *Apr 2
Idaho 9,835 1,000 already on already on already on already on 0 Aug 31
Illinois no procedure #25,000 already on can't start can't start can't start can't start Aug 3
Indiana no procedure #29,822 0 already on 0 0 0 Jul 15
Iowa no procedure #1,500 already on 0 0 0 0 Aug 14
Kansas 16,418 5,000 already on already on 0 0 0 Jun 1
Kentucky no procedure #5,000 disputed 0 0 0 0 Aug 27
Louisiana est. (reg) 128,000 0 already on 400 10 10 50 Jul 1
Maine (reg.) 30,288 #4,000 already on 0 0 0 in court Dec 12, '97
Maryland (10,000) est. 78,000 0 0 0 0 0 Aug 3
Massachusetts est. (reg) 32,000 #10,000 already on can't start can't start can't start can't start Aug 18
Michigan 30,891 30,891 already on already on 0 0 0 Jul 16
Minnesota 109,487 #2,000 already on 0 0 0 0 Jun 1
Mississippi just be org. #1,000 already on already on already on already on 0 Apr 3
Missouri 10,000 10,000 already on already on 0 already on 0 Jul 27
Montana 16,039 #10,097 already on already on already on 0 0 Mar 12
Nebraska 5,741 2,000 already on 0 0 0 0 Aug 1
Nevada 4,498 4,498 already on already on already on already on already on Jul 9
New Hampshire 14,901 #3,000 0 0 0 0 0 Aug 5
New Jersey no procedure #800 can't start can't start can't start can't start can't start Apr 9
New Mexico (2,781) 14,029 already on already on 0 0 already on Apr 7
New York no procedure #15,000 already on can't start can't start can't start can't start Aug 18
North Carolina 51,324 est. 82,000 0 *finished 0 0 0 May 18
North Dakota 7,000 1,000 already on 0 0 0 0 Apr 3
Ohio 45,345 5,000 already on 0 *200 0 0 Jan 5
Oklahoma 60,336 0 already on 0 0 0 0 Jun 1
Oregon 18,282 13,292 already on already on already on 0 already on Aug 25
Pennsylvania no procedure est. #25,000 can't start can't start can't start can't start can't start Aug 3
Rhode Island 18,069 #1,000 0 0 0 0 0 Aug 1
South Carolina 10,000 10,000 already on already on already on already on 0 May 3
South Dakota 7,792 #3,117 0 already on 0 0 0 Apr 7
Tennessee 37,179 25 *8,100 0 0 0 0 Apr 8
Texas 43,963 43,963 can't start already on can't start can't start can't start May 24
Utah 2,000 #300 already on already on *already on *already on *550 Feb 15
Vermont just be org. #1,000 already on already on already on 0 already on Sep 17
Virginia no procedure est. 15,500 already on can't start can't start can't start can't start in court
Washington no procedure #200 already on can't start can't start can't start can't start Jul 3
West Virginia no procedure #5,957 0 already on 0 0 0 May 11
Wisconsin 10,000 #2,000 already on already on 0 already on already on Jun 1
Wyoming 8,000 10,500 0 already on 0 0 0 Jun 1
TOTAL STATES ON 31 22 10 10 8

"FULL PARTY REQ." means a new party can qualify before it names candidates; parentheses means party must also do candidate petitions. #candidate procedure lets candidate use a party label. "Deadline" is "full party procedure"; if state lacks one, it refers to candidate petition. * -- entry changed since last issue. Alaska Libertarian entry is a candidate petition for US Senate.


PARTIES MEET TO PLAN EFFORT TO BOOST RON PAUL BILLS

On May 10, leaders of all nationally-organized minor parties which are qualified in at least one state, met in Washington, D.C., to plan joint activity to improve the legal atmosphere for U.S. minor parties and independent candidates. Several sympathetic non-partisan organizations also sent representatives.

A second meeting will be held at 10 a.m. on Friday, June 27, in Tyson Corners, Virginia, in the Washington area, at the DoubleTree Hotel, 7801 Leesburg Pike, (703)-893-1340. Anyone who shares the group's goals is invited. For more information, contact Pat Cummings, (301)-840-0921, 9211 Warfield Rd., Gaithersburg Md 20882. E-mail: patcumming@aol.com. Cummings is active in the Maryland Reform Party.

The first meeting was attended by Joseph Becker, Legislative Director for Congressman Ron Paul (R-Tex). Becker presented a draft of the proposed bills to (1) outlaw restrictive ballot access laws in federal elections; (2) require presidential candidates who accept public financing of their campaigns, to participate in general election debates. These debates must be open to any presidential candidate who is on the ballot in at least 40 states, and who has raised at least $500,000 in contributions. Similar bills have been introduced in past congresses. Paul expects to introduce them in June.

Participants at the May 10 meeting agreed to work together to advance the proposed bills. The ballot access bill was introduced in 1985, 1987 and 1989 by Congressman John Conyers (D-Michigan). The bill had almost 40 co-sponsors in 1989. However, Conyers has not been willing to re-introduce the bill since 1989. In 1993, Congressman Tim Penny introduced both the ballot access and debate bills; but he is no longer in Congress.

The May 10 meeting did not decide whether, or how, a formal organization or coalition will be formed. The group may continue to meet together without forming any formal structure. If a formal coalition is established (this will be discussed at the June 27 meeting), the Coalition for Free & Open Elections is likely to disband and place its resources at the new Coalition's disposal.

The nationally-organized minor parties who were represented at the May 10 meeting hold registration membership of over 900,000 voters. Furthermore, in almost half the states, there is no such thing as a "registered member" of any party. If there were, the figure would probably be at least 1,200,000. If even one-tenth of 1% of these people will be active for the proposed bills, that would be 1,200 individuals, or an average of three per congressional district. Three activists per congressional district, who can stimulate others to communicate with congress, can accomplish a great deal, particularly when there really is no respectable intellectual case to be made against the bills. Article I of the U.S. Constitution specifically gives Congress the right to write election laws for federal office. Especially since the 1995 U.S. Supreme Court decision on congressional term limits, there is obvious inconsistency in letting some states make it almost impossible for nationally-organized political parties to place candidates for congress (a federal office) on the ballot across the nation (Georgia has not had a minor party candidate on the ballot for U.S. House of Representatives since 1942; the existing Georgia law was passed in 1943 and has never been used by any party).


B.A.N. SCHEDULE CHANGE

Effective immediately, Ballot Access News will be published twelve times per year, not thirteen. However, all current subscribers will receive thirteen issues for their last payment.

The change is because printing costs for the newsletter were increased 17% last month. The adjusted schedule will make it possible to keep the price at $10 per year.


ACLU

The national ACLU has a new address: 125 Broad St., 18th floor, New York NY 10004-2400. The ACLU has been active in favor of more tolerant ballot access laws since 1939. In 1940 it issued a model election law, which provides that petitions to get minor party and independent candidates on the ballot not exceed one-tenth of 1% of the last vote cast. Currently the ACLU is sponsoring the New Jersey lawsuit against the April petition deadline. Annual membership is $20.


Ballot Access News. is published by and copyright by Richard Winger ban@igc.apc.org. Note: subscriptions are available!
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Compilation copyright (c) 1997 Bob Bickford