|This issue was originally printed on white paper.|
On October 15, the West Virginia Democratic Party filed a motion to intervene in Giardina v Hechler, 99-c-2058, the case over whether petitioners must tell voters that they can't vote in the primary if they sign the petition. Until that point, it had been thought that the lawsuit would be an easy victory, since the Secretary of State had already ruled that voters may sign the petition and vote in the primary. But the Democratic Party is arguing that they can't do both, and therefore the law forcing petitioners to tell people that they can't do both, is valid.
The lawsuit was filed by the Mountain Party, which wants to place a gubernatorial candidate on the November 2000 ballot. The case will be heard November 4 in state court in Charleston.
This year's legislature repealed the penalty for signing the petition and then voting in the primary. The new law no longer says that voters may not do both. The only remnant of the old policy is that the law still says that petitioners must tell people that they can't do both.
Three Democratic State Senators, Brooks McCabe, Jeffrey Kessler, and Jon Hunter, told the Charleston Gazette that the legislature's intent was not to remove the prohibition on taking both actions. This is contradicted by the fact that the same bill which removed criminal penalties for doing both acts, also doubled the number of signatures, so that West Virginia now has the third highest signature requirement for president of any state (when states are compared on a percentage basis). The rationale for doubling the number of signatures, was that it would now be easier to obtain signatures. Yet the Democratic Party argues that there was no intent to make it easier to obtain signatures. This leaves the question, "Why did the legislature double the number of signatures?".
The Democratic Party argues that signing a petition for a minor party, and then voting in a major party primary, is equivalent to voting twice. However, signing a petition is not the equivalent of voting. The voter on the street, by signing a petition for a minor party, is not nominating a candidate. The minor party nominates the candidate, and then circulates a petition to show that a significant portion of the electorate desires that party to be placed on the ballot. This is why courts in Kentucky, Michigan, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, and West Virginia itself, have ruled that states cannot require that signers say that they intend to vote for the candidate listed on the petition, nor can states require the signers to say that they agree with the party principles, nor that they consider themselves members. Signing a petition for a minor party only means that the signers thinks it appropriate for that party to appear on the general election ballot.
The Democratic Party of West Virginia ought to heed the national Democratic Party platform of 1984, which said, "The Democratic Party of the United States recognizes the right to vote as the most fundamental rights in our democracy. And no duty of the Party is more important than protecting the sanctity of this right. Accordingly, the Party will make reasonable efforts to remove all barriers to full participation in the electoral process. To further the above end, the Party will instruct state parties to sponsor legislation to remove structural barriers to voter participation."
The Federal Election Commission still hasn't placed on its agenda, the rule-making petition that the FEC itself set criteria on who should be invited into presidential debates sponsored by tax-exempt organizations.
On March 17, SB 34 was signed into law. It moves the South Dakota independent candidate petition deadline from August 1 to June 20. The bill had passed the Senate 34-1, and the House 66-2. It makes no change in the deadline for petitions to create new parties, which remains April 4.
The change is a blow to the Reform Party, since South Dakota does not permit stand-in candidates on independent petitions. Under the law, the Reform Party must know who it will be running for president and vice-president, no later than May; however the party hadn't planned to know who its was running for certain until its national convention in August.
The Reform Party could avoid the problem posed by the new law if it would petition to establish the party. However, it has never been strong enough in South Dakota to complete a party petition (which requires 6,505 signatures). The only third party since 1936 which has qualified as a "party" in South Dakota has been the Libertarian Party (it is no longer qualified there, but is working on the petition to re-qualify itself).
The combination of the June independent deadline, plus the failure of the state to permit stand-in candidates, is probably unconstitutional under Anderson v Celebrezze, a 1983 U.S. Supreme Court decision which said that states may not force minor parties and independent groups to choose their national tickets, before the major parties do so. The major parties generally don't formally nominate their tickets until August.
On October 23, two Senators said that their intent was to force independent candidates for the legislature to declare earlier, and that they would have no objection to a bill next year to restore the August deadline for presidential independent candidates.
HB 1790 was signed into law on July 29. It moves the Illinois petition deadline for minor party candidates, and for independent candidates for president, from August 6 to June 26. It passed both houses of the legislature unanimously.
Illinois, unlike most states, imposes a start date on such petitions. Only 90 days are permitted for petitioning. The start date was automatically moved back, so that petitioning can now start on March 28, 2000.
