May 5, 2005 Ė Volume 21, Number 1

This issue was originally printed on white paper.

Table of Contents

  1. BALLOT ACCESS PROGRESS IN 15 STATES DURING APRIL
  2. BAD BILL LIKELY TO PASS IN COLORADO
  3. WASHINGTON IRV BILL SIGNED INTO LAW
  4. GOOD BILLS LOSE
  5. LAWSUIT NEWS
  6. IRAQ ELECTION
  7. COFOE MEETING
  8. HELSINKI REPORT
  9. FLORIDA HORROR
  10. HOW TO COMPARE U.S. HOUSE BALLOT ACCESS
  11. 2006 PETITIONING FOR STATEWIDE OFFICE
  12. MINOR PARTIES WIN ELECTIONS
  13. MAINE GREEN GAINS CHAIRMANSHIP
  14. SANDERS TO RUN FOR U.S. SENATE
  15. COMMUNIST PARTY OPPOSES McCAIN-FEINGOLD CAMPAIGN FINANCE LAW
  16. FINAL TOTALS, 2004 MATCHING FUNDS
  17. SUBSCRIBING TO BAN WITH PAYPAL


BALLOT ACCESS PROGRESS IN 15 STATES DURING APRIL

Since the April 1 B.A.N., bills to improve ballot access have advanced in state legislatures in fifteen places:

Alaska: HB94 passed the House Rules Committee on April 26. It lowers the vote test from 3% to 2%, and expands the list of offices for which a party can qualify. The Green and Libertarian Parties both polled over 2% in 2004 for at least one statewide race.

The bill also sets up procedures for independent presidential candidates, which the state has never had.

Unfortunately, the bill makes it slightly more difficult for a party to remain on via registrations. Current law requires registrations equal to 3% of the last vote cast. The bill changes this to 2% of the number of registered voters in the state, which would raise it from 9,258 to (as of now) 9,500. Of course, if a party meets the vote test, it doesnít need to worry about the alternate registration test. The Alaskan Independence Party did not poll as much as 2% in 2004, but it would continue to meet the registration test.

Arizona: SB 1228 passed the House Appropriations Committee on April 6. Among other things, it lowers the number of signatures for a new party from 1.33% of the last vote cast, to 1.33% of the last gubernatorial vote cast. This change makes no difference in presidential years, but in mid-term years it substantially reduces the number of signatures, from 26,835 to 16,348. This provision had been in SB1205, but when that bill stalled, its contents were put into SB1228.

California: AB 43 passed the Assembly on April 12, and SB 1050 passed the Senate on April 11. Both bills legalize write-ins if the voter wrote in the name of a candidate on the write-in space for that office, but forgot to "x" the box next to that line. The bills are not identical, so neither is now through the legislature.

Colorado: HR1147 passed the legislature on April 5. It deletes restrictions on who can circulate a petition. Under the bill, circulators no longer need to be registered voters, but they still need to be state residents. Also, for a petition to place a candidate on a primary ballot, the circulator need not be a member of that party.

Connecticut: on March 31, the Joint Government Administration & Elections Committee passed SB1233, which sets up a procedure for a group to transform itself into a qualified party. The petition would be 1% of the last statewide vote. Connecticut is one of twelve states that have no procedure by which a group can turn itself into a ballot-qualified party, in advance of an election. This bill would take Connecticut off that list.

Dist. of Columbia: on April 22, the Government Operations Committee of the city council held a hearing on bill 16-236. The bill would let candidates get on either the primary ballot, or the general election ballot, without a petition, if they paid a filing fee. The highest fee would be $2,000 for Mayor and Delegate to Congress. The bill applies to all partisan office except president. The committee will vote on the bill in a few days.

Georgia: on March 31, HB 927 was introduced, to lower the number of signatures for district and county office from 5% of the number of registered voters, to 2% of the last vote cast. The bill has 4 Republican co-sponsors and one Democratic co-sponsor. It is too late for this bill to advance this year, but Georgia has two-year legislative sessions and the bill may pass in 2006.

