Ballot Access News -- October 1, 2001

Volume 17, Number 7

This issue was originally printed on white paper.

Table of Contents
  14. Subscription Information


On September 13, U.S. District Court Judge George Howard, a Carter appointee, ruled that Arkansas must put the Green Party on the ballot, for the special congressional election of November 20. Green Party of Arkansas v Priest, 4:01-cv-586-GH. Arkansas has no method for a new party to qualify in odd-year elections. The regular petition to qualify a new party can only be circulated between December 2001 and May 2002, and there is no procedure for new parties to qualify in special elections.

As a result of the lawsuit, the Secretary of State will also include the Freedom Party on the ballot in that election as well, even though the Freedom Party had not been part of the lawsuit. The Freedom Party is an off-shoot of the Reform Party.

Judge Howard also re-iterated that the number of signatures needed for a new party for the 2002 election is 10,000 signatures, not 21,181. The state had been insisting that Howard's 1996 opinion, striking down the 3% petition formula, need not be obeyed, since the state had eased the deadline. The judge noticed that the state still hadn't amended the 3% petition requirement, even though he had held it unconstitutional in 1996. He made a point of re-iterating his 1996 ruling.

Sara Marsh, the Green candidate in the special election for the third district, becomes the first candidate of a "left" political party to run for the U.S. House from Arkansas. Arkansas is the only state in which the Socialist Party, in its long history, never had a candidate for U.S. House on the ballot.

Arkansas' legislature will probably amend the law when it convenes next year. Activists hope that the state will simply permit the party petition to be circulated as early as the proponents wish. Most states don't control how early a party petition can circulate. If Arkansas had permitted a group to petition for party status as early as it wished, there would have been no grounds for the lawsuit.


On September 10, the State Court of Appeals affirmed a ruling of a lower court, and said that the state must let individuals register as members of minor parties. The state has forced voters to choose between "Republican", "Democratic", or "independent", ever since 1920. Council of Alternative Political Parties v State of New Jersey, A-5698-99. The Democratic and Republican Parties are also losers in this case, since they had intervened and filed briefs against the minor parties.

The state hasn't decided whether to appeal to the State Supreme Court. If there is no appeal, voters will soon be able to register as members of the Green, Libertarian, Natural Law, Reform or U.S. Taxpayers Parties (the last-named party changed its name to the Constitution Party, but the old name was in effect when the lawsuit was filed). Elections officials will be obliged to tally the number of voters who register in each party, and furnish each party with a list of the voters who registered into it.


On September 6, the Georgia House passed HB 25. This was an election law bill which included a surprise provision to ease ballot access for minor party candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives. Unfortunately, on September 21, the State Senate deleted that part of the bill.

The bill would have said that if a party submits a 1% petition to qualify itself, it could then nominate candidates for the U.S. House, with no more petitioning. Current law says if a minor party submits a party petition, it is free to run candidates for statewide office. But if it wants to run candidates for district office, it must submit separate petitions, each signed by 5% of the number of registered voters. A lawsuit is pending against the 5% petition.


Minnesota's legislature, in its special session this year, passed a law making it easier for a party to remain on the ballot. The old law required a party to poll 5% for a statewide race, every two years. The new law requires it to meet the 5% vote test only once every four years.

Minnesota is the 16th state to ease party retention, during the last eleven years. The others are Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, North Dakota, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Virginia, and Wyoming. The only state which has made it more difficult for a party to remain on the ballot, during the same period, is New Hampshire.

The law was passed due to lobbying by the Independence Party (Governor Ventura's party). Without the new law, the party would have had a difficult time remaining qualified in 2004. In Minnesota in 2004, there are no statewide offices on the ballot except president. At this time, the Independence Party has no plans to even run a presidential candidate in 2004 (nor did it run one in 2000).

The new law is specifically worded so as to not restore the Constitution Party to the ballot. The Constitution Party polled over 5% for one statewide race in 1998, but did not poll 5% in 2000, so it went off the ballot. Under the new law, a party in that position would not have lost its ballot status in 2000. However, the new law contains an implementation instruction, providing that it may not be applied retrospectively.

Minnesota elects these statewide offices: Governor/Lt. Gov, Secretary of State, Attorney General, Auditor; and the two federal offices, president and U.S. Senator. All of them continue to count toward the 5% vote test, except that now, for some odd reason, in mid-term years, U.S. Senate doesn't count.


On August 30, U.S. District Court Judge Donald Ziegler, a Carter appointee, struck down a Pennsylvania law which forbids unqualified parties from nominating someone who has been a member of a qualified party during the 30 days before the filing deadline. Public Interest Party v Armstrong County, 01-1616, w.d.

