Ballot Access News -- April 1, 2002

Volume 17, Number 13

This issue was originally printed on cream paper.

Table of Contents
  24. Subscription Information


On March 19, Kentucky HB 32 was signed into law. It requires elections officials to record how members of all parties are registered. In the past, any registered voter who listed membership in a party other than "Democratic" or "Republican" was coded "independent". It was therefore impossible for minor parties to learn who their registered members were. In the future, all parties (whether they are qualified minor parties, or parties with no status) may obtain a list of their registered members.

The new procedure will begin in a few months. Voters who had previously showed membership in a minor party will continue to be coded "independent". Therefore, any previously-registered voter who wishes to have his or her registration included in the new tally must re-register.

Kentucky is the second state to begin providing registration data to minor parties this year. New Jersey is also about to launch this service.

States that make it impossible for a voter to register as a member of an unqualified party are Iowa, Kansas and New York. These three states ask a voter to choose a party on the voter registration form, but the form only lists qualified parties, and doesn't provide a blank "write-in" line.


HCR 263, by Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr., says it is the sense of Congress that the Commission on Presidential Debates should invite any candidate into its debate, if that candidate has 5% poll support; or if 50% of the public thinks that candidate ought to be invited. Last month, the Resolution gained its first co-sponsors, Ron Paul of Texas, and Neil Abercrombie of Hawaii.

Anyone who furnishes B.A.N. with a copy of a letter from any member of Congress (other than the three sponsors), commenting on HCR 263, wins a free 3-month subscription (or a 3-month sub extension).


On March 5, advocates of alternative voting systems had reason to celebrate. San Francisco voters passed a ballot measure, requiring that city elections in the future use Instant Runoff Voting, by 55.5% to 44.5%. The result was a surprise, since both daily newspapers, and two influential weekly newspapers, had opposed the measure.

Also on March 5, Vermont voters in 51 towns said "yes" to IRV. However, these votes were advisory only, and are intended to guide the legislature. Only three towns defeated the measure. Notwithstanding the vote, the IRV bills have failed to advance this year, and it is now too late for them to pass.

The next big test will be in Alaska, on August 27, when the voters decide whether to use IRV for all state and federal elections (except Governor).

The Center for Voting and Democracy showed great skill, in managing the campaign for IRV in both San Francisco and in most Vermont towns. In San Francisco, the opposition outspent the Center, and mailed to every household. The Center only had enough money to send to each household which had requested an absentee ballot. Nevertheless, the Center prevailed. It now will be applying its skills to the Alaska initiative campaign.


On March 5, the Virginia legislature passed HB 1256, to print party labels on the ballot for the nominees of unqualified political parties. The old law provided that party labels couldn't appear on the ballot (except for president) unless that party had polled 10% at the last election. The new law provides equal treatment for all parties which are on the ballot.

This bill only was possible because the old law was declared unconstitutional last year.


On February 28, an Illinois state court ruled that DuPage County must hold a primary election for the Libertarian Party in the 39th legislative district, for party committeemember. Semon v DuPage County Election Commission, 02-MR-049. The primary was duly held on March 19.

Illinois law permits a party to gain qualified status, district-by-district. If a party polls over 5% in any legislative district, it becomes a fully-qualified party in that legislative district, with its own primary. The Libertarian Party enjoys that status in 2002 in the 39th district because it polled 26% for that office in 2000. However, the County argued that the party could not elect party officers in that district. The county argued that since the party officers represent the county unit of the political party, a party can only participate in that type of election if it is qualified county-wide.

The judge ruled for the party on a technicality: since no one challenged the ballot access petitions for the candidates for party office, the county must hold the election. Thus the substantive issue (whether district parties can elect party officers) remains unsettled.


The last B.A.N. revealed that the U.S. Senate had amended S.565 (the bill to pay for new voting equipment) to let states use Social Security numbers for election administration. That provision is still in S.565. The bill is expected to pass the Senate in mid-April. Since the House version did not include this provision, a conference committee will make the final decision. Congressman Ron Paul has promised to do everything he can to defeat the provision.