The rationale for the bill is that in 1998, court fights over the sufficiency of the Libertarian and U.S. Taxpayers Party slates were not settled until the date on which elections officials needed to print ballots.
Illinois permits stand-in candidates on minor party petitions, but does not permit them on independent candidate petitions. It is possible the new deadline is unconstitutional, especially for independent presidential candidate petitions, since independent presidential candidates seldom know who their vice-presidential running mate will be, that early in the season. In 1980, independent presidential candidate John B. Anderson didn't choose his vice-presidential running mate, former Governor Patrick Lucey of Wisconsin, until August 26. Illinois in 1980 permitted Anderson to drop his stand-in, Milton Eisenhower, and instead printed Lucey on the November ballot. However, Illinois State Board of Elections now says that it won't permit such substitutions in the future.
The new deadline may also be unconstitutional for minor parties. A U.S. District Court in Nevada, and the 8th circuit, have both held that June petition deadlines for minor parties, combined with a severe petition burden, are unconstitutional. Illinois petition requirements for minor party candidates for U.S. House of Representatives are the second most severe in the nation. They require 5% of the last vote cast. The combination of Illinois' high signature requirement for U.S. House, plus the relatively early deadline, might not survive court scrutiny.
Before 1929, Illinois minor party and independent candidate petition deadlines were in October. In 1929 the legislature changed them to late September. In 1947 they were moved to early September. In 1967 they were moved to early August. Now they are in June. It is ironic that as communications and printing technology have improved, election authorities need five months to do a job which their 19th century counterpoints did in only a month's time.
On September 15, the 4th circuit ruled that Virginia Commonwealth University, a state school, had no obligation to invite Reform Party gubernatorial candidate Sue Harris DeBauche into a general election gubernatorial debate in 1997. In addition, the 2-1 ruling also said DeBauche may be required to pay attorneys fees for the other side. DeBauche v Trani & Virginia Commonwealth University, 98-1658. The two judges in the majority were Paul Niemeyer, a Bush appointee, and H. Emory Widener, a Nixon appointee.
There were three candidates on the ballot for Governor in 1997, but only the Democratic and Republican nominees were invited. The lower court did not grant any relief to the excluded candidate; it also claimed that her lawsuit was "frivolous" and ordered her to pay $48,476.70 to attorneys for the University, the TV station, and Douglas Wilder, a state employee and former Governor who hosted the debate. The 4th circuit remanded the case back to the U.S. District Court, asking that court to reconsider the amount of the fees.
The 4th circuit said, "While we find no abuse of discretion in the decision to order DeBauche to pay fees and costs, we do believe that her contention that her financial circumstances should be taken into account has merit... The record shows that her combined income for the three years preceding her lawsuit was less than $42,000... Without more information, it would appear that a $48,000 fee award against her would force her into financial ruin.
"Because the district court does not appear to have taken into account the financial resources available to DeBauche, we must vacate and remand this part of the district court's judgement." The 4th circuit also said the district court was free to impose the fees against DeBauche's attorney, not DeBauche herself.
The dissent, by Judge Robert King, a Clinton appointee, argues that DeBauche was entitled to be included in the debates, and also argues that no fees should be imposed on her. He said, "State colleges and universities are places in which the infinite diversity of human thought should be celebrated. Such institutions ought not be in the business of suppressing divergent viewpoints, a concept antithetical to the Constitution and to the cherished values upon which this nation was founded. We can only hope that, in this case, Sue Harris DeBauche was not silenced on account of her views as to how the Commonwealth of Virginia could best be governed. Unfortunately, as the result of the majority's decision today, we may never know."
The case may be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. COFOE (the Coalition for Free & Open Elections) will decide on November 7th whether to file an amicus brief supporting DeBauche. The ACLU had also filed an amicus brief, with the 4th circuit, on her behalf, and is expected to do so again, in the U.S. Supreme Court.
On October 14, the Reform Party of New York won a victory for the right of parties to write their own internal rules. The State Supreme Court, Appellate Division, ruled that if the Reform Party wants to eliminate the power of its own state Executive Committee to appoint county chairs in unorganized counties (and transfer this power to the local members of the State Committee), it may do so.
The Court also upheld a new party rule which transfers the power to give permission to candidates from other parties to run in the Reform Party's primary, from the Executive Committee, to the local county committee. Essenberg v Kresky, 85090-3rd.