The basis for the decision is that qualified parties don't suffer from the same restriction. They can nominate someone who only has only been a member for one minute. Therefore, the law violates Equal Protection.


On September 21, the Ohio Libertarian Party brought a lawsuit, seeking a decision that it is a qualified party. State ex rel Hartman v Cuyahoga Co. Bd. of Elections, 8th dist. Court of Appeals. The Ohio law defines "political party" in two places. In one place, the law says when a party submits a petition, if it was submitted less than a year before an election, then it remains on the ballot for two even-year elections. The other part of the code doesn't contradict this, but it doesn't mention it, either. The state says the first law should be ignored.


On September 13, the highest Maryland state court (which is called the Court of Appeals, not the State Supreme Court) decided to hear Green Party of Maryland v Maryland Board of Elections, no. 78. The case had been pending in the mid-level court. The higher court made the decision to hear the case, without being asked. In Maryland, the high court regularly scrutinizes all cases pending in the mid-level courts, and takes cases which seem important or interesting.

The case challenges Maryland ballot access laws, which require one petition to qualify the party, and more petitions to qualify each of its nominees (except presidential nominees don't need a candidate petition). The Green Party says the candidate petitions are redundant and should not be required.


On September 19, U.S. District Court Judge Robert Lasnik, a Clinton appointee, struck down a Seattle law which says that candidate statements in the Voters Guide "shall not mention the opponent". Cogswell v City of Seattle, C-01-1209L.

The court said that any law prohibiting a candidate from mentioning his or her opponent is viewpoint discrimination. An incumbent is free to discuss his or her own record, but the incumbent's opponents cannot discuss the incumbent's record.

Washington has a somewhat similar law, but the state law was not declared unconstitutional. The state law says a Voters Guide statement must "be limited to statements about the candidate himself." The judge said that law permits a candidate to discuss the opponent, since if the candidate explains why he or she is running, and that explanation includes a criticism of the opponent, the statement really is a statement about the candidate.


1. California: on August 24, U.S. District Court Judge Stephen Wilson, a Reagan appointee, refused to dismiss the ACLU lawsuit against punch card voting. Common Cause v Jones, cv01-3470-SVW. The judge cited Bush v Gore. A trial will be held next year, unless the case is settled. Later, the Secretary of State announced plans to eliminate punchcard voting by 2006, although he said his decision has nothing to do with the lawsuit.

California (2): on August 15, the State Supreme Court said it will hear Young v Raley's, S98428, next year. This is a case over whether large stores (not in shopping centers) must permit petitioning and leafleting on their parking lots.

2. Michigan: the Green Party has dropped its case, on whether the state must permit a party (which is not qualified statewide) to qualify in just a single city. The party has been qualified in Michigan since 2000, and thus no longer cares about the issue.

3. New Mexico: on September 7, the 10th circuit struck down Albuquerque's campaign expenditure limits. Homans v City of Albuquerque, 01-2271.

4. New York: On August 30, the State Court of Appeals ruled that if a candidate submits a petition on time, he cannot be removed from the ballot just because the elections office forgot to date-stamp the petition. This should be obvious, but the lower court had disqualified the candidate. Green v DiNapoli, no. 175.

New York (2): Also on August 30, the same Court ruled petitioning must be permitted, even if the petitioner lives outside the district. LaBrake v Dukes, no. 176. Last year, a federal court in New York had said the same thing, but the federal case had involved a minor party primary, and this case involved a Democratic Party primary.


The graph below shows the number of signatures needed for a new party to place candidates for the House of Representatives on the ballot in all 435 districts. The percentage along the vertical axis is the number of signatures needed for this purpose, in the entire nation, divided by the number of eligible voters in the nation that year.

The graph shows that ballot access requirements for the U.S. House are getting easier. The 2002 requirement, as a percentage of the number of eligible voters, is lower than for any election after 1928. The highest points in the graph are nearly 1.2% for 1962 and slightly less for 1964.

The calculation of the number of signatures uses the easiest method of getting on the ballot. Therefore, some of the methods are independent candidate procedures, and wouldn't permit the new party to have its name on the ballot, next to its candidates. If the calculation had only included procedures which permit the party name, the percentage would have been about 20% higher.

The number of eligible voters is based on information provided by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Committee for the Study of the American Electorate.


[bar graph of signature requirements for US House ballot access,

This graph shows the requirements for a new party to get on the ballot for all US House seats, in each year from 1928 to 2002, as a percentage of the electorate. See above for more information.