This provision should not be confused with another provision in S.565, relating to the last four digits of the Social Security number as an alternate form of I.D. for voters who register and vote by mail.


On March 20, HR 2356 passed Congress. It makes it illegal for anyone to give more than $25,000 to the national committee of a political party in any one calendar year. The purpose of the gift is immaterial. Whether the gift is to let a party buy its own headquarters building, or build a new headquarters, or establish a weekly newspaper, or pay for a full-page ad in a newspaper (such as the recent Libertarian USA Today ad making fun of the drug laws), is irrelevant. National committees of political parties cannot receive more than $25,000 from any one individual, or organization, in any calendar year, for any purpose. Parties are now the only membership organizations in the U.S. that are always barred from receiving large contributions, regardless of the purpose of that contribution.

Which Parties are Affected?

The Constitution, Democratic, Green, Libertarian, Natural Law, Reform, Republican, and Socialist Parties are "national committees".

The law defines "political party" to be any organization that runs a presidential candidate and has its name placed on the November ballot next to that candidate's name. The law defines "national committee" to be "the organization which is responsible for the day-to-day operation of such political party at the national level".

From reading the law, one might think that a group becomes a "party" and a "national committee" automatically, if it runs a presidential candidate. However, the FEC, in practice, doesn't recognize a "national committee" until after it has applied. Furthermore, the FEC won't recognize a "national committee" until after that party has run a presidential candidate, and at least ten congressional candidates. Furthermore, the FEC doesn't count candidates unless they have raised or spent at least $5,000 on their campaigns. Because of these FEC practices, the Reform Party didn't get recognized as a "national committee" until 1998, and the Green Party didn't get recognized as a "national committee" until 2001.

The irony here is that it is now disadvantageous for a minor political party to be recognized as a "national committee". Parties without that recognition are free to receive donations in any amount (as long as they aren't intended for campaigns for particular federal candidates of that party).

Parties without "national committee" status can even receive primary season matching funds. For example, the New Alliance Party was never a "national committee", yet Lenora Fulani received primary season matching funds in both 1988 and 1992, as a candidate seeking the nomination of the New Alliance Party.

One wonders if new political parties in the future can simply refuse to file for "national committee" status, to avoid the disadvantages of the new law. Also, one wonders if an existing minor party that has "national committee" status can revoke that status. The Libertarian Party was permitted to revoke its "national committee" status in the mid-1980's (it changed it mind and regained its status in the early 1990's). Could a party do so again? No one knows.

Equal Protection Problem

Assuming the FEC keeps its existing practices in place, the new law will create massive disparities in how the government treats different political parties. For instance, during 2000, the Green Party was not yet a "national committee", yet five other minor parties were. Similarly, in 1996, the Reform Party was not yet a "national committee".

Does it Really Matter?

Many long-lived minor political parties have received substantial gifts during their history, some of them as bequests. The Prohibition, Socialist Labor, Socialist and Communist Parties have, in the past, received donations above $100,000. The Communist Party once received a gift of $1,000,000; this money has been instrumental in keeping the party's weekly newspaper alive.

Minor political parties have sometimes received substantial gifts to enable them to overcome ballot access hurdles.

In most states, a new or previously unqualified party gets on the ballot by submitting a petition which does not name any candidates; the petition simply says "Petition to qualify the (insert name) Party". Therefore, contributions to political parties, to pay for this type of petition, had never before been limited by federal campaign law. Now, they are.

In 1996, one individual donated approximately $100,000 to the national Natural Law Party, to enable the party to pay for its ballot access petition in North Carolina. Under the new law, such a donation to a national committee of a political party is illegal.


National parties cannot evade the law by setting up a parallel national body that is not called the "national committee". The law extends to any entity that is directly or indirectly established, financed, maintained or controlled by a national committee.

