|This issue was originally printed on white paper.|
On November 9, the Virginia House Elections Committee passed HB 47 by 13-5, with one abstention. Four of the five "no" votes were cast by Democrats, but a majority of Democrats (as well as a majority of Republicans) who were present, voted "Yes". HB 47 would provide a procedure by which a group could become a qualified party by submitting a petition signed by 10,000 voters. The petition must contain 200 signatures from each of the eleven congressional districts in the state.
Virginia has been one of eleven states which have no petition or registration procedure by which a group may become a qualified party. Instead, in these eleven states, there are no ballot access procedures except for candidate petitions, and if one of the group's candidates gets enough votes, only then can the group become a "party". Since the Virginia vote test is 10%, it is rare for any minor party to be qualified. The Reform Party held that status from 1994 to 1997, and the American Independent Party had it from 1968 to 1969.
The bill will receive a vote in the House during January. Anyone wishing to help lobby for the bill may contact Shelley Tamres, 108 Willow Place, Sterling, VA 20164; firstname.lastname@example.org; (703)-450-0218.
Only 36% of the potential electorate voted last month, the lowest turnout for a national election since 1942. In many states, the number of signatures needed for ballot access is a percentage of the last vote cast. Since turnout was so low, the number of signatures needed in these states dropped. In 2000, it will be possible for the presidential candidate of a new party to get on the ballot in all states with fewer than 650,000 valid signatures, for the first time since 1968.
On December 2, the Florida Senate Business, Ethics & Elections Committee had a hearing to discuss how to implement Revision Eleven, which the voters passed last month. Revision Eleven amended the state Constitution to provide that minor party and independent candidate ballot access must not be more severe than ballot access for major party candidates. In Florida, a major party is one which has registration membership of 5% of the state total. No party other than the Democratic and Republican Parties has ever held 5% of Florida's voter registration.
The first draft of the bill to alter the election code (so that it complies with the new Constitutional provision) is very favorable to minor parties. For presidential elections, it provides that minor parties which have submitted a list of party officers to the Secretary of State, and which hold a national presidential nominating convention, may place their presidential and vice-presidential nominees on the ballot, simply upon request. Of course, they must also submit a slate of 25 presidential elector candidates.
Also, the first draft of the bill provides that all parties, rather than just major parties, should receive a rebate of approximately half of any candidate's filing fee. Assuming that any minor party would then refund the money to its own nominee, this in effect reduces the filing fee burden by almost half. There are no filing fees for president in Florida, but filing fees for all other office are extraordinarily high, 6% of the annual salary of the office being sought.
Florida activists hope that the final version of the bill will also further decrease the filing fees, and will also decrease the number of signatures in lieu of the filing fee.
The November 8 Ballot Access News reported on which parties had polled enough votes on November 3 to be "qualified", based on preliminary results. However, when all the ballots were finally counted, two more parties had joined the list.
The New Party (called "Working Families") qualified in New York, and the Green Party qualified in Alaska, by a margin of 12 votes in the gubernatorial race.
Also, the November 8 B.A.N. erroneously stated that the Reform Party had been disqualified in Rhode Island; actually it is still qualified there.
On December 3, the California Secretary of State ruled that if a party has enough registrations on January 31, 1999, it will be automatically qualified for the ballot in 2000 and 2002, even if it doesn't maintain that level of registration at the registration tally taken in October 1999.
This is good news for the Reform Party, which had 88,425 registants at the most recent tally, in October 1998. The number of registrants needed for a party to requalify still is unknown, but it seems likely to be 87,000 (the exact number will be known on December 12). Probably the Reform Party will just squeak by, although to be safe, the party will increase its registration between now and January 31, since some voters will be purged from the rolls. Without the ruling, the party would be off the ballot until October 1999, and would have had a more difficult time maintaining its registration.
The ruling also gives the Peace & Freedom Party a chance to re-qualify quickly, if it can gain approximately 15,000 registrations.
1. Arkansas: on November 16, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear Citizens for Clean Government v Russell, 98-397. The 8th circuit had struck down campaign contribution limits of $100 to legislative candidates, and had also struck down a law limiting anyone from giving more than $200 to any one PAC.
2. California: on December 8, the 9th circuit will hear California Pro-Life Council v Scully, 98-15308, over the campaign contribution limits passed by voters in Nov. 1996 ("prop. 208"). The lower court had invalidated most of the law. The judges will be Stephen Reinhardt (Carter), John Noonan (Reagan) and Michael Hawkins (Clinton).