On October 12, state court judge Clarkson Fisher upheld New Jersey's general election ballot format. In voting machine counties, parties which polled 10% of the entire vote for lower house of the state legislature get the most prominent columns on the ballot, and the party name in large letters at the head of the column. Other parties do not get their name in big letters at the head of a column, and may not even get their own column; instead their candidates may be jumbled about in different columns. New Jersey Consv. Party v Farmer, Monmouth c-233-99.
For a better picture of what this nightmare ballot format looks like, see the September 1, 1999 B.A.N.
The irony is that the Conservative Party lawsuit wasn't even filed to challenge the ballot format. Instead, its original purpose was to enforce another law, which says that even qualified parties may not have their own party column, if their primary vote turnout was below 10% of the last general election vote. The party lost on that original issue, and then, after having lost on that issue, persuaded Judge Fisher to rule on the appearance of the ballot.
Judge Fisher said that only irrational voters would let their vote be determined by such factors as where the candidate's name is found on the ballot. He ignored the evidence that sometimes, some voters can't even find the names of minor party candidates. He treated the case as though it were strictly about whether minor parties can ever get the left-hand column, and didn't even acknowledge that the case is really about the ability of minor parties to get any party column.
The ballot-format question has also been pending in another lawsuit, Council of Alternative Political Parties v State of New Jersey, which was filed February 2, 1999, and in which much more evidence has been submitted. This lawsuit is pending in state court in Mercer County. The Monmouth County lawsuit is not fatal to the Mercer County lawsuit, but it is not helpful, either.
1. Arizona: on October 4, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear Stone v Prescott, Arizona, 99-46, over whether it violates the U.S. Constitution for a local government to block a referendum by labeling the law "urgent", even though it is obvious that it isn't urgent.
2. California: on October 13, U.S. District Court Judge Claudia Wilken, a Clinton appointee, issued an injunction against a San Francisco ordinance which limits campaign contributions to $150 (if the candidate has not agreed to expenditure ceilings). The city permits contributions of $500 to candidates who have "voluntarily" limited expenditures. Reilly v Renne, cv-99-4395.
California (2): on November 4, the 9th circuit will hear Schaefer v Townsend, 98-55718, over whether states can require candidates for Congress to be registered voters of the state in which they desire to run, on the day when candidates must file (the U.S. Constitution merely says that Congressmen must be residents of the state by election day).
California (3): on October 6, the State Court of Appeals ruled that if an initiative petition is printed on a piece of paper which also includes a statement of reasons why people should support the initiative, the statement of reasons must not contain any factual falsehoods. If it does, the initiative petition is invalid. San Francisco 49ers v Nishioka, A083687. The specific "falsehood" was that a proposed stadium would cost more than $100,000,000. Proponents of the initiative (who were trying to stop the stadium) are appealing to the State Supreme Court.
3. Hawaii: on October 6, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Rice v Cayetano, 98-818, over whether the 15th amendment to the U.S. Constitution prevents Hawaii from holding elections at which only descendants of people living in Hawaii in 1778 (the year the outside world first discovered the islands) may vote. The elections are for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, which administers a trust fund.
5. Maine: on September 27, U.S. District Court Judge Gene Carter approved the April 23 decision of his Magistrate. The Magistrate had ruled that it is constitutional for Maine to require petition circulators to be registered voters, even though earlier this year the U.S. Supreme Court in a Colorado case had said the opposite. Judge Carter also set a trial for the other issue in the case, whether the state can ban paying petitioners per signature. Initiative & Referendum Institute v Sec. of State, cv98-104.
6. Missouri: the U.S. Supreme Court heard Nixon v Shrink Missouri Government PAC, 98-963, on October 5. The issue is whether a state may set contribution limits for statewide office as low as $1,075. In 1976 the Court upheld contribution limits for Congress of $1,000. However, $1,000 in 1976 is the equivalent of $3,000 nowadays, due to inflation. All nine justices participated in the oral argument, and it seems likely that the vote will be 5-4, with Justice Sandra O'Connor providing the unpredictable swing vote.
7. New York: on October 28, U.S. District Court Judge Jack Eisenberg dismissed Schuloff v Nassau County Election Bd, 99-3387, on a technicality. The issue is whether someone may petition in a district, if the petitioner doesn't live in that district. The technicality which caused the case to be dismissed was that the plaintiffs never actually turned in the petitions (because they knew they wouldn't be valid).