The bill allows an individual to donate $10,000 to a state or local (as opposed to a national) party, but only for "voter identification, get-out-the vote-activity, or generic campaign activity". "Generic campaign activity" is defined as "activity that promotes a political party and does not promote a candidate or non-Federal candidate."

A reasonable reading suggests that petitioning to get a party on the ballot would be included in that definition, if the petition doesn't include the names of any candidates.

However, such donations to state or local parties must be mixed with equal parts of "hard" money (money raised under the $2,000 contribution limit); such funds cannot be mixed with any other units of the same party; and federal candidates can't solicit such donations. Ironically, federal candidates aren't barred from soliciting "soft" money for other organizations, just for state and local parties.

To read the bill, go to (there is no "www"). Enter "HR 2356". It is likely that some minor parties will sue to overturn the law, or will join Senator McConnell's lawsuit.


1. It raises the individual limit on contributions from $1,000 to $2,000; and provides that if a wealthy candidate is spending a great deal of his or her own wealth (something that the U.S. Supreme Court has said cannot be outlawed), then the individual contribution limits are tripled or sextupled for the opponents (depending on how much money the wealthy candidate spends).

2. It directs the Comptroller General to study the results of public financing in Arizona and Maine.

3. Candidates who run TV ads that include their own picture, and that don't mention their opponents, qualify for cheaper rates.

4. Individuals under age 18 may not contribute any money to any party, not even to pay dues to a party club.


1. Alabama: on February 26, Rep. Riley Seibenhener introduced HB 477, which makes it possible for an independent candidate, or the candidate of an unqualified party, to appear on the general election ballot with no petition, if the candidate pays a filing fee. If you wish to help pass this bill, contact activist Don Webb at, or (662)-476-8833.

2. Connecticut: on March 20, the Joint Committee on Government Administration passed HB 5700, to authorize election-day registration.

3. Indiana: on March 14, the legislature passed HB 1101, to lower the number of signatures for a statewide candidate to get on a primary ballot from 5,000 to 4,500 signatures.

4. Michigan: on March 6, HB 5237 passed the House. It makes it easier for a party to remain on the ballot.

5. Minnesota: on March 21, HF 643 passed the House. It provides for a statewide initiative.

6. Wisconsin: the legislature passed AB 548, which moves the presidential primary from April to February. However, it won't take effect unless funding is found.


Michigan Democrats turned in 261,000 signatures last month, to force a vote on whether straight-ticket devices should be on ballots.


1. Arizona: on March 20, the Libertarian Party filed a lawsuit in federal court against a law that forces parties to let independents vote in their primaries. Az. Lib't. Party v Bd. of Supervisors of Pima Co., cv-02-144.

2. Connecticut: on March 21, the Brennan Center filed a lawsuit against a state law which requires petitioners to be registered voters in the district that their candidate is running in. Also the suit challenges a law on primary ballot access. Campbell v Bysiewicz, 3:02-cv-488. Candidates who live in a one-town district may get on the primary ballot by petition. But if they live in a district with more than one town, they can only enter the primary if they show at least 15% support at a party caucus.

3. Ohio: on March 18, the Libertarian Party filed a new lawsuit to force the state to admit that it is a qualified party. The party already has a case pending in State Supreme Court, but that case is moving too slowly (the primary is in May). Zweber v Montgomery Co. Bd. of Elections, 2002-cv-1418, court of common pleas, Montgomery Co.

4. Pennsylvania: on March 25, the Green Party filed a federal lawsuit against a law requiring petitioners for a district candidate to live in their candidate's district. Morrill v Weaver, 02-cv-1497, e.d.


1. Alaska: the 9th circuit will hold a hearing in Jacobus v State of Alaska, 01-35666, on April 4. The issue is whether a state can ban "soft money" to political parties.