Hawaii: HB119, which eases the law that petition signers put their Social Security numbers on petitions, was signed into law on April 19. The bill doesnít entirely eliminate the requirement, but says only the last four digits of the S.S. number are needed.

Maine: on April 28, the House passed LD329. It makes it easier for a party to remain on the ballot. Currently it must poll 5% for the office at the top of the ticket (President or Governor) at least once every four years. The bill would set up an alternate method for a party to remain on the ballot: registration membership of 1% of the state total. It would also enable a new party to come into existence if it got that many registrants.

Missouri: SB84 passed the Senate on March 30. Currently, if a new party circulates a petition, it must list its candidates for presidential elector on the petition (although it need not list candidates for any other office; those are chosen later at a state convention after the petition is done). The bill would delete the requirement that the candidates for presidential elector be listed. This would increase the flexibility of a new party to decide, after it gets on the ballot, whether it wants to run a presidential candidate.

North Dakota: HB1433 was signed into law on April 12. Among other things, it provides that if a new party polls 5% for Secretary of State or Attorney General in a mid-term year, then it can remain on the ballot. Under current law, no matter how well a new party does in a mid-term election, it cannot retain its qualified status. As a result of North Dakotaís improvement, the only states in which a group cannot now gain qualified status in any even-numbered election year are Indiana, Kentucky, New York and West Virginia.

Oregon: on March 21, Senator Frank Shields introduced SB1015, to provide that write-ins for president should be tallied, if the candidate files a declaration of write-in candidacy. Currently, Oregon permits write-ins, but wonít count them unless the vote-counting equipment suggests that the write-in candidate won the election.

Pennsylvania: on April 21, the Governorís Election Reform Task Force voted 12-0 (with one abstention) to recommend to the legislature that ballot access be eased for minor party and independent candidates. This was the result of lobbying by the Pennsylvania Ballot Access Coalition. It is especially urgent that the legislature ease ballot access, because otherwise statewide petitions in 2006 will require 66,827 valid signatures. Normally the statewide requirement is approximately 25,000. The abrupt increase is due to the accident that no statewide judicial partisan races are being held in 2005. Normally the turnout in those elections is far lower than in even-years. The current law says the petition requirement is 2% of the highest vote-getterís total. With no race in 2005, the 2006 requirement is set by the high-turnout 2004 election of 2004.

Texas: on April 27, the House Elections Committee held a hearing on HB1721, which would eliminate the restriction that primary voters cannot sign petitions for minor parties and independent candidates. Also, HCR44, which would set up a committee to study revision of the whole election code, is expected to provide that all three ballot-qualified parties be represented. With a Libertarian on the committee, it is likely that committee will study ballot access.

West Virginia: SB 669 passed the legislature on April 9. It deletes the obsolete language that says circulators must tell people that if they sign the petition, they canít vote in the primary.


BAD BILL LIKELY TO PASS IN COLORADO

SB 206, proposed by the Secretary of State, contains many election law changes. Among them is a provision that would move the independent presidential deadline from July to June. The bill passed the Senate on April 26. The bill does not change the deadline for qualified minor parties to choose their presidential candidates, so it is discriminatory and perhaps unconstitutional.


WASHINGTON IRV BILL SIGNED INTO LAW

HB 1447, which would let certain cities use Instant-Runoff voting, was signed into law on April 22. Vancouver will probably be the first.


GOOD BILLS LOSE

Arkansas: on April 7, the Arkansas Senate Committee on Government Affairs defeated SB 1112, which would have codified the 1996 decision of a federal court, saying that new parties only need 10,000 signatures, not 3% of the last gubernatorial vote. Even though the state lost that 1996 case (called Citizens to Establish a Reform Party v Priest) and did not appeal, state officials seem to think they can ignore the decision.

