|This issue was originally printed on white paper.|
On December 14, U.S. District Magistrate Michael Marz ruled that it is unconstitutional for Ohio to refuse to print partisan labels, for bona fide minor party candidates who get on the ballot using the independent candidate petition procedure. Schrader v Blackwell, C3-98-357.
A year ago, the same magistrate had granted an injunction, forcing the state to print "Libertarian" on the November 1998 ballot for James Schrader, a candidate for U.S. House of Representatives who had used the independent procedure. See Ballot Access News of October 4, 1998, for that story. But only now has the court ruled that the law, banning such labels, is unconstitutional.
Ohio Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell will decide whether to appeal to the 6th circuit or not, before January 14. If he lets the decision stand, this will be the first time a lawsuit on this issue has won.
Assuming the decision stands, Ohio minor parties will be able to use the easier independent candidate procedures to place their candidates on the ballot with the party label. Ohio only requires 5,000 signatures for statewide independents, but usually requires about 35,000 signatures for new parties in presidential election years, and usually about 50,000 in midterm years. Furthermore, the new party petition is due much earlier than independent candidate petitions. The new party petition procedure is so difficult, it has only been used six times in the last 70 years.
Ohio presidential ballots during the 1970's and 1980's typically carried the names of 5 or 6 minor party candidates, none of whom had party labels. Now, assuming the decision stands, such candidates will have their proper party labels, such as Socialist Workers, Green, or Constitution. Use of a party label will probably stimulate more minor party candidates to run for partisan office.
The struggle to get party labels on the Ohio ballot, for candidates who use the independent procedure, has been going on since 1988. In 1988 a lawsuit was filed to get the word "independent" on the ballot (Ohio law says candidates who use the independent procedure may not have any label, not even the word "independent"). That earlier case was won in 1992. The new lawsuit, which extends the earlier decision to cover more than just the word "independent", was filed in 1998.
Please consider writing a note to Ohio Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell, 30 E. Broad St., 14th floor, Columbus OH 43266-0418, and ask him not to appeal the Schrader decision. Or e-mail him at email@example.com. He is a Republican and is currently serving as the national campaign chairman for Steve Forbes for President.
The Schrader precedent will be useful in several other states will a similar problem, especially Louisiana and Tennessee. Like Ohio, Louisiana won't even print the word "independent" for true independent candidates (except that Louisiana permits labels for presidential candidates).
On December 1, 1999, Nevada Attorney General Frankie Sue Del Papa ruled that a state cannot require petitioners for new parties, and for independent candidates, to be registered voters. Earlier this year, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that states cannot require initiative petitioners to be registered voters. Some states still insist that the court decision doesn't affect petitions for new parties and for candidates.
Del Papa wrote, "It is clear that the voter registration requirement for petition circulators is invalid because of the burden it places on political expression, not because of the type of petition involved."
On December 9, 1999, a U.S. District invalidated a Maine law which bans the practice of paying petition circulators per signature. On Our Terms '97 PAC v Secretary of State, 98-104-B. This is the second victory on this issue; the first one was against a similar Washington state law in 1994. Earlier this year a federal court in North Dakota upheld that state's per-signature ban; that case is being appealed.
The Maine decision was rendered after a trial, and the decision sets forth the severe burden that a per-signature per ban creates for paid petition drives. The case was sponsored by the Initiative and Referendum Institute. The decision can be read on the web site: http://www.iandrinstitute.org/ (click on the button "What's hot").
In 1988 the U.S. Supreme Court invalidated all state laws which ban paid petition-gatherers. In response, several states banned paying petition-gatherers per signature. Generally, these bans only relate to initiative petitions, but New York bans paying circulators per signature for all types of petitions.
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. The matter was open to public comment in July.
Anyone who feels that the FEC ought to expedite this matter is free to write to the new chairman of the FEC, Darryl R. Wold, at 999 E St. NW, Washington DC 20463. Point out that the longer the FEC waits, the more politically-motivated any decision will appear. The FEC should have considered this matter last year.
On December 8, Missouri's Secretary of State Rebecca Cook ruled that a qualified party may change its name. The ruling had been requested by the Constitution Party, which was formerly the U.S. Taxpayers Party. Missouri thus joins Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina, all states which have ruled that qualified parties may change their names, even though this subject isn't addressed in these states' laws. Minnesota, New Mexico, New York and Wisconsin state laws expressly permit party name changes. The issue hasn't arisen in other states.
