Ballot Access News -- January 6, 1999

Volume 14, Number 10

This issue was originally printed on yellow paper.

Table of Contents
  1. VERMONT BODY ENDORSES PREFERENTIAL VOTING
  2. PUERTO RICO VICTORY
  3. RON PAUL BILLS LIKELY TO BE REINTRODUCED
  4. LIBERTARIAN RECORD
  5. MAINE SENATE HEAD TO HELP BALLOT ACCESS
  6. NEW JERSEY DEADLINE LAW
  7. IOWA SPONSORS FOUND FOR HELPFUL BILL
  8. LAWSUIT NEWS
  9. GOOD BILLS COMING
  10. 1998 U.S. HOUSE VOTE (table)
  11. 1998 U.S. HOUSE PERCENTAGES (table)
  12. NOTES FOR THE PRECEDING U.S. HOUSE CHARTS
  13. 1998 U.S. SENATE VOTE (table)
  14. 1998 U.S. SENATE PERCENTAGES (table)
  15. Subscription Information

VERMONT BODY ENDORSES PREFERENTIAL VOTING

BILL WILL BE INTRODUCED IN 2 WEEKS, EXPECTED TO PASS

On January 4, an elite eleven-member Commission formed to study preference voting for statewide office in Vermont issued its report. It unanimously endorsed the idea. The Commission included powerful Democratic and Republican officials, academics, good government groups including the League of Women Voters, and a former state chair of the Libertarian Party.

The recommendations will be introduced in bill form in mid-January by Rep. Terry Bouricius and a host of co-sponsors. The State Constitution need not be changed, so if the bill passes this year, as drafted, it would go into effect in time for the 2000 election. It would apply to all statewide office, federal and state alike, including presidential electors. Of course, any bill can be amended, and if it passes, its effective date might be altered.

Preference voting lets voters put a series of numbers on the ballot for several candidates, such as "1" for the voter's first choice, and "2" for the voter's second choice. It solves the "wasted vote" problem which prevents many voters from voting their convictions.

Vermont is a state which appreciates diversity. The Vermont legislature currently has members from 4 political parties (Republican, Democratic, Progressive and Libertarian).


PUERTO RICO VICTORY

On December 23, 1998, a Superior Court in Puerto Rico ruled that the Election Commission must let unqualified parties have access to the list of registered voters. The Commission had been providing the list only to the qualified parties. Partido Accion Civil v Comision Estatal de Elecciones, KAC 98-0646. The Civil Action Party is trying to qualify for the ballot, and was handicapped without the list. The government is appealing.


RON PAUL BILLS LIKELY TO BE REINTRODUCED

Congressman Ron Paul will probably reintroduce his 1997 bills on ballot access and presidential debates in 1999, according to his staff. The 1997 bills, offered as amendments on the House floor, received 88 votes (debates) and 62 votes (ballot access). It will be easier for activists to lobby for the bills in 1999, since members of congress will be more aware of the bills, since most of them cast a vote on them. Please contact Ballot Access News by e-mail (ban@igc.org) or telephone (415)-922-9779 if you wish to know how your member of congress voted on the bills in 1998; or see the August 3, 1998 B.A.N., page 5.

The ballot access bill would forbid the states from having strict ballot access laws for minor party and independent candidates in federal elections. The presidential debates will would require the major party nominees to debate their leading minor party and independent opponents, or lose their general election public funding.


LIBERTARIAN RECORD

In November 1998, 906,808 voters voted for a Libertarian for the U.S. House of Representatives. This is the first time since 1948 that any party, other than the Democratic and Republican Parties, has received as much as 1% of the total U.S. House vote (the Libertarian share is 1.36%). In 1948, the Progressive Party founded by Henry Wallace received 1.89% of the U.S. House vote and elected one member. Since 1948, no third party had polled even 1% of the House vote, until 1998.

The previous best Libertarian vote for U.S. House (889,027) was in 1992. Since more voters turn out in presidential years, that year's tally was only .91% of the total vote cast.


MAINE SENATE HEAD TO HELP BALLOT ACCESS

The president of the Maine Senate, Senator Mark Lawrence (D-York Co.), has introduced a bill to change the definition of "party" from a group which polled 5% for the most important office at the last election (president or governor), to a group which has registration membership of one-half of 1%. Maine bills had to be introduced by December 18 but don't have numbers yet. Lawrence is vague about what the one-half of 1% would be based on. If it is the total number of registered voters, a party would be required to have 5,000 members; if it is state population, it would need 6,000 members.