Tennessee: on April 27, HB1776 was defeated in the House Elections Subcommittee. It would have let candidates who use the independent procedure choose a partisan label, to be printed on the November ballot. An identical bill, SB1327, is still alive in the Senate. In Tennessee, minor party candidates always use the independent procedure, because the new party procedure is so difficult.


LAWSUIT NEWS

Alaska: on April 22, a lower state court upheld the old definition of "political party", one that either polled 3% for Governor, or has registration of 3% of the gubernatorial vote. Green Party of Alaska v State, 3AN-03-9936. If the legislature passes HB94, this case will be moot; otherwise the Green Party will appeal to the State Supreme Court.

Alaska (2): on April 15, the State Supreme Court explained why it removed the Republican Moderate Party from the November 2004 ballot just before the election. The lower court had put the party on the ballot, but the State Supreme Court had then removed it. The State Supreme Court said that it is rational for qualified parties to have more difficult ballot access requirements than independent candidates. State of Alaska v Metcalfe, S-11618.

Florida: on April 12, the 11th circuit upheld the stateís ban on ex-felon voting. Johnson v Bush, 02-14469. This case had won back on December 11, 2003, but then the full circuit held an en banc rehearing.

Iowa: the ACLU will soon sue the state over the voter registration forms, which force all voters to register "Democratic", "Republican" or "no party".

Montana: on March 28, a U.S. District Court invalidated the stateís county distribution requirement for initiative petitions. Montana PIRG v Brown, cv-03-183.

North Carolina: on April 8, a U.S. District Court refused to strike down a law passed earlier this year, legalizing the casting of provisional ballots outside the voterís home precinct. The 2004 Republican nominee for State School Superintendent had filed the case, arguing that the 2005 law could not be applied retroactively in his race, which still isnít settled. But federal judge Terrence Boyle said the state courts should decide the issue. Kindley v Bartlett, 5:05-cv-177-B.

Ohio: on April 1, a federal lawsuit was filed to overturn the new law that makes it illegal to pay circulators per signature. Citizens for Tax Reform v Deters, 05-cv-212, s.d.

Oregon: earlier the U.S. Supreme Court asked the state to respond to Ralph Naderís ballot access lawsuit. The state did so on April 19. The Court will probably decide in two weeks whether to hear the case. The issue is whether the state can manufacture new rules for petition format, after the petition has been turned in. Kucera v Bradbury, 04-872.

Virginia: on April 15, a unit of the Republican Party (the 11th State Senate Committee) filed a federal lawsuit to enforce its bylaw, which says that people who voted in the Democratic primary at any time in the last five years may not vote in the Republican primary. Virginia does not have registration by party, so any voter can vote in any partyís primary. Miller v Brown, 3:05-cv-266. The case was assigned to Judge Richard Williams, a Carter appointee.


IRAQ ELECTION

The March 1 B.A.N. carried an Iraqi ballot, and promised to discuss that election in a subsequent issue.

As the ballot showed, Iraqi voters faced 111 choices. The ballot listed 111 parties. No candidatesí names were printed on the ballot; each party had already chosen its candidates, and had submitted them to elections officials, but their names were not on the ballot. The Iraq election was to fill 275 seats in the National Assembly, by proportional representation. If a party polled just one vote out of every 275 votes cast (.36%), then it was entitled to one seat.

One might have thought that, with those rules, the vote would have produced perhaps a dozen leading parties, all approximately equal in strength. But, that is not what happened. Instead, surprisingly, the distribution of votes was very similar to the California gubernatorial recall election of 2003.

The California election had 135 choices for Governor. The candidate who placed first would win, even if he or she only polled a fragment of the total vote. Yet the California election (winner-take-all) and the Iraqi election (proportional representation) both yielded a somewhat similar distribution of the vote.

-

IRAQ

CALIF.