3. District of Columbia: On December 18 there will be a hearing in Turner v D.C. Board of Elections, 98-2634, an ACLU case to force the Board of Elections to count the votes cast for or against a medical marijuana intiative that appeared on last month's ballot. The D.C. government is afraid to count the votes, since Congress passed a rider to the Appropriations Act, forbidding it to spend any money to count the votes.
4. Florida: on November 25, the 11th circuit refused the plaintiff's rehearing request in Green v Mortham, 98-2042, over the amount of Florida candidate filing fees.
5. Iowa: on October 28, a Natural Law Party candidate asked the U.S. Supreme Court to hear his debates case, Marcus v Iowa Public TV, 98-710. The candidate, Jay Marcus, had been excluded from a U.S. House debate sponsored by public TV because he wasn't "newsworthy". The station didn't seek any information about the size of his campaign. Marcus argues that the facts in his case are different than the facts in the other recent U.S. Supreme Court debates case, Arkansas Educational TV v Forbes.
6. Maine: on December 10 the First Circuit will hear Maine Green Party v Secretary of State, 98-1309, over the state's definition of "party". The Green Party regained "party" status last month by polling over 5% for Governor.
However, the state won't recognize it until April 2000, so it will miss the presidential primary in March 2000. The party also got over 5% for Governor in 1994, the last time Governor was on the ballot; but it was eliminated after the 1996 election because it didn't poll 5% for president. It argues that the state has no reason to apply the 5% test for president as well as for Governor.
Maine (2): On October 23, initiative proponents asked the U.S. Supreme Court to hear Hart v Gwadosky, 98-676, against a law which requires petitioners to be registered voters. The State Supreme Court had upheld the law.
7. Missouri: On November 30, the 8th circuit struck down contribution limits of $1,075 for statewide office, $525 for state senate, and $275 for state house. Shrink Missouri Government PAC v Adams, no. 98-2351. The judges were Pasco Bowman (Reagan), Donald Ross (Nixon) and John Gibson (Reagan).
8. Ohio: on November 16, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear Cincinnati v Kruse, 98-454. Back in 1976, that Court had ruled expenditure limits unconstitutional (in the absense of public funding). Cincinnati had passed them anyway, and had hoped to get a chance to persuade the Court to reverse itself.
9. Oregon: on November 10, the state asked the U.S. Supreme Court to reinstate a law restricting contributions to state legislative candidates from people who live out of the district. The 9th circuit had invalidated the law. Miller v Vannatta, 98-775.
10. Wyoming: On October 13, intiative proponents asked the U.S. Supreme Court to hear their case against state law which says when a voter abstains from voting on an initiative, that is counted as a "no" vote. Brady v Ohman, 98-625.
The Reform Party polled over 1,000,000 votes for its gubernatorial candidates this year (see table below). No other third party had done this since 1914, when the Progressive Party did it.
1. Massachusetts: bills have been pre-filed to (1) add a filing fee alternative to petitions, for candidates seeking a place on a primary ballot; (2) let any registered voter sign a petition to place a candidate on a primary ballot; (3) provide that if a party meets the vote test, it lasts for four years, not two years; (4) relax the date on which a new party, seeking "party" status, must have registration of 1% of the total; currently the job must be done by February of an election year, even though the primary is in September. For more information, contact Jason Solinsky at email@example.com.
2. Pennsylvania: Rep. Todd Platts (R-York) will again introduce a bill to improve ballot access. This time it will probably have at least 16 cosponsors.
3. Texas: Rep. Jim Keffer (R-Eastland) will again introduce his bill to ease ballot access. It passed its first committee hurdle in 1997, but then ran out of time.
4. Washington: Rep. Velma Veloria (D-Seattle) will probably introduce a bill to cut the primary vote test for statewide candidates from 1% to one-half of 1%.
5. West Virginia: Rep. Barbara Fleischauer (D-Morgantown) has again introduced her bill to let voters vote in a primary and sign a minor party petition.
The last issue listed minor party wins in partisan elections. Another was by the Cool Moose Party, to the Hopkinton, Rhode Island city council.