9. Texas: the Constitution Party is appealing Holmes v Gonzales, the case over whether states must let parties qualify in just part of a state.
The last two presidential primary dates are set. New Hampshire will vote on Feb. 1; Delaware Democrats will hold a "beauty contest" primary on Feb. 5. Al Gore, Bill Bradley and Lyndon LaRouche will be on the Delaware ballot automatically since they qualified for matching funds. On October 28, the Delaware legislature refused to consider a bill to cancel the Democratic primary.
1. California: On October 7, the Governor signed AB 547 into law. It removes the requirement that candidates must file a piece of paper, "appointing" all of their petitioners. However, it won't go into effect until January 1, 2000, so the requirement is still in effect for petitions for the upcoming primary.
2. New Hampshire: Rep. Richard Brewster (R-Andover) will introduce a bill next year to change the definition of "party", from a group which polled 4% for either Governor or U.S. Senator, to one which polled 2%. Currently there are no qualified minor parties in the state. The Libertarian Party polled 2.7% for Governor and 2.4% for US Senator last year.
3. Tennessee: next year, Senator Tim Burchett (R-Knoxville) and Ron Ramsey (R-Elizabethtown) will introduce a bill to let independent candidates choose a partisan label (which must be short and which can't mimic the name of a qualified party). The label would be printed on the November ballot. 26 other states have similar laws. The bill was suggested by the Libertarian Party.
Louisiana elected all its state officials for four year terms, on October 23, 1999. All candidates of all parties ran on a single ballot. For Governor, 13 candidates appeared on the ballot: seven Democrats, two Republicans, two Reform Party members, and two independents.
Belinda Alexandrenko, one of the Reform Party candidates, polled 8,978 votes (.7%). No one knows how many votes the other Reform Party member, Jerry Blake, received, since he withdrew just before the election. Under Louisiana law, even though his name remained on the ballot, and even though there was no notice at the polls that votes for Blake would not be counted, his votes were not counted.
For Lieutenant Governor, there were two Republicans, one Democrat, and one Reform candidate, on the ballot. The Reform, Sadie Roberts-Joseph, received 19,345 votes, 1.6%.
On September 29, President Clinton signed a bill increasing Congressional salaries by $4,600 per year. Fifteen states impose filing fees which are a percentage of the salary of the office being sought, so in those states, the higher salary will cause higher fees.
On October 29, the Alaska Republican Party finally launched its initiative petition, to mandate "instant runoff" (formerly called preference voting) for elections for federal and state office. Various departments of the executive branch of government took three months to process the application. The party will try to complete the initiative petition in time for the November 2000 ballot.
1. Dist. of Columbia: the Board of Elections ruled last month that the Statehood Party (a qualified party) may change its name to the Statehood Green Party. This will facilitate a merger of the two parties. The Green Party, which is also qualified in D.C. (for all office other than president), will be allowed to dissolve. There are no regulations on party name changes in D.C., so this sets a favorable precedent.
2. Kansas: the Natural Law Party is circulating a petition to qualify itself, using the label "Natural Party". Kansas is the only state which requires that parties have one-word names. After the petition is verified, the party will ask to change its name to "Natural Law" (Kansas permits parties to change their names). If the state refuses, the party will bring a lawsuit against the one-word law.
3. Missouri: the U.S. Taxpayers Party has asked the Secretary of State to be allowed to change its name to the Constitution Party. There are no Missouri precedents on whether qualified parties may change their names, but approval is expected.
4. Wisconsin: the U.S. Taxpayers Party has changed its name to the Constitution Party, under a state law which permits such changes.
On October 13, the Ohio Secretary of State confirmed that the petition deadline for a new party is August 23, 2000, if it only wants to appear on the November ballot for president. The law says that the party deadline (for a party which wants to be on the November ballot for all office) is November 7, 1999. The law doesn't specifically mention a later deadline for parties running for president only. However, the Secretary of State reasons that since presidential electors don't need to be chosen in the March 2000 primary, there is no reason not to accept the petitions as late as August 2000.
California and Ohio have very similar election laws. Both states require that any party which appears on the November ballot, must have participated in the primary. Because both states have March primaries, both states have very early deadlines for new parties to qualify (since they must qualify in time for the primary). California and Ohio are the only states with party qualifying deadlines as early as a year before the general election.