#1 choice

48.19%

48.58%

#2 choice

25.73%

31.47%

#3 choice

13.82%

13.41%

Top 10%

94.38%

98.04%

Top 20%

96.75%

98.72%

Top 30%

97.69%

99.06%

Top 40%

98.37%

99.33%

Top 50%

98.87%

99.52%

Top 60%

99.27%

99.68%

Top 70%

99.53%

99.79%

Top 80%

99.73%

99.89%

Top 90%

99.90%

99.95%

Bottom choice

.004%

.002%

Some U.S. ballot access decisions have declared that it is obvious that very crowded ballots threaten the ability of voters to function. In Lubin v Panish, 415 U.S. 709 (1974), the U.S. Supreme Court said, "That Ďlaundry listí ballots discourage voter participation and confuse and frustrate those who do participate is too obvious to call for extended discussion. The fundamental importance of ballots of reasonable size limited to serious candidates is not. Rational results within the framework of our system are not likely to be reached if the ballot for a single office must list a dozen or more aspirants."

In Nader v Keith, 385 F.3d 729 (2004), the 7th circuit wrote, "Terminal voter confusion might ensue from having a multiplicity of Presidential candidates on the ballot."

Those courts were wrong. Both the California recall election, and the Iraq election, had general public satisfaction with the process. Turnout was high for both elections. Faced with over 100 choices in each case, the vast majority of voters concentrated their votes on the most prominent campaigns. In each election, over seven-eighths of the voters voted for one of the top three contenders. A huge field of candidates does not splinter the vote hopelessly, and does not cause voter confusion.

Another interesting coincidence between the Iraq and California elections is the similarity of the number of voters. California recorded 8,657,820 votes for the 135 candidates on the ballot, whereas Iraq reported 8,456,266 for the 111 parties on the ballot.


COFOE MEETING

The Coalition for Free & Open Elections (COFOE) held its annual Board meeting on April 3 in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Arrangements were made for a COFOE web page and a COFOE post office box. B.A.N. will report on the web address when it exists. The new chair of COFOE is Tom McLaughlin. The minutes will be on the COFOE web page when it comes into existence.


HELSINKI REPORT

On March 31, the organization that enforces the Helsinki Accords put out its report on the U.S. 2004 election. It mentioned all our problems, including restrictive ballot access, but seemed too timid to say that the U.S. is violating the Helsinki Accords. The only exception was the reportís conclusion that the U.S. violates the Accords by excluding international observers in most states.


FLORIDA HORROR

On April 26, the Florida House passed HB 1471, which encompasses virtually every idea one can imagine to make it difficult for a group to circulate a petition. The bill only applies to initiatives, which need about 600,000 valid signatures. The House vote was 96-22.

The bill makes it illegal for anyone to pay circulators on the basis of how many signatures are collected, either "directly or indirectly". This would outlaw giving circulators a work performance bonus. Circulators would be required to wear buttons saying "Paid petition circulator". The petition would say how much the circulator is being paid, and tell people that they may take home a blank petition form if they wish. The bill says that no private property owner is required to permit petitioning on his or her property (this contradicts a Florida State Court of Appeals ruling that shopping centers must permit petitioning). The petition must show the name of any organization that has influenced the circulator to carry the petition, whether the circulator is being paid or not.

The bill requires signers to list either their voter registration affidavit number, or their birthday, on the petition. Circulators must complete an affidavit with the amount of their pay, their voter registration affidavit number or a copy of a government-issued photo I.D. Finally, the bill outlaws using random sampling for checking such petitions. The bill, if passed, takes effect August 1, 2005.


HOW TO COMPARE U.S. HOUSE BALLOT ACCESS

The March 1 B.A.N. compared the states on how easy it is for minor party and independent presidential candidates to get on the ballot. The April 1 B.A.N. compared the states on how easy it is for a group to be a qualified party. This chart compares them on how easy it is for a new party to get a full slate of U.S. House candidates on the November ballot.