2. Arizona: the State Supreme Court heard arguments in Browne v Bayless, 01-383-PR, on March 21. The issue is the state's mid-June deadline for independent presidential candidate petitions. The hearing seemed to go well for Harry Browne.

3. Illinois: on March 18, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear Tobin for Governor v Illinois State Bd. of Elections, 01-998. The issue was whether election board members have immunity from being sued, for actions they take concerning elections. The case arose in 1998, when the State Elections Board removed the Libertarian gubernatorial candidate from the ballot, even though the Board's staff had recommended that he remain on. The lower court had ruled that Board members could not be sued.

4. Massachusetts: on March 12, the State Supreme Court refused to order the legislature to fund the Public Funding program (beyond funding the two candidates who had already qualified).

5. Montana: on February 26, the State Supreme Court upheld state legislative term limits. Cole v State ex rel Brown, 01-882.

6. New York: on February 11, a U.S. District Court upheld the use of paper ballots to conduct the Green Party primary in 2000. Green Party of N.Y. v Weiner, 00-cv-6639. The party had complained because the larger parties' primaries were held on mechanical voting machines.

7. Ohio: on February 26, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in Watchtower Bible Society v Village of Stratton, 00-1737. The issue is a village ordinance which requires "canvassers, solicitors, peddlers, or hawkers" to register with the Mayor, before ringing any doorbells. The hearing was fraught with confusion; some of the most basic facts about the case were seemingly unresolved. It is difficult to predict what the U.S. Supreme Court will do, but the decision is likely to affect petitioning rights.

8. Washington: U.S. District Court Judge Franklin Burgess has finally given up his prior insistence that a trial be held in Washington State Democratic Party v Munro, 00-5419. He will decide the case any day now. The issue is the validity of the state's blanket primary, in the face of political party opposition to that kind of primary.


The two candidates for president who placed third and fourth in November 2000 have recently written books. Ralph Nader and Pat Buchanan each wrote primarily to express their own ideas about ideology and public policy on a full range of issues.

This article is not a book review; it's just to tell B.A.N. readers what each author, Nader and Buchanan, said about the process of running for president as the nominee of a minor political party.

1. Pat Buchanan's Death of the West, released in February 2002, has 308 pages, but only one sentence about Buchanan's run for president in November 2000: "A hundred times in the campaign of 2000, a voter would come up and say that he or she believed in me and agreed with me, but could not vote for me. These people had to vote for Bush, because only Bush could keep Gore out of the White House, and, 'We Must Stop Gore!'". Here, Buchanan might logically have mentioned the value of Instant-Runoff Voting, but he does not mention it.

Death of the West has 32 pages of policy suggestions. The book advocates that the initiative be implemented in all states that don't already have it. But the book says nothing about presidential debates, nor does it mention ballot access. Buchanan had his troubles with ballot access. Michigan barred him from the November ballot even though the Reform Party was a qualified party in that state. North Carolina's petition drive cost him $250,000. But, the topic of ballot access is completely missing from the book, even though the book hints (on page 224) that he will oppose the Republican Party in the future, if President Bush fails to nominate a pro-life Justice for the next Supreme Court vacancy.

2. Ralph Nader's Crashing the Party, How to Tell the Truth and Still Run for President was published in January 2002. The preface says, "This book is my story of the campaign." Therefore, it is history as well as a discussion of public policy.

This is the best book ever written on the Commission on Presidential Debates. It details the history of Nader's exclusion from the audience in the spill-over auditorium at the Boston debate (Nader had a ticket to sit in the spill-over room, not the actual room in which Bush and Gore were debating). The Commission would have had him arrested, if he had not yielded his ticket. The book also deserves praise for mentioning that Congressmen Ron Paul, Bill McCollum, and James Traficant have all had bills in Congress to address the debates problem.