Courts have generally held that deadlines for new parties to qualify must not be earlier than April of election years. The Ohio ruling was undoubtedly influenced by these court rulings.
The Peace and Freedom Party of California failed to re-qualify by the October 5, 1999 deadline. It needed 86,177 registrations, and it only had 75,677. However, the party has asked the California Secretary of State to follow the Ohio rule. If he agrees, then if the party can increase its registration by another 10,500 members by early 2000, then it could place a presidential candidate on the November 2000 ballot.
The Oct. 1 B.A.N. carried a chart, showing which minor parties are entitled to a presidential primary in each state. The Missouri entry showed that only the Libertarian Party is entitled to such a primary; actually the Reform and Constitution Parties are also entitled to one.
|PARTY LABEL||INDP.||LIB'T||REFORM||NAT LAW||CONSTIT'N||GREEN|
|Alaska||2,410||no procedure||already on||already on||finished||*800||already on||August 8|
|Arizona||est. 9,500||est. 9,500||already on||*1,000||*already on||*500||*1,000||June 29|
|Arkansas||1,000||1,000||*1,100||0||already on||200||0||August 1|
|California||(reg) 86,177||149,692||already on||already on||already on||already on||already on||August 10|
|Colorado||pay fee||pay fee||already on||already on||already on||already on||already on||July 10|
|Connecticut||7,500||7,500||0||already on||0||0||already on||Aug 11|
|Delaware||est. (reg.) 235||est. 4,700||already on||already on||already on||already on||*80||Aug 19|
|D.C.||est. 3,500||est. 3,500||can't start||can't start||can't start||can't start||can't start||Aug 15|
|Florida||be organized||82,203||already on||already on||already on||already on||already on||Sep 1|
|Georgia||39,094||39,094||already on||*500||0||0||0||Jul 11|
|Hawaii||602||3,703||already on||0||*100||*50||already on||Sep 7|
|Idaho||9,835||4,918||already on||already on||already on||already on||0||Aug 31|
|Illinois||25,000||25,000||can't start||can't start||can't start||can't start||can't start||*June 26|
|Indiana||30,717||30,717||already on||0||0||0||0||Jul 15|
|Kansas||14,854||5,000||already on||already on||*10,000||already on||0||July 31|
|Kentucky||5,000||5,000||already on||already on||0||0||0||Aug 30|
|Louisiana||pay fee||pay fee||691||already on||14||40||89||Sep 5|
|Maine||4,000||4,000||0||already on||0||0||already on||Aug 8|
|Maryland||10,000||es. 26,000||already on||*9,000||finished||*1,500||*2,300||Aug 7|
|Massachusetts||10,000||10,000||already on||2,289||59||0||311||July 31|
|Michigan||30,272||30,272||already on||already on||already on||*finished||0||July 19|
|Minnesota||2,000||2,000||0||already on||0||already on||0||Sep 12|
|Mississippi||be organized||1,000||already on||already on||already on||already on||0||Sep 7|
|Missouri||10,000||10,000||already on||already on||finished||already on||0||July 31|
|Montana||5,000||5,000||already on||already on||already on||*2,500||0||Aug 1|
|Nebraska||5,453||2,500||already on||200||finished||0||0||Aug 28|
|Nevada||4,099||4,099||already on||0||already on||already on||0||July 2|
|New Hampshire||3,000||3,000||*6,300||*2,500||0||*100||0||Aug 9|
|New Jersey||800||800||0||0||0||*100||0||July 31|
|New Mexico||2,494||14,964||already on||already on||0||*50||already on||Sep 11|
|New York||15,000||15,000||can't start||already on||can't start||can't start||already on||Aug 21|
|North Carolina||51,324||est. 90,000||already on||3,000||0||0||0||Jun 30|
|North Dakota||7,000||4,000||can't start||already on||can't start||can't start||can't start||Sep 7|
|Ohio||lawsuit pending||5,000||*67,500||*7,500||*finished||0||0||Aug 23|
|Oregon||16,663||13,755||already on||*800||*6,000||*5,000||already on||Aug 28|
|Pennsylvania||est. 25,000||est. 25,000||can't start||can't start||can't start||can't start||can't start||Aug 1|
|Rhode Island||1,000||1,000||can't start||already on||can't start||can't start||can't start||Sep 7|
|South Carolina||10,000||10,000||already on||already on||already on||already on||0||Aug 1|
|South Dakota||2,602||2,602||*2,600||0||0||1,500||0||*June 20|
|Texas||37,381||56,117||already on||can't start||can't start||can't start||can't start||May 28|
|Utah||1,000||1,000||already on||0||already on||0||0||Aug 31|
|Vermont||be organized||1,000||already on||0||0||0||0||Sep 20|
|Virginia||10,000||10,000||can't start||can't start||can't start||can't start||can't start||Aug 24|