The only other ballot-qualified units of the Constitution Party which have already changed the name are in Delaware and South Carolina. In Delaware, where a qualified party is one which has 235 registered members, the party contacted most of its registrants and had them re-register under the new name.
On December 13, Sue Harris DeBauche, Reform Party candidate for Governor of Virginia in 1997, asked the U.S. Supreme Court to hear her appeal. DeBauche v Trani, 99-1009. The 4th circuit had not only permitted a state University to co-sponsor a gubernatorial debate in which only the Democratic and Republican candidates were invited, it assessed attorneys fees against her (she had been one of only three candidates).
The Coalition for Free & Open Elections (COFOE) is expected to file an amicus for her by January 13. The Brennan Center for Justice is considering whether to co-sign it.
The initiative to establish Instant Run-Off Voting in Alaska will not be completed in time to meet the deadline for the November 2000 ballot. However, the signatures still count toward placing the initiative on the November 2002 ballot. The Republican Party backs the drive.
The Libertarian Party of New Mexico is engaged in a registration drive to upgrade its status from qualified minor party, to major party. The law requires that a major party both poll 5% of the statewide vote for any office, and also have registration membership of three-tenths of 1%. The registration figure must be met by the date the Governor proclaims the primary election (January 31, 2000). Three-tenths of 1% will be approximately 3,000. There were fewer than 1,200 registered Libertarians a year ago, so the party has been working slowly to increase its registration.
Even though the deadline for the registration is January 31, some counties in New Mexico are not willing to prepare a tally of registered voters as of that date. Each county operates on its own schedule, and some counties only prepare a tally every three months. The Secretary of State says she can't control when the counties do a tally. So, even though there may be enough registered Libertarians as of January 31, if the counties don't do a tally on that date, but instead rely on earlier tallies, the party may fail to qualify.
The party worked furiously the last week in December, so as to meet the goal in time for tallies taken as of December 31. But if the drive falls short, the party may sue to require each county to do a tally on the actual deadline of January 31.
On December 16, the FEC ruled that Pat Buchanan is eligible to receive primary season matching funds. Most of the private money that he raised was while he was running for the Republican nomination. Since October 25, he has been seeking the Reform nomination instead. Federal law on public funding says nothing about candidates who switch parties during the middle of a campaign. The FEC ruled that since the primary season fund law relates to candidates, not parties, there is no legal basis to deny the funding. The ruling thus sets a precedent.
On December 22, U.S. Senator John McCain filed a lawsuit alleging that New York state presidential primary ballot access procedures are too difficult. New York is the only state in which McCain has been unable to obtain a spot on the ballot. Molinari v Powers, 99-8447, e.d. The case was assigned to Judge Edward Korman, a Reagan appointee.
New York state law requires presidential candidates seeking a place on a presidential primary ballot to submit 5,000 signatures on a statewide petition, as well as district petitions in each congressional district containing the lesser of 1,000 signatures, or one-half of 1% of the number of registered Republicans in that district. For Republicans, approximately 20,000 signatures are needed on district petitions. All signatures must be obtained in 37 days, between November 30, 1999 and January 6, 2000. The only Republican candidates expected to meet the requirement are George W. Bush and Steve Forbes.
The requirements are not as difficult as they were in 1996. That year, the federal courts invalidated the old requirements, and the state legislature created the above-described new procedure in 1999. The New York primary will be on March 7.
Two minor party activists in Indiana are vigorously seeking a sponsor for a proposed bill to lower the number of signatures needed for minor party and independent candidates. They are Bob Conley of the Constitution Party and Paul Wilson of the Natural Law Party.
Indiana quadrupled the number of signatures needed to get on the ballot in 1980. Currently, Indiana requires more signatures to get on the statewide ballot than any state except California, North Carolina, Georgia, Texas, and Oklahoma. In Georgia and Oklahoma, bills are pending to lower the requirements.
On December 28, a U.S. District Court in St. Paul, Minnesota, held a hearing in Reform Party of Minnesota v Reform Party USA, 99-2052. The issue is whether the Reform Party Presidential Selection Committee should be restrained from signing a contract with a host hotel in Long Beach, California, for the party's 2000 national convention. Plaintiffs want the contract-signing postponed until the court can sort out where the convention should be. However, Judge Donald Alsop adjourned the hearing without making a decision. A decision is expected any day now.