The chart in the middle column tells the average number of candidates on the November ballot for U.S. House in each state (including the Democratic and Republican nominees), for the period 1980-2004. The states are ordered with the most lenient at the top, and the most restrictive at the bottom. Florida, Georgia, Arkansas and West Virginia have offered voters the fewest choices. The average U.S. House contest in those two states, during the last 25 years, has offered voters fewer than two choices on the ballot! Obviously when there are fewer than two choices, the voter has no choice at all. One listing on a ballot means no choice (except for write-ins).

Although Florida eased ballot access for minor parties and independent candidates in 1998, the filing fees remain so high that few such candidates qualify, even though no petition is required. The filing fee is $9,486.

Some states have changed their laws since 1981, so the chart should not be taken as a rating of the states as they are today.

The chart in the right column shows the percentage of signatures (or, in a few states, the number of registrants) for a new party to place a full slate of nominees for U.S. House on the November ballot. The percentage shows the number of signatures (or registrants, or votes in a primary) needed, divided by the number of registered voters. Washington is the worst, since candidates need approximately 30% support from the voters (measured by primary votes) in order to get on the November ballot. This is because the voters passed the "top-two" initiative last year.

HOUSE CANDIDATES ON

Vermont

4.77

New Jersey

4.13

Nevada

3.74

Utah

3.61

Montana

3.50

Delaware

3.46

Michigan

3.40

Alaska

3.15

Hawaii

3.04

California

2.99

New Hampshire

2.96

Louisiana

2.93

North Dakota

2.92

Colorado

2.87

Connecticut

2.87

Wyoming

2.85

Missouri

2.84

New York

2.79

Oregon

2.78

Tennessee

2.76

Minnesota

2.75

Arizona

2.73

Rhode Island

2.73

Mississippi

2.73

Iowa

2.69

South Dakota

2.64

Indiana

2.62

Idaho

2.54

Kansas

2.50

Texas

2.49

South Carolina

2.49

North Carolina

2.47

Washington

2.45

Alabama

2.45

Maine

2.38

Wisconsin

2.37

Ohio

2.35

Nebraska

2.31

Pennsylvania

2.31

Oklahoma

2.30

Kentucky

2.27

New Mexico

2.18

Illinois

2.14

Maryland

2.11

Virginia

2.09

Massachusetts

2.01

West Virginia

1.93

Arkansas

1.92

Georgia

1.80

Florida

1.77

 
SIGNATURES NEEDED (%)

Mississippi

.00%

Florida

.00%

Louisiana

.00%

Oklahoma

.00%

Vermont

.00+%

Tennessee

.01%

New Jersey

.03%

Colorado

.03%

Nevada

.03%

Delaware

(reg.) .05%

Utah

.07%

Iowa

.08%

Kentucky

.09%

Hawaii

.10%

Texas

.12%

Idaho

.13%

Rhode Island

.15%

Wisconsin

.20%

North Dakota

.21%

Missouri

.24%

Virginia

.27%

Minnesota

.28%

Maryland

.34%

New Hampshire

.35%

Ohio

.40%

Nebraska

.41%

Maine

.42%

South Carolina

.43%

Michigan

.44%

California

.47%

Massachusetts

.48%

Arkansas

.59%

Alaska

.66%

South Dakota

.67%

Indiana

.69%

Connecticut

.70%

Montana

.78%

New York

.86%

Pennsylvania

.88%

Oregon

.91%

Kansas

.99%

Arizona

1.02%

New Mexico

1.02%

West Virginia

1.23%

North Carolina

1.26%

Alabama

1.44%

Wyoming

2.05%

Illinois

3.33%

Georgia

5.00%

Washington

approx. 30.00%



2006 PETITIONING FOR STATEWIDE OFFICE

STATE
REQUIREMENTS
SIGNATURES COLLECTED
Deadline
FULL PARTY
CAND
LIB'T
GREEN
CONSTI
NAT LAW
REFORM

Alabama

41,012

41,012

1,200

0

0

0

0

in court

Alaska

(reg) 9,258

#3,128

*already on

in court

0

0

0

Aug. 22

Ariz.