Last month, in addition to partisan victories, minor parties won seats on non-partisan city & county councils:
|FULL PARTY||CAND.||LIB'T||REFORM||NAT LAW||TAXPAYR||GREEN|
|Alaska||(reg) 6,596||#2,410||already on||already on||0||0||already on||Aug 8|
|Arizona||13,569||es. #9,500||already on||0||0||0||0||June 29|
|California||(reg) 86,027||149,692||already on||88,425||already on||already on||already on||Aug 10|
|Colorado||(reg) 1,000||#pay fee||already on||10||already on||10||already on||Aug 1|
|Connecticut||no procedure||#7,500||0||already on||0||0||already on||Aug 11|
|Delaware||es. (reg.) 235||es. 4,700||already on||already on||already on||already on||14||Aug 19|
|District of Columbia||no procedure||es. #3,500||can't start||can't start||can't start||can't start||can't start||Aug 15|
|Florida||just be org.||undetermnd||unsettled||unsettled||unsettled||0||unsettled||undetermd|
|Georgia||39,094||#39,094||already on||can't start||can't start||can't start||can't start||Jul 11|
|Hawaii||6,015||#3,703||0||0||100||0||already on||Sep 7|
|Idaho||9,835||4,918||already on||already on||already on||already on||0||Aug 31|
|Illinois||no procedure||#25,000||can't start||can't start||can't start||can't start||can't start||Aug 6|
|Indiana||no procedure||#30,717||already on||0||0||0||0||Jul 15|
|Iowa||no procedure||#1,500||0||0||0||0||0||Aug 17|
|Kansas||14,854||5,000||already on||already on||0||already on||0||July 31|
|Kentucky||no procedure||#5,000||already on||already on||0||0||0||Aug 30|
|Louisiana||est. (reg) 135,000||#pay fee||691||already on||14||40||89||Sep. 5|
|Maine||21,051||#4,000||0||0||0||0||already on||May 25|
|Maryland||10,000||es. 26,000||12,000||0||0||0||0||Aug 7|
|Massachusetts||est. (reg) 37,500||#10,000||already on||2,289||59||0||311||July 31|
|Michigan||30,272||30,272||already on||already on||already on||0||0||July 19|
|Minnesota||105,268||#2,000||0||already on||0||already on||0||Sep 12|
|Mississippi||just be org.||#1,000||already on||already on||already on||already on||0||Sep 7|
|Missouri||10,000||10,000||already on||already on||0||already on||0||July 31|
|Montana||16,039||#16,039||already on||already on||already on||0||0||Aug 1|
|Nebraska||5,367||2,500||already on||0||0||0||0||Aug 28|
|Nevada||4,099||4,099||already on||0||already on||already on||0||July 2|
|New Hampshire||9,569||#3,000||0||0||0||0||0||Aug 9|
|New Jersey||no procedure||#800||0||0||0||0||0||July 30|
|New Mexico||2,494||14,964||already on||already on||0||0||already on||Sep 11|
|New York||no procedure||#15,000||can't start||already on||can't start||can't start||already on||Aug 21|
|North Carolina||51,324||es. 90,000||already on||0||0||0||0||June 30|
|North Dakota||7,000||1,000||0||already on||0||0||0||Sep 7|
|Oregon||16,257||13,755||already on||0||0||0||already on||Aug 28|
|Pennsylvania||no procedure||es. #25,000||can't start||can't start||can't start||can't start||can't start||Aug 1|
|Rhode Island||15,323||#1,000||0||already on||0||0||0||Sep 7|
|South Carolina||10,000||10,000||already on||already on||already on||already on||0||Aug 1|
|South Dakota||6,505||#2,602||0||0||0||0||0||Aug 1|
|Texas||37,385||56,117||already on||can't start||can't start||can't start||can't start||May 28|
|Utah||2,000||#300||already on||0||75||0||0||Sep 1|
|Vermont||just be org.||#1,000||already on||0||0||0||0||Sep 20|
|Virginia||no procedure||#10,000||can't start||can't start||can't start||can't start||can't start||Aug 24|
|Washington||no procedure||#200||can't start||can't start||can't start||can't start||can't start||Jul 1|
|West Virginia||no procedure||#6,365||already on||0||0||0||0||Aug 1|
|Wisconsin||10,000||#2,000||already on||can't start||can't start||already on||already on||Sep 5|
|Wyoming||3,485||3,485||already on||can't start||can't start||can't start||can't start||Aug 27|
|TOTAL STATES ON||27||17||9||10||10|
"FULL PARTY REQ." means a new party can qualify before it names candidates. # means that candidate procedure lets candidate choose a party label. "Deadline" refers to the procedure with the latest deadline. The only other nationally- organized party which is on the ballot is the New Party, which is on in New York. "Requirements" in a few states will change when official totals are released.