The Reform Party national convention in 1999 failed to vote on whether the 2000 convention should be. Afterwards, the party's Executive Committee chose Long Beach, California. Proponents of holding the convention in Minnesota felt betrayed, since the same Committee had recommended in 1998 that the 2000 convention be held in Minnesota. The state chair of the Minnesota Reform Party then attempted to have the party's National Committee (which is a much larger body, of 147 members) vote on the question. Most members of the National Committee voted by mail and telephone in early December to change the cite to Minnesota. The Minnesota Reform Party then chose St. Paul.
Since this was the first time that any decision of the Executive Committee had been appealed to the National Committee, and since the party's national rules aren't explicit about how such an appeal can be made, the legitimacy of the appeal is in dispute.
On January 1, Russell Verney's term as chairman of the National Committee expired, and Jack Gargan took his place. Verney lives in Texas and Gargan lives in Florida, but the party doesn't have an actual headquarters building.
On December 17, the Republican Party announced that its national convention will be July 31-August 3.
On November 9, 1999, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments on a state university's mandatory student activity fee. The fee is used to subsidize student groups, including groups engaged in political causes. Some students argue that the First Amendment protects them from being forced to pay for the propagation of ideas which they oppose. Board of Regents v Southworth, 98-1189. The case is from the University of Wisconsin, a public school (if the college were private, there would be no basis for the lawsuit).
The decision will probably effect the debate over public financing of campaigns. Although in 1976 the U.S. Supreme Court upheld public financing for presidential campaigns, that law included a taxpayer "check-off" on income tax form, which let each taxpayer decide whether to participate.
The Delaware Republican Party is administering its own presidential primary this year. The party decided not to use the government-sponsored primary because that primary will be held only 4 days after New Hampshire's primary. New Hampshire law says that its primary will be at least a week before any other state's primary. The New Hampshire primary will be on February 1. There is nothing that New Hampshire can do to prevent the government of Delaware from holding its primary on February 5, but all the Republican candidates for president agreed to boycott the Delaware government primary so as not to displease New Hampshire. There will be a non-binding government-administered Democratic primary in Delaware on February 5.
For 2000, Pennsylvania will require fewer signatures for statewide minor party and independent candidates than at any time since 1970. The 2000 requirement, 21,739, is based on the number of votes cast for the highest vote-getting winner in the statewide Judicial elections of November 1999.
The Arizona Democratic Party will hold its own presidential primary this year, just as it did in 1996, since the government-administered presidential primary violates national party rules by being too early. This year, the Arizona Democratic primary will permit votes to be cast over the Internet. Votation.com is the company which will administer that part of the primary, which is scheduled for March 11. Voter identity will be verified by an electronic signature and the voter's date of birth.
The Arizona Democratic Party announced this news on December 16. The following day, the Voting Integrity Project, a national organization which fights election fraud, blasted the project and said it may file a lawsuit against that method of voting. The Project feels that the system will not have sufficient proof of the identity of individual voters. In addition, the Project points out that such a system is inherently discriminatory, since it makes it more convenient for computer owners to vote than it does for non-computer owners. Certain socio-economic-ethnic groups have much greater access to personal computers than other such groups.
On December 8, the Maine Secretary of State ruled that registered members of the Reform Party must re-register into the Reform Party, if they wish to be members. The party regained qualified status on September 18, 1999, by a vote of the legislature; but it must re-enroll all its members.
Two candidates will appear on the Green Party presidential primary in California, Ralph Nader and Joel Kovel of New York.
On December 1, the District of Columbia Authority Board approved the new, improved ballot retention law approved last year by the D.C. city council.
1. California: on December 9, a State Court of Appeals ruled that government-printed voter handbooks must let candidates give their opinions on political issues, if a candidate desires to put such material into a statement. The lower court had ruled that candidates may include only their qualifications. Hammond v Agran, G024266.
California (2): on December 13, the State Supreme Court removed a Republican Party-backed initiative from the ballot on the grounds that it violates the law that initiatives must concern only a single subject. The initiative included reapportionment reform coupled with a salary decrease for state legislators. Senate v Jones, S083194.
2. Colorado: on January 18 there will be a hearing in the 10th circuit in Colorado Republican Federal Campaign v FEC, 99-1211, over whether political parties have a right to contribute unlimited amounts of money for their candidates, even if there is coordination between the candidate and the party. The lower court had ruled that parties have such rights.
3. Massachusetts: No U.S. Supreme Court appeal was ever filed in Walsh v Secretary of the Commonwealth, a July 16 decision of the State Supreme Court which said that any petition sheet with extraneous scribbles or smudges in the margin is totally invalid. However, it is likely that a federal challenge to that ruling will be filed when suitable plaintiffs have been found. Activists are also working with the Secretary of State to get a bill introduced next year to ameliorate the problem.