Errata: Greens not on in UT and SC.

Alabama 39,536 39,536 already on 0 0 0 0 July 1
Alaska (reg) 6,606 #2,879 already on already on 5 58 7 June 1
Arizona (reg) 14,500 est. #9,800 *finished 5,000 0 1,514 104 Nov 1, 01
Arkansas *10,000 #10,000 2,500 can't start can't start can't start can't start May 7
California (reg) 86,212 157,073 already on already on already on already on already on Oct 2, 01
Colorado (reg) 1,000 #1,000 already on already on already on already on already on May 1
Connecticut no procedure #7,500 already on can't start already on can't start can't start Aug 7
Delaware est. (reg) 250 est. 5,000 already on already on already on already on already on Aug 17
D.C. no procedure est. #3,500 can't start already on can't start can't start can't start Aug 28
Florida be organized pay fee already on already on already on already on already on Sep 1
Georgia 38,600 #38,600 already on 0 0 0 0 Jul 9
Hawaii 638 25 500 already on 0 0 already on Apr 24
Idaho 10,033 5,017 already on 0 already on already on already on Aug 31
Illinois no procedure #25,000 can't start can't start can't start can't start can't start Jun 24
Indiana no procedure #30,717 already on 0 0 0 0 Jul 15
Iowa no procedure #1,500 0 already on 0 0 0 Aug 16
Kansas 14,854 5,000 already on 0 already on already on 0 June 1
Kentucky no procedure #5,000 can't start can't start can't start can't start can't start Aug 6
Louisiana est. (reg) 140,000 pay fee 1,016 393 17 2,408 23 July 1
Maine 21,051 #4,000 0 already on 0 0 0 Dec 13, 01
Maryland 10,000 est. 26,000 *3,300 0 0 0 0 Aug 5
Massachusetts est. (reg) 37,500 #10,000 already on already on 17 2,594 73 July 30
Michigan 30,272 30,272 *30,000 already on 0 already on 0 July 18
Minnesota 104,550 #2,000 0 already on 0 0 0 June 1
Mississippi be organized #1,000 already on 0 already on already on already on March 1
Missouri 10,000 10,000 already on 0 0 0 0 July 29
Montana 5,000 #5,000 already on already on *800 already on already on Mar 14
Nebraska 5,453 2,500 already on 0 0 0 0 Aug 1
Nevada 5,867 5,867 0 already on already on already on already on July 7
New Hampshire 16,931 #3,000 0 0 0 0 0 Aug 6
New Jersey no procedure #800 0 0 0 0 0 July 31
New Mexico 2,994 17,958 *3,000 already on 0 0 0 Apr 2
New York no procedure #15,000 can't start already on can't start can't start can't start Aug 20
North Carolina 58,842 est. 99,000 already on 0 0 0 0 May 17
North Dakota 7,000 4,000 can't start can't start can't start can't start can't start Apr 5
Ohio 45,753 5,000 *in court *5,200 0 0 *4,500 Jan 7
Oklahoma 61,712 pay fee 0 0 0 0 0 May 31
Oregon 16,663 15,306 already on already on already on 0 already on Aug 27
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 can't start already on can't start can't start can't start Jul 18
South Carolina 10,000 10,000 already on already on already on already on already on July 17
South Dakota 6,505 #2,602 already on 0 0 already on 0 April 2
Tennessee 24,406 25 0 0 *5,000 0 0 Apr 1
Texas 37,381 37,381 already on already on can't start can't start can't start May 28
Utah 2,000 #1,000 already on already on 0 0 already on Mar 15
Vermont be organized #1,000 already on 0 already on 0 already on Jan 1
Virginia no procedure #10,000 can't start can't start can't start can't start can't start Jun 11
Washington no procedure #200 already on can't start can't start can't start can't start Jul 6
West Virginia no procedure #11,864 0 0 0 0 0 May 13
Wisconsin 10,000 #2,000 already on already on already on can't start can't start Jun 1
Wyoming 4,247 4,247 already on 0 0 0 0 Jun 1
TOTAL STATES ON 26 22 13 12 13

"Deadline" is procedure with earliest petition deadline. All dates are in 2002, unless they are labeled "01". #Candidate procedure allows partisan label. Other nationally-organized parties on a statewide ballot are Socialist, Socialist Workers, Southern, and Workers World, in Florida. The Socialist Party is petitioning in Oregon. * means a change, compared to the Sep. 2001 B.A.N.