|Dem.||Rep.||Indp. & Misc.||US Tax||Reform||Libt||Green||Nat Law||other|
|District of Columbia||275,202||25,406||48,371||?||?||?||?||?||5,407|
|Iowa||567,441||588,061||613,543||- -||782||- -||- -||- -||- -|
|Kansas||433,759||685,107||383,419||302||1,323||9,773||- -||- -||- -|
|New Hampshire||203,567||272,115||271,715||?||?||3,207||?||?||- -|
|New Jersey||1,141,593||872,349||2,525,002||- -||- -||- -||- -||- -||- -|
|New Mexico||491,337||309,344||101,295||?||256||1,183||8,549||?||- -|
|New York||4,923,893||3,083,549||2,100,432||- -||122,172||- -||- -||- -||321,307|
|North Carolina||2,504,964||1,598,901||663,310||?||?||4,754||?||?||- -|
|South Dakota||179,195||219,624||53,108||?||50||924||?||?||- -|
|West Virginia||632,288||295,825||79,278||?||?||420||?||?||- -|
The parties in the "Other" column are: Alaska Independence in Alaska; Peace and Freedom in California; A Connecticut Party in Connecticut 1,089; Independence in Connecticut 548; Statehood in D.C. 4,023; Umoja in D.C. 1,384; these parties in Massachusetts: Interdependent Third 2,573, Rainbow Coalition 498, Socialist 177, Prohibition 11; these parties in New York: Conservative 166,965, Liberal 92,496, Right to Life 49,112, Freedom 12,734; Socialist in Oregon.
All data is for October or November 1998, except for all Maine data and Louisiana minor party data, which is for June 1998. November 1998 data for Maine will be reported in the next issue. Data for the Green Party in Arizona, the Libertarian and Reform Parties in New Mexico, and the Libertarian Party in Wyoming, is incomplete, since a few counties in those states couldn't provide a tally for those parties.
Dashes mean that the voters are not permitted to register into a particular party, since the particular party is not, or was not, qualified in that state, and the state won't let people register into unqualified parties. A question mark means that the state has not tabulated the number of registrants in a particular party.
Totals two years ago were: Dem. 36,946,324 (45.68%), Rep. 27,323,046 (33.78%), Indp. & misc. 15,227,612 (18.83%), U.S. Taxpayers 306,900 (.38%), Reform 207,933 (.26%), Libertarian 162,545 (.20%), Green 112,199 (.14%), Natural Law 85,853 (.11%), other parties 328,833 (.63%).
Totals four years ago were: Dem. 34,586,676 (47.13%), Rep. 24,618,092 (33.55%), Indp. & misc. 13,363,803 (18.21%), U.S. Taxpayers 246,951 (.34%), Libertarian 109,001 (.15%), Green 89,566 (.12%), other parties 370,020 (.51%).
Totals six years ago were: Dem. 35,616,630 (47.76%), Rep. 24,590,383 (32.97%), Indp. & misc. 13,617,167 (18.26%), U.S.Taxpayers 247,995 (.33%), Green 102,557 (.14%), Libertarian 100,394 (.13%), other parties 306,673 (.41%).
|Rep.||Dem.||Reform||US Tax||Lib't.||Green||Nat Law||Marijuana||Other|
The "Marijuana" column includes the Marijuana Reform Party in New York and the Grassroots Parties in Minnesota and Vermont. Most returns above are official, but in some states the official tallies haven't been released so for them the numbers above are unofficial.
The "Other" column consists of: Alaska, Alaska Independence (4,230), Republican Moderate (13,532) and write-ins; California, Peace & Freedom; Connecticut, Term Limits; Idaho, independent; Iowa, independent; Maine, independent; Minnesota, Socialist Workers (787) and independent; New York, Liberal (77,750), Right to Life (56,376), Unity (9,778), Socialist Workers (2,852); Oregon, Socialist; Tennessee, independents; Vermont, Liberty Union; Wisconsin, independents. The small numbers in the "other" column for states not mentioned in this paragraph are for declared write-in independent candidates.
In New York, the Democratic column includes 51,068 votes cast for the Democratic nominee on the Working Families line (that is the New Party's name in New York); the Republican column includes 346,465 votes on the Conservative line.
In gubernatorial elections four years ago, the U.S. Taxpayers/Constitutional Party had six on the ballot and received 661,603 votes. The Libertarian Party had 15 candidates on the ballot and received 405,795 votes. The Patriot/Independence Party (successor to the Reform Party) had 5 on the ballot and received 316,792 votes. The Green Party had five on the ballot and received 119,337 votes. The Grassroots Party had two on the ballot and received 22,903 votes. The Socialist Workers Party had three on the ballot and received 9,226 votes.
|Rep.||Dem.||Reform||US Tax||Lib't.||Green||Nat Law||Marijuana||Other|