Nader also writes about ballot access, but this topic clearly is less interesting to him. He fails to mention that in Oklahoma, North Carolina and South Dakota, it was impossible for anyone to vote for him, even by write-in. He says that Louisiana is the only state which permits presidential candidates to qualify for the November ballot by paying a fee; actually Colorado has the same policy. He said he failed to get on the ballot in Idaho because some of his petitions were stolen; actually the petition theft occurred in Wyoming, and even if the theft had not occurred, he still wouldn't have had enough signatures in that state. He over-states the number of ballot access lawsuits he brought, and erroneously says that most of these lawsuits were won.

The book is much stronger when it talks about the media, polls, and debates, and the up's and down's of the campaign. The book's most interesting parts are in the second half.

Nader also ran for president in 1996, but his book only devotes three pages to the 1996 campaign. However, for information about Nader's 1996 campaign, a 142-page book by Linda Martin, Driving Mr. Nader, was published in 2000. It is out of print, but should soon be on-line at The Nader 1996 campaign is notable for Nader's determination to spend less than $5,000, so as to avoid having to file disclosure documents with the Federal Election Campaign. This goal required the campaign to avoid coordinating any activity with Nader, which caused many frustrating and amusing incidents.


Voting at the Political Fault Line, California's Experiment with the Blanket Primary, by Bruce E. Cain and Elisabeth R. Gerber. Published by University of California Press, $22.50 plus $3.75 shipping. California buyers must add sales tax of $1.86., (212)-216-7800. Published in February 2002. 373 pages, paperback.

Voting at the Political Fault Line is the definitive collection of research about California's blanket primary, which was in effect in 1998 and 2000. It has 17 chapters, each by a different author or set of authors. Each author is a political scientist who actually studied the blanket primary. They attempt to answer the questions about blanket primaries... do hostile voters really "raid" the primaries of "enemy" political parties? Do blanket primaries help "moderate" candidates to win primaries?

One group of researchers won the right to examine more than 250,000 actual voted absentee ballots cast in the 1998 primary in Los Angeles County. Thus, it was possible to know what percentage of primary voters "crossed over" and voted in a primary for candidates of another political party.

Although the California blanket primary was held unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court, Washington state still uses a blanket primary (although it is being challenged in court). Students of political parties, and of voting behavior, should own this book.


The Coalition for Free & Open Elections (COFOE) held a board meeting on March 2 in Washington, D.C. New officers are: chair, Steve Dasbach, Libertarian Party; vice-chair, Tom Sevigny, Green Party; secretary, Shaun Richman, Socialist Party; treasurer, Alice Kelsey, Socialist Party. The Board voted to fund a proposed lawsuit against the Oklahoma ballot access laws.


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 20,427 est. #9,800 already on 2,500 0 *450 0 May 18
Arkansas 10,000 #10,000 *3,000 0 0 0 0 May 7
California (reg) 86,212 157,073 already on already on already on already on already on Aug 9
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 0 already on 0 0 Aug 7
Delaware (reg) *257 *5,138 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 *7,600 0 0 0 Aug 5
Hawaii 638 25 finished 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 *500 *100 *0 *0 *0 Jun 24
Indiana no procedure #30,717 already on 0 0 0 0 Jul 15
Iowa no procedure #1,500 *500 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 0 0 0 0 0 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 May 25
Maryland 10,000 est. 26,000 *18,000 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 already on 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 *too late already on already on already on March 1
Missouri 10,000 10,000 already on *1,500 0 0 0 July 29
Montana 5,000 #5,000 already on already on *already on already on already on Mar 14
Nebraska 5,453 2,500 already on 0 0 0 0 Aug 1
Nevada 5,867 5,867 *200 already on already on already on already on July 7
New Hampshire 16,931 #3,000 *1,000 0 0 0 0 Aug 6
New Jersey no procedure #800 *100 *200 0 0 0 July 31
New Mexico 2,994 17,958 *finished 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. 102,000 already on 0 0 0 0 May 17
North Dakota 7,000 4,000 0 0 0 0 0 Apr 5
Ohio 45,753 5,000 in court *0 0 0 *0 May 6
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 *21,028 *100 *1,000 *0 *0 *0 Aug 1
Rhode Island 15,323 #1,000 0 already on 0 0 0 Jul 18
South Carolina 10,000 10,000 already on 0 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 *finished 0 0 0 0 April 4
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 0 Sep 19
Virginia no procedure #10,000 *9,000 0 0 0 0 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 28 21 *14 12 12