In either event, the bill would be a great improvement over the existing law. Currently, the only parties, other than the Democrats and Republicans, which have polled over 5% for president in 1996 and over 5% for governor in 1998 (which is what Maine now requires) are the Reform Parties of Minnesota and New York.

Two other helpful bills have also been introduced in Maine this year. One by Rep. Bob Stanwood (R-Hancock Co.) would let a presidential stand-in named on an independent candidate petition withdraw, and be replaced by the actual presidential candidate (this would let a group petition for president before it has made a decision as to whom to run). The petition is due in mid-May.

Another bill would define "party" to be a group which had polled 5% for either president or governor (but not both), and would provide that a party is recognized as soon as it polls this vote. Currently, even after a party polls 5%, it must wait 15 months before it can be "recognized". This bill is by Belinda Gerry (I-Auburn). It was also introduced in 1997, and was endorsed by the Secretary of State, but it didn't pass.


NEW JERSEY DEADLINE LAW

On December 24, New Jersey Governor Christine Whitman signed S1227/A2228, which sets the petition deadline for independent and minor party candidates (for office other than president) on primary day, which is currently in early June.

Although this is better than the old deadline, which was 54 days before the primary, activists were disappointed, since they had been trying to amend the bill to set the deadline in July. The legislature only acted because the old deadline was held unconstitutional last year.

The 1999 session of the New Jersey legislature may change the primary from June to March, in presidential years. If that happens, the indirect result would be to put the deadline in March, which would almost certainly cause a new lawsuit. The legislature could have avoided this problem if it had written the law so that the petition deadline is not dependent on the primary date.


IOWA SPONSORS FOUND FOR HELPFUL BILL

Senator Joe Bolkcom (D-Iowa City), Rep. Rebecca Reynolds-Knight (D-Van Buren Co.), and Rep. Ed Fallon (D-Des Moines), have agreed to cosponsor a bill easing the definition of "party". The current definition is a group which polled 2% for the most important office at the top of the ticket (president or governor). Under this definition, there are no qualified minor parties in Iowa.

The bill will change the definition to a group which polled 2% for any statewide race. If this were the law, the Natural Law and Reform Parties would be currently qualified.

Parties which are qualified in Iowa are listed on the state income tax form, and taxpayers can designate a donation to the qualified party of their choice. Also, voters can register as members of qualified parties, but they cannot register into unqualified parties.

For more information, contact Susan Marcus at (515)-472-4711 or Russell Lovetinsky at (319)-351-0161; e-mail Ptaflove@aol.com


LAWSUIT NEWS

1. California: on December 8, the 9th circuit heard California Pro-Life Council v Scully, 98-15308, over the campaign contribution limits passed by voters in 1996 ("prop. 208"). Judging from comments from the bench, some observers felt that Judge Stephen Reinhardt is likely to vote to invalidate the law, whereas Judges John Noonan and Michael Hawkins are more disposed to uphold it.

2. Colorado: A decision is expected momentarily from federal judge Richard Matsch in Campbell v Buckley, 98-M-1929, over whether a state can keep a candidate for Congress off the ballot because he isn't a registered voter. The plaintiff, Douglas Campbell, submitted a valid petition last year to be on the ballot for the U.S. House, but he was kept off the ballot because he refuses to register to vote. Under the 1995 U.S. Supreme Court decision U.S. Term Limits v Thornton, states cannot add to the qualifications listed in the Constitution.

3. Georgia: on December 15, the 11th circuit refused the plaintiff's re-hearing request in Amendola v Miller, 97-8888, over the 5% (of the number of registered voters) petition requirement for minor party ballot access for the U.S. House. The law is so strict, it has never been used in the 55 years it has existed.

4. Maine: on December 10 the First Circuit heard Maine Green Party v Secretary of State, 98-1309, over the state's definition of "party". The three judges were Juan Torruella (Reagan), Walter Cummings (Johnson), and Norman Stahl (Bush). Judge Stahl has never had a ballot access case; the two other judges have ruled unfavorably on ballot access in past cases.