Communist: the terrorist attacks that killed and wounded thousands of innocent people Sep. 11 are crimes that call for universal, worldwide condemnation... The Communist Party USA expresses outrage and profound sorrow at this horrendous assault... We must guard against a rush for military reprisals before the perpetuators are known and apprehended. There are calls for more military spending, more intrusive surveillance both at home and abroad and curtailment of democratic rights. Innocent Arab people both at home and abroad and immigrants across the U.S. face a danger of racist and xenophobic attacks. We call on the Bush administration, and all state and local authorities to take measures to guarantee everyone's safety. The danger is that the cycle of violence will spiral out of control with more death and destruction (party statement of September 12).

Constitution: the events of September 11 were not, as high officials have suggested, an attack on freedom and democracy, rather, they were a manifestation of Islamic fanaticism. Unconstitutional interventionism on the part of the government of the U.S., over many decades, has made America a target of hostility in many places all over the world. U.S. participation in U.N. interventions in the Balkans and our effort to play "power broker" in the Middle East have exacted a price. The Executive Order prohibiting assassination should be revoked by President Bush. It is never moral to make innocent non-combatants a primary target. It would have been much more just, for example, for the U.S. military, to have assassinated Saddam Hussein and his immediate cohorts than to have placed at risk the Iraqi civilian population, U.S. military personnel, or even political disengaged Iraqi soldiers (Sep. 17 statement of Howard Phillips, past presidential candidate).

Freedom Socialist: we in the Freedom Socialist Party are saddened by this savage attack... This attack was anything but "senseless". Assuming that it was carried out by opponents of the U.S. in the Middle East or elsewhere, it makes perfect, horrible sense, given the state of the world and the class war today. The installation and arming of U.S. client regimes across the globe which in turn suppress their own people; the assassinations of acknowledged public leaders as in Palestine; the CIA money and personnel poured into creating death squads and reactionary Islamic extremists like the Taliban in Afghanistan; the arrogant walkout staged by the U.S. at the World Conference on Racism: these cause terrorism to flourish... While it is necessary to understand why acts of terrorism might be resorted to, the Freedom Socialist Party does not support them (party statement of Sep. 14).

Green Party of the US (formerly Assn. of State Green Parties): the Green Party of the US notes that many Greens from the New York city metropolitan area may have lost loved ones, friends, and co-workers, and expresses sympathy and condolence for them along with all others who have been affected by Tuesday's attacks. The party honors Greens and their supporters everywhere who have assisted the rescue and medical efforts.

The party urges President Bush and other U.S. leaders to continue condemning the harassment and blame of Arabs and Muslims in the U.S. or around the world in the wake of the terrible events of Sep. 11. The Green Party, which proudly ran the first Arab-American candidate for President of the U.S., bears a special obligation to denounce this kind of prejudice. Ralph Nader is the child of Lebanese immigrants (party press release of Sep. 18).

The Greens/Green Party USA: last Tuesday, some bully socked New York in the jaw knocking out its two front teeth, causing misery and death to large numbers of innocent people... The calls for revenge will grow in the days ahead as the innocent victims are buried. The Green Party USA of course condemns this attack. Greens have joined thousands of others in organizing blood donations, carrying supplies, and digging through the rubble of what had been the World Trade Center to help save as many lives as we can. But we will not join in calls for military retaliation, which will only ratchet-up the misery and death toll, both abroad and here at home as waves of anger and despair will flood against our shores in the form of new reprisals. Instead, the party has been active in helping to counter the racist anti-Moslem and anti-Arab hysteria that has led to mindless attacks against Arab and dark-skinned Asian people (party statement of Sep. 13).

Independent American: we can do it alone. The internationalists tell us that these kind of problems are too big for any one nation to solve. What utter nonsense. Whose troops, aid and technology have defended Europe for eighty years?... We can do it alone. We already have. We, it seems, were the financier of everything good, and so much of that which was bad in the past century. The real solution is to concentrate on ourselves, stop aiding our enemies, and let the rest of the free world grow up. Only then will our enemies be the homeless, beggars on the street they deserve to be. Let us begin by saying no to anymore internationalist solutions, and yes to a firm unilateral response (Sep. 13 statement of Steve Montgomery and Steve Farrell, previously on the party's webpage but unable to locate after 11/15).