4. Minnesota: on September 16, a U.S. District Court invalidated state laws making it impossible for political parties to make last-minute independent expenditures for their candidates. Republican Party of Minnesota v Pauly, 63 F Supp 2d 1008.
5. Nebraska: on October 1, the 8th circuit ruled that First Amendment activity must be permitted on public sidewalks; therefore, an ordinance banning sidewalk picketing of churches while church is in session is invalid. Olmer v City of Lincoln, 192 F 3d 1176. The decision was by Judge Richard Arnold, the same judge who had ruled in favor of minor parties in cases on fusion and debates.
6. New York: state law prevents voters from signing two different nominating petitions for the same candidate. On August 25, the State Court of Appeals carried the law to a ridiculous extreme. It ruled that if voters sign a petition to place a candidate on the ballot, and then (after that candidate fails to get on the ballot) they also sign his petition to be a declared write-in candidate, such signatures are invalid since the voter signed two petitions. DeCicco v Chemung Co. Bd. of Elections, 719 NE 2d 526.
7. Tennessee: a hearing was held in federal court in Chattanooga on December 6 in Millsaps v Thompson, 1:99-cv-261. The issue is whether the state's early voting law conflicts with federal law, which mandates that the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November is election day for federal office. The case was brought by the Voting Integrity Project, which has similar challenges pending in Oregon and Texas.
8. Virginia: on January 24 there will be a hearing in the 4th circuit in Wood v Meadows, the challenge to the state's non-presidential independent petition deadline of early June.
|Libertarian||Conservative||Green||Reform||Consti.||Amer.||Nat Law||Soc Wkr|
|New Jersey Assembly||725||13,420||947||638||773||319|
|Libertarian||Conservative||Green||Reform||Consti.||Amer.||Nat Law||Soc Wkr|
|New Jersey Assembly||2.09%||2.58%||2.41%||.82%||2.28%||2.62%|
The tables above shows election returns for minor party candidates in the November 2, 1999 elections. Although Mississippi held State House elections as well, there is no entry for these races, since there were no minor party candidates for Mississippi House. The Reform Party had nominated two candidates for Mississippi House, but they were removed from the ballot, since the party has no local organization in the county in which the candidates tried to run.
|FULL PARTY||CAND.||LIB'T||REFORM||NAT LAW||CONSTIT'N||GREEN|
|Alaska||(reg) 6,606||#2,410||already on||already on||finished||1,000||already on||Aug 8|
|Arizona||13,565||es. #9,500||already on||*1,800||already on||800||0||June 29|
|Arkansas||*21,181||#1,000||*1,200||*300||already on||*800||0||Aug 1|
|California||(reg) 86,177||149,692||already on||already on||already on||already on||already on||Aug 10|
|Colorado||(reg) 1,000||#pay fee||already on||already on||already on||already on||already on||July 10|
|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||*160||Aug 19|
|D.C.||no procedure||es. #3,500||can't start||can't start||can't start||can't start||already on||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||1,000||0||0||*1,000||Jul 11|
|Hawaii||602||#3,703||already on||0||*800||*finished||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||June 26|
|Indiana||no procedure||#30,717||already on||0||0||*50||0||Jul 17|
|Iowa||no procedure||#1,500||0||0||0||*1,500||0||Aug 17|
|Kansas||14,854||5,000||already on||already on||*13,000||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||already on||0||0||already on||Aug 8|
|Maryland||10,000||es. 26,000||already on||9,000||finished||*1,600||2,300||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||*already on||0||July 19|
|Minnesota||104,550||#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||already on||already on||0||July 31|
|Montana||5,000||#5,000||already on||already on||already on||*2,200||0||Aug 1|
|Nebraska||5,453||2,500||already on||200||already on||0||0||Aug 28|
|Nevada||4,099||4,099||already on||0||already on||already on||0||July 2|
|New Hampshire||9,827||#3,000||*9,500||*3,000||0||*finished||0||Aug 9|
|New Jersey||no procedure||#800||0||0||0||*200||0||July 31|
|New Mexico||2,494||14,964||already on||already on||*1,000||*800||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. 95,000||already on||3,000||*100||0||0||June 30|
|North Dakota||7,000||4,000||can't start||already on||can't start||can't start||can't start||Sep 7|
|Ohio||33,543||#5,000||*already on||7,500||*already on||*5,000||0||Aug 23|
|Oregon||16,663||13,755||already on||*900||*16,000||5,000||already on||Aug 28|
|Pennsylvania||no procedure||*21,739||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||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||2,000||#1,000||already on||0||already on||0||*450||Aug 31|
|Vermont||be organized||#1,000||already on||0||0||*finished||0||Sep 20|
|Virginia||no procedure||#10,000||*0||*0||*0||*0||*0||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||#12,730||already on||0||already on||0||0||Aug 1|
|Wisconsin||10,000||#2,000||already on||*0||*0||already on||already on||Sep 5|
|Wyoming||3,485||3,485||already on||0||*300||*50||0||Aug 28|
|TOTAL STATES ON||*31||21||*17||*13||12|
"Deadline" refers to procedure with the LATEST deadline. * -- entry has changed since last issue. # means that candidate procedure allows a partisan label. Other multi-state parties on the ballot: in Florida, the American Reform, Southern, Socialist Workers and Socialist Parties. The Socialist Party has 50 signatures in New Jersey. The Mountain Party has 5,000 in West Virginia.