5. Oregon: A lawsuit has been filed against the new all-mail ballot law, as applied to federal office, on the grounds that federal law mandates that federal officers be elected on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November. Plaintiffs argue that in all-mail ballot systems, most voting is done during the three weeks prior to election day. Voting Integrity Project v Keisling, cv98-1372.

6. Virginia: on December 16, U.S. District Court Judge Jackson Kiser, a Reagan appointee, upheld the Virginia June deadline for independent and minor party non-presidential petitions. He ruled only 13 days after the hearing, and made no reference to any of the evidence presented at that hearing. Wood v Meadows, 94-47-D. The plaintiff is appealing. Presidential petitions in Virginia are due in late August.

7. Wyoming: On December 14, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear a case against state law which says that when a voter abstains from voting on an initiative, that is counted as a "no" vote. Brady v Ohman, 98-625.


GOOD BILLS COMING

1. District of Columbia: Councilman Phil Mendelsen will probably introduce a bill, repealing a law which says that even qualified parties are not "qualified" for president, unless they elected a President since 1950. Contact Jenefer Ellingston at jellingston@erols.com, or (202)-546-0940.

2. Georgia: the Georgia Coalition for Ballot Access has been established to work for reform of the ballot access laws. Organizers hope to reduce the number of signatures needed for minor party and independent candidates, and also perhaps to reduce the filing fee burden. Contact Hugh Esco at 706-896-5718 or hesco@mindspring.com

3. Montana: Rep. Rick Jore (R-Lake Co.) will introduce a bill reducing the number of signatures needed for a new party to 5,000, and deleting the requirement that the petition bear a certain number of signatures from at least one-third of the legislative districts.

4. Tennessee: Charles Wilhoit is organizing an informal coalition of activists to work for a bill, letting candidates who use the independent procedure choose a partisan label, which would be printed on the ballot. He is at (423)-448-6493, or e-mail LikelyTN@juno.com

5. Texas: Rep. Jim Keffer's ballot access reform bill is HB 386.


1998 U.S. HOUSE VOTE (table)

Rep. Dem. Libt. Reform Nat Law US Tax Green SocWkr Other
Alabama 665,625 545,465 ?
Alaska 139,676 77,232 5,923
Arizona 571,651 406,834 18,042 911 2,757
Arkansas 319,863 168,528 36,917
California 3,509,460 4,038,054 236,547 38,600 110,472 14,587 23,906 ? 14,070
Colorado 715,820 533,297 10,898 14,134
Connecticut 442,066 495,557 1,449 676 620 5,929 8,161
Delaware 119,811 57,446 859 2,411
Florida 557,825 580,605 74,127
Georgia 1,039,711 592,004 ?
Hawaii 119,328 260,947 13,194 3,973
Idaho 204,568 169,389 4,854
Illinois 1,624,558 1,565,998 24,704
Indiana 861,951 673,322 40,507
Iowa 551,767 338,431 3,432 4,237
Kansas 450,025 272,252 5,171
Kentucky 637,091 456,218 1,833 1,881 1,839
Louisiana 97,044 213,150
Maine 124,834 280,537 9,182
Maryland 689,532 792,280 106
Massachusetts 412,508 1,306,281 2,887 4,854 9,673
Michigan 1,438,283 1,469,111 51,589 4,654 20,705 808
Minnesota 862,972 1,090,488 26,607 27,456 17,347 5,106 7,400
Mississippi 232,415 262,635 52,583 1,762 498 801
Missouri 748,432 787,655 32,304 2,144 1,532
Montana 175,748 147,073 5,652 3,078
Nebraska 392,736 104,548 27,278
Nevada 275,163 79,315 23,853 7,841 23,673
New Hampshire 190,170 124,000 3,338
New Jersey 858,367 902,374 17,946 1,906 2,663 1,363 3,754 3,349 23,767
New Mexico 246,127 228,084 23,369
New York 1,608,117 2,179,943 72,926 406,374
North Carolina 1,014,010 827,078 62,678
North Dakota 87,511 119,668 5,709
Ohio 1,742,025 1,604,291 9,146 ? 9,996
Oklahoma 538,194 314,358 6,096
Oregon 401,501 631,246 28,856 2,284 3,637 19,268
Pennsylvania 1,472,161 1,380,834 10,112 6,227 1,022 3,917 17,734 2,589
Rhode Island 76,630 203,705 11,079 1,397
South Carolina 580,096 370,381 804 21,111 950
South Dakota 194,157 64,433
Tennessee 469,551 412,378 4,332 1,468 25,056
Texas 1,786,731 1,531,234 136,688 2,013 4,782
Utah 304,256 126,505 14,013 524 25,531
Vermont 70,740 0 2,097 142,020
Virginia 542,216 514,435 4,506 20,293 13,235 42,752
Washington 818,552 980,157 30,908 23,510 4,921
West Virginia 29,136 283,272 38,869
Wisconsin 880,320 761,821 11,394 16,419
Wyoming 100,687 67,399 6,133 79
District of Columbia 8,610 122,228 1,087 2,323
TOTAL 32,000,328 31,514,476 906,808 341,278 199,252 135,891 78,402 23,640 1,259,272
Note: corrections exist for the above.