Libertarian: the terrorist attack was a horrible tragedy and I feel enormous sympathy for those who were personally affected by it. I hope anyone responsible for the attack who didn't die in it will be found, tried, and punished appropriately. Terrorism is the killing of innocent people in order to bring about some political or social change. Terrorism may cause some changes in the short term, but it never leads to a conclusive victory, because it provokes a never-ending cycle of escalating violence on both sides. The US government has engaged in acts of terrorism over the past few decades -- bombing and starving innocent people in foreign countries, supposedly to force their leaders to make changes the US government desires. Terrorism doesn't become "policing" or "justice" merely because it is our government doing it. Killing innocent people in retaliation for the sins of other people isn't justice; it is terrorism. The terrorists were wrong to kill Americans to satisfy their grievances against American foreign policy. And to react to them by killing innocent foreigners would also be terrorism (Sep. 15 statement of Harry Browne, past presidential candidate; see also the party statement of Sep. 12, which did not reach B.A.N. by press time for this issue)

Natural Law: while a narrowly targeted response against the perpetuators of the atrocity is clearly mandated, we must resist any impulse to retaliate militarily against entire nations. Such retaliation would be as barbarous as the very act we are condemning... We need a new approach -- one that targets the underlying causes of fanatical, violent behavior: (1) mounting tensions among rival factions in critical hotspots throughout the world; and (2) deep-seated ignorance and underdevelopment of the brain caused by outdated education... But it may take years to modernize education and "enlighten" the world. In the meantime, we must halt terrorism now... We can diffuse acute ethnic and religious tensions that underlie regional conflicts and terrorism... these approaches include the practice of stress-reducing meditation techniques by strategically located groups -- an approach that was scientifically shown to produce an 80% drop in war deaths and war-related injuries during the Lebanon war (Sep. 13 statement of John Hagelin, past presidential candidate).

Reform: I call on President Bush and Congress to take immediate action to provide for our national security. Until the U.S. can get its house back in order, we ask Congress to immediately close our borders, place a moratorium on immigration and amnesty proposals, identify and send home all illegal aliens, and limit visas to 30 days. America needs a time-out on immigration. This is not about racism. It is not about xenophobia. This is about protecting our children, our husbands, our wives, our families. The INS is out of control and the CIA is weak, as was painfully demonstrated last week. Our under-staffed military is going to be stretched to the max to meet the demands of this war. As we focus on attacking the enemy from without, we cannot ignore the enemy that has been allowed to attack from within (Sep. 18 statement of Gerald Moan, national party chairman).

Socialist: the party rejects calls for war and calls upon American citizens to wage peace. We condemn the mass murder that occurred on September 11, as we condemn all murder. We fully understand the desire for retribution in response, but do not share it. We insist that the perpetuators of these terrorist acts should be brought to justice without plunging this country and the world into a wider war (Sep. 19 statement on party webpage).

Socialist Workers: whoever may have carried out the September 11 operations, these actions have nothing to do with the fight against capitalist exploitation and imperialist oppression. Revolutionists and other class-conscious workers, farmers, and youth the world over reject the use of such methods. The US government and its allies for more than a century have carried out systematic terror to defend their class privilege and interests at home and abroad -- from the atomic incineration of hundreds of thousands at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, to the 10-year-long slaughter in Indochina, to the war against the Iraqi people in 1990-91, to the burning to death of 80 people at Waco on its home soil, to other examples too numerous to list. In recent weeks, the White House and Congress have stood behind Tel Aviv as it escalated its campaign of both random killings and outright murders in its historically failing effort to quell the struggle by the dispossessed Palestinian people for the return of their homeland (Sep. 11 statement by Martin Koppel, candidate for Mayor of New York city, unable to locate online).

Workers World: in times of crisis like this, the workers individually mobilize with great selflessness and sacrifice to save lives, aid the wounded and distressed, and try to return life to normal. People of many nationalities work shoulder-to-shoulder in an admirable spirit of cooperation and caring, in the same way they respond to natural disasters. However, there is no politically independent, mass working-class movement in the US at this moment that can make its own investigation of what happened and why. Even the corporate press and media are being restricted more and more in where they can go and what they can say. The people are left totally dependent on the imperialist government for information, analysis and a course of action. Under these conditions, it would be irresponsible at this time to jump to conclusions as to what political forces were behind these attacks. Many times in the past, going back to the battleship Maine in this country and the Reichstag fire in Germany, bogus explanations have been fabricated by the authorities (party statement of Sep. 13, published in 9/20 newsletter).

NOTE: due to space limitations, only nationally-organized parties which have run candidates in the last five years are included above. The statements above are only selected excerpts, not the full statements made by the parties and/or individuals. Where the relevant statement or press release was still able to be found online after November 15th, a link to same has been provided.

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Compilation copyright (c) © 2001 Bob Bickford