Last month, Pat Buchanan became the first presidential candidate who is seeking the Reform Party nomination, to begin qualifying for the Reform Party mail-in primary ballot. He launched a petition to get the party on the presidential portion of the Arkansas ballot. Under Reform Party rules, no one may qualify for the nomination who has not done significant petitioning to get either himself, or the party, on the ballot in states where it isn't already on the ballot.
The Arkansas petition for an unqualified party to place itself on the ballot does not ask for the names of the group's candidates. Therefore, Buchanan was not faced with the task of naming a stand-in vice-presidential candidate. However, in many states he will need such a stand-in. He is expected to name the stand-in presidential candidate or candidates any day now. He will receive his first installment of primary season matching funds in a few days, and will use much of the money for petitioning. He is entitled to $2,400,000, but will receive only half of it in January because the federal fund is temporarily short of funds.
In the non-binding Michigan Democratic presidential primary, Lyndon LaRouche will be the only candidate listed. Albert Gore and Bill Bradley withdrew their names, since the primary is so early that it violates Democratic Party national by-laws.
In a few days, LaRouche will receive his first installment of primary season matching funds. He is entitled to $730,000, but will receive only about half, due to the temporary shortfall in the federal fund.
Harry Browne, front-runner for the Libertarian presidential nomination, indicated on December 27 that his first choice for the party's vice-presidential candidate is Professor Richard Ebeling of Hillsdale College (Michigan). Browne also said that he will formally announce his candidacy for the Libertarian nomination on February 15.
The last B.A.N. listed minor party candidates elected to public office on November 2, 1999, but failed to mention them all. In addition to those listed in that issue, the Natural Law Party elected Tom Stanley to the Fairfield, Iowa city council (in a non-partisan run-off on November 30). The Libertarian Party won four other Pennsylvania partisan races and two other Ohio non-partisan races. The partisan winners were: Carol Pash, Auditor, Clay Twp., Lancaster Co.; Arthur Farnsworth, West Rockhill Twp. Cmsr., Huntingdon Co.; Shawn Smith, Auditor, Windsor Twp., York Co.; and Bob Schindo, York Twp. Cmsr., York Co. The Ohio winners were: Roger Krass, Centerville City Council; and Nick Hogan, Gahanna City Council.
The last B.A.N. said that New Party winners for Minneapolis School Board are Judy Farmer & Albert Gallmon. The correct names are Audrey Johnson & Albert Gallmon.
John Hagelin, Natural Law presidential candidate, is also seeking the Reform nomination. He has entered the Reform presidential primary in Missouri, the only Reform Party presidential primary which is binding. The only other two candidates in that primary are Pat Buchanan and Charles Collins. Candidates qualified by paying a fee of $1,000 to the Missouri Reform Party.
Hagelin cannot qualify for the Reform Party's mail-in presidential primary ballot unless he completes some petitions on behalf of the Reform Party, or as an independent without the "Natural Law" label. He is prepared to do this extra petitioning work, in addition to all the petitioning he is carrying out with the "Natural Law" label. He expects to qualify for primary season matching funds soon.
Donald Trump didn't file for the Reform Party presidential primary in Missouri. His campaign did not explain the decision. He is running unopposed in the Michigan Reform Party presidential primary, since the only other candidates placed on that ballot by the Secretary of State (Governor Jesse Ventura and Pat Buchanan) withdrew.