|Washington||200||200||can't start||can't start||can't start||can't start||can't start||Jul 1|
|West Virginia||12,730||12,730||already on||0||already on||0||0||Aug 1|
|Wisconsin||2,000||2,000||already on||can't start||can't start||already on||already on||Sep 5|
|Wyoming||3,485||3,485||already on||0||*50||0||*100||Aug 28|
|TOTAL STATES ON||30||21||*14||12||11|
"Deadline" refers to procedure with the LATEST deadline. Other multi-state parties on the ballot: in Florida, the American Reform, Southern, Socialist Workers, and Socialist Parties. * -- means entry has changed since last issue. The Mountain Party in West Virginia has 4,500. The Socialist Party has 100 signatures in New Jersey; Peace & Freedom has 75,677 members in California.
The Reform Party is expecting to receive $2,500,000 from the U.S. Treasury any day now, which must be used for the party's national convention expenses. After the party receives the money, it plans to ask the Federal Election Commission if the money can also be used to pay for the party's planned mail ballot "primary". Although the party is entitled to presidential primaries of its own in California, Delaware, Idaho, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, New York, and Rhode Island, these primaries (if they are used at all) will be "beauty contests", not binding.
On October 25, Pat Buchanan announced that he is joining the Reform Party and will seek its presidential nomination. On the same day, Donald Trump announced that he is also joining the party, and that there is a 50-50 chance that he will also seek its nomination. Neither has any plans to begin petitioning immediately. Reform Party rules require potential nominees to either petition for themselves as independent candidates, or to sponsor petitions to qualify the Reform Party, in half the states in which the party is not now qualified.
The Minnesota Reform Party holds its state convention on November 13. Delegates will decide whether to change the name of the party to the Independent Reform Party.
The American Reform Party held a national convention Oct. 1-3, 1999, in Washington, D.C. Even though only 70 delegates were in attendance, the meeting attracted good press coverage, since former Governor Lowell Weicker addressed the group. Weicker said he is not interested in the Reform Party any longer, but seemed to indicate that he might run for president as the candidate of a new party. The American Reform Party is on the ballot in one state, Florida.
On October 28, U.S. Senator Bob Smith announced that he is dropping out of the presidential race. He had earlier said that he was running as an independent candidate. He is expected to rejoin the Republican Party.
At its convention on Oct. 15-17 in Secaucus, N.J., the Socialist Party nominated David McReynolds of New York for president, and Mary Cal Hollis of Colorado for vice-president. The vote was: McReynolds 33, Eric Chester 6. For more about the campaign, see http://www.votesocialist.org/. McReynolds is noted for his long years with the War Resisters League.
On October 1, the Federal Election Commission announced that Lyndon LaRouche, who is seeking the Democratic nomination for president, is qualified for primary season matching funds. The only other Democratic candidates who have qualified are Al Gore and Bill Bradley.
Pat Buchanan is the only presidential candidate who is seeking the nomination of a minor party, who has qualified for primary season matching funds. John Hagelin of the Natural Law Party is halfway toward qualifying.
The Green Party's only state legislator, Audie Bock of Oakland, California, changed her registration to "independent" on October 7. She said that she is still as "green" as ever, but that if she remained a member of the Green Party, she would be forced to compete in the blanket primary in March 2000. By running as an independent, she can bypass the primary (although she will need 5,677 valid signatures, due in August 2000).
She wasn't afraid that she would lose the primary to another Green. But she was afraid that her vote total in the primary would be miniscule, since she lacks campaign funds. At least eight prominent Democrats are expected to compete in that same primary, all of them outspending her, and it would have injured her prestige if she placed as low as 6th or 7th in that primary.
The Natural Law Party presidential convention will be Aug. 24-25, 2000, in Washington, D.C.