1998 U.S. HOUSE PERCENTAGES (table)

Libt. Reform Nat.Law US Tax Green SocWkr Consv Marijuana oth pty
Alabama
Alaska 2.66
Arizona 2.80 1.08
Arkansas 19.26
California 4.49 4.01 2.59 4.65 3.04 1.92
Colorado 2.65 2.53
Connecticut 1.06 .44 .40 1.79 3.13 .46
Delaware .48 1.34
Florida 33.72
Georgia
Hawaii 6.35 2.10
Idaho 2.79
Illinois 2.88
Indiana 3.16
Iowa .91 .73
Kansas 3.18
Kentucky 1.03 .96 .94
Louisiana
Maine 4.12
Maryland w
Massachusetts 1.51 3.99
Michigan 1.73 2.13 .81 .65
Minnesota 2.62 5.24 3.32 1.12 2.44
Mississippi 9.55 .74 .49 .58
Missouri 2.05 1.40 .87
Montana 1.70 .93
Nebraska 15.38
Nevada 5.82 3.15 5.78
New Hampshire 2.07
New Jersey 1.32 .44 .43 .45 .80 1.06 1.13 1.02
New Mexico 6.66
New York 2.63 7.22 3.56
North Carolina 3.29
North Dakota
Ohio 5.09
Oklahoma
Oregon 3.35 1.01 1.62 1.78
Pennsylvania 2.39 1.94 .69 2.64 15.13 1.11
Rhode Island 3.78
South Carolina .44 2.50 .52
South Dakota
Tennessee 4.23 1.29
Texas 4.84 4.23
Utah 2.98 .29 6.97
Vermont .98 1.61 1.00
Virginia 3.12 20.85 13.34
Washington 8.06 5.60 2.37
West Virginia 11.07
Wisconsin 7.25
Wyoming 3.52 w
District of Columbia .80 1.71
MEDIAN 3.05 1.94 .96 3.18 2.85 1.12 3.13 1.61


NOTES FOR THE PRECEDING U.S. HOUSE CHARTS

The "Other" column in the first table consists of: Arizona, independent; California, Peace & Freedom; Connecticut, Term Limits (3,045) and Independence (5,116); Massachusetts, independent; Minnesota, Grassroots (5,839) and independent (1,561); New Jersey, Legalize Marijuana (1,257), Conservative (15,586), independent 6,924; New York, Conservative (270,549), Right to Life (90,744), Liberal (42,548), Freedom (1,046), independent (1,487); North Dakota, independent; Ohio, independent; Oklahoma, independent; Oregon, Socialist; Rhode Island, independent; South Carolina, Patriot; Tennessee, independent; Texas, independent; Utah, American (21,533) and Independent Party (3,998); Vermont, independent (136,403), Grassroots (3,464), Liberty Union (2,153); Virginia, independent; Wisconsin, independent; District of Columbia, Statehood (2,323) and independent (1,647).

In the second table, the Independence Party of Connecticut has been put in the "Conservative Party" column, since that matches its ideas. Percentages represent the vote that a party polled for U.S. House in those districts in which it had candidates. "w" means write-ins.