"Deadline" is procedure with earliest petition deadline, except where the earliest deadline has already passed. #Candidate procedure allows partisan label. Other nationally-organized parties on statewide are Socialist, Socialist Workers, Southern, & Workers World, in Florida. * -- means a change, compared to March BAN. Greens are finished in Mississippi, but weren't in time for 2002 election.


On February 12, New York held special elections in seven legislative districts. Minor parties had good showings:

1. In the 56th Assembly race in Brooklyn, the Independence Party outpolled the Republican Party, 7.9% to 7.7%.

2. In the 20th Senate race in Brooklyn, the Working Families Party polled 8.20%, the third best legislative showing in the party's history.

3. In the 100th Assembly district, the Green Party polled 6.06%, against two major party opponents.

Overall, the Republican Party polled a higher percentage in these special elections than at the last regular election (in those same districts) in only 3 of the 7 races; the Democratic Party did better in these special elections than in the last election in only 2 of the 7 races.


Maine held a special election for State Senate, 27th district, on March 5. It was the first election at which public financing was in place. Brennan, Democrat, 3,275; Vamvakias, Republican, 3,265; Dawson, independent, 1,083; Fernald, Green, 201; Cenci, Libertarian, 119. In November 2000 the vote was Rep. 13,438; Dem. 7,580.


1. California: On March 5, Norm Vroman was re-elected District Attorney of Mendocino County, California, with 51.9% of the vote. Vroman is a registered Libertarian.

2. Wisconsin: Toni Nelson, a Green Party member, was elected to the Door County, Wisconsin, Board of Supervisors, on February 5.


California's Peace & Freedom Party had 73,105 registered members in late February, up from 69,197 in early February. If it reaches 86,212 by September 2002, it will be qualified for 2004.


For the first time ever in the 27-year history of the law, a minor party candidate for statewide office in Maine has obtained a place on his own party's primary ballot. Jonathan Carter has obtained 2,000 signatures of registered Green Party members, which entitles him to appear on the Green Party's primary ballot. He is running for Governor.

In Maine and Massachusetts, it is more difficult for a qualified minor party to run candidates for statewide office than it is for unqualified minor parties to run. The problem is that both states make it almost impossible for anyone to appear on minor party primary ballots. The primary ballot access laws of both states don't take into consideration the size of the party. In Maine, everyone seeking a spot on a primary ballot for statewide office needs 2,000 signatures. But there are hundreds of thousands of registered Republicans, and of registered Democrats, while qualified minor parties generally only have a few thousand registered members. No one can sign these primary petitions except party members.

Before 1975, Maine law took into account the size of each party. Since 1975, the Libertarian and Reform Parties have also been qualified parties in Maine, but neither of them ever managed to run any statewide candidates.


Ed Thompson, Libertarian candidate for Governor of Wisconsin, is at 7% in a poll by Public Opinion Strategies last month. Thompson is a former Mayor of Tomah, and is the brother of former Republican Governor Tommy Thompson. The probable Republican nominee, Governor Scott McCallum, says he won't debate Thompson.


On February 27, the Scripps Company announced that its TV stations will offer free airtime to candidates who are on the ballot in its viewing areas. Scripps has TV stations in Baltimore, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Detroit, Kansas City, Phoenix, Tampa, Tulsa, and West Palm Beach.

Ballot Access News. is published by and copyright by Richard Winger Note: subscriptions are available!
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Compilation copyright (c) 2002 Bob Bickford