1998 U.S. SENATE VOTE (table)

Dem. Rep. Lib't. Reform US Tax Nat Law Green Marijuana Other
Alabama 474,568 817,973
Alaska 43,743 165,227 5,046 7,126
Arizona 275,224 696,577 23,004 18,288
Arkansas 385,876 295,870 18,898
California 4,410,056 3,575,078 93,926 82,918 54,699 46,543 48,685
Colorado 464,754 829,370 14,024 9,775 4,101 5,211
Connecticut 628,306 312,177 5,196 12,261 6,517
Florida 2,436,407 1,463,755
Georgia 791,904 918,540 43,467
Hawaii 315,252 70,964 11,908
Idaho 107,375 262,966 7,833
Illinois 1,610,496 1,709,041 74,704 280
Indiana 1,012,244 552,732 23,641
Iowa 289,049 648,480 7,561 2,542
Kansas 229,718 474,639 11,545 11,334
Kentucky 563,051 569,817 12,546
Louisiana 630,395 314,580 3,227 2,394 18,569
Maryland 1,062,810 444,637
Missouri 690,208 830,625 31,876 8,780 15,368
Nevada 208,621 208,220 8,129 2,781
New Hampshire 88,883 213,477 7,603 4,733
New York 2,386,314 1,680,203 8,223 109,027 14,735 34,281 438,022
North Carolina 1,029,237 945,943 36,963
North Dakota 134,747 75,013 3,598
Ohio 1,482,054 1,922,087
Oklahoma 268,898 570,682 15,516 4,617
Oregon 682,425 377,739 18,221 8,372 22,024 7,553
Pennsylvania 1,028,839 1,814,180 46,103 68,377
South Carolina 563,377 488,238 16,991
South Dakota 162,884 95,431 3,796
Utah 163,172 316,652 15,073
Vermont 154,567 48,051 4,199 2,459 4,131
Washington 1,103,184 785,377
Wisconsin 890,059 852,272 5,591 7,942 4,266
TOTAL 26,768,697 25,346,613 422,679 340,093 184,218 79,585 43,885 36,740 559,919

The "Marijuana" column above includes the Marijuana Reform Party in New York and the Grassroots Party in Vermont.

The "Other" column consists of: California, Peace & Freedom; Colorado, Pacifist (1,981) and independent (3,230); Connecticut, Term Limits; Iowa, Socialist Workers; Louisiana, independent; New Hampshire, independent; New York, Conservative (274,220), Right to Life (104,565), Liberal (55,724), Socialist Workers (3,513); Oklahoma, independent; Oregon, Socialist.; Utah, American; Vermont, Liberty Union (1,238) and independent (2,893); Wisconsin, independent. Scattering write-ins are not included above.


1998 U.S. SENATE PERCENTAGES

Dem. Rep. Lib't. Reform US Tax Nat Law Green Marijuana other pty
Alabama 36.72 63.28
Alaska 19.78 74.72 2.28 3.22
Arizona 27.16 68.74 2.27 1.80
Arkansas 55.07 42.23 2.70
California 53.06 43.01 1.13 1.00 .66 .56 .59
Colorado 35.02 62.49 1.06 .74 .31 .15
Connecticut 65.15 32.37 .54 1.27 .68
Florida 62.47 37.53
Georgia 45.15 52.37 2.48
Hawaii 79.18 17.82 2.99
Idaho 28.39 69.54 2.07
Illinois 47.44 50.35 2.20 w
Indiana 63.72 34.79 1.49
Iowa 30.50 68.43 .80 .27
Kansas 31.59 65.27 1.59 1.56
Kentucky 49.16 49.75 1.10
Louisiana 65.04 32.46 .33 .25
Maryland 70.50 29.50
Missouri 43.77 52.68 2.02 .56 .97
Nevada 48.77 48.68 1.90 .65
New Hampshire 28.24 67.84 2.42
New York 51.09 35.97 .18 2.33 .32 .73 9.38
North Carolina 51.15 47.01 1.84
North Dakota 63.16 35.16 1.69
Ohio 43.53 56.46
Oklahoma 31.28 66.38 1.80
Oregon 61.13 33.84 1.63 .75 1.97 .68
Pennsylvania 34.79 61.34 1.56 2.31
South Carolina 52.72 45.69 1.59
South Dakota 62.14 36.41 1.45
Utah 32.97 63.98 3.05
Vermont 72.43 22.52 1.97 1.15 .58
Washington 58.41 41.59
Wisconsin 50.57 48.42 .32 .45
MEDIAN 49.87 48.55 1.59 1.69 .97 .65 1.97 .94


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) 1999 Bob Bickford