26,835

est. #20,000

already on

0

0

0

0

June 14

Arkansas

10,000

10,000

0

0

0

0

0

May 1

Calif.

(reg) 77,389

165,573

already on

already on

already on

already on

*39,328

Aug. 11

Colorado

(reg) 1,000

#1,000

already on

already on

already on

534

337

July 10

Connecticut

no procedure

#7,500

already on

0

already on

0

0

Aug. 11

Delaware

est. (reg) 280

est. 5,600

already on

already on

already on

257

211

July 15

D.C.

no procedure

est. #3,800

can't start

already on

can't start

can't start

can't start

Aug. 30

Florida

be organized

pay fee

already on

already on

already on

already on

already on

July 18

Georgia

42,676

#42,676

already on

0

0

0

0

July 11

Hawaii

648

25

already on

already on

0

already on

0

July 25

Idaho

11,968

5,984

already on

0

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

#29,553

already on

*1,500

0

0

0

June 30

Iowa

no procedure

#1,500

0

0

0

0

0

Aug. 18

Kansas

16,477

5,000

already on

0

0

0

already on

July 31

Kentucky

no procedure

#2,400

0

0

0

0

0

Aug. 8

La.

(reg) 1,000

pay fee

already on

870

50

23

virtually on

Sep. 7

Maine

24,798

#4,000

0

already on

0

0

0

May 25

Maryland

10,000

est. 29,400

already on

already on

already on

0

0

Aug. 7

Mass.

est. (reg) 41,000

#10,000

23,900

9,509

56

44

1,168

Aug. 1

Michigan

31,731

31,731

already on

already on

already on

already on

0

July 20

Minnesota

141,420

#2,000

0

0

0

0

0

July 18

Mississippi

be organized

1,000

already on

already on

already on

already on

already on

April 7

Missouri

10,000

10,000

already on

0

0

0

0

July 31

Montana

5,000

#5,000

already on

0

*300

0

0

May 30

Nebraska

4,735

2,500

300

*2,800

0

0

0

Aug. 29

Nevada

7,915

7,915

already on

0

already on

0

0

July 7

New Hamp.

20,299

#3,000

0

0

0

0

0

Aug. 9

New Jersey

no procedure

#800

0

0

0

0

0

June 6

New Mex.

3,782

14,079

already on

already on

already on

0

0

July 11

New York

no procedure

#15,000

can't start

can't start

can't start

can't start

can't start

Aug. 22

No. Car.

69,734

law is void

*25,000

8,900

0

0

0

June 30

No. Dakota

7,000

1,000

0

0

0

0

0

Sep. 8

Ohio

56,280

5,000

in court

0

0

0

0

May 1

Oklahoma

73,188

pay fee

in court

0

0

0

0

June 21

Oregon

18,381

18,356

already on

already on

already on

0

0

Aug. 29

Penn.

no procedure

*66,827

can't start

can't start

can't start

can't start

can't start

Aug. 1

Rhode Isl.

21,815

#1,000

can't start

canít start

can't start

can't start

can't start

July 20

So. Caro.

10,000

10,000

already on

already on

already on

0

already on

July 15

So. Dakota

8,364

#3,346

already on

0

already on

0

0

June 20

Tennessee

41,314

25

0

0

0

0

0

April 6

Texas

45,253

45,253

already on

can't start

can't start

can't start

can't start

May 11

Utah

2,000

#1,000

already on

*500

already on

0

0

Mar. 17

Vermont

be organized

#1,000

already on

already on

0

0

0

Sep. 21

Virginia

no procedure

#10,000

can't start

can't start

can't start

can't start

can't start

June 13

Washington

no procedure

law is unclear

canít start

can't start

can't start

can't start

can't start

July 7

West Va.

no procedure

#8,724

0

0

0

0

0

May 8

Wisconsin

10,000

#2,000

already on

already on

already on

0

0

July 11

Wyoming

4,774

4,774

already on

0

0

0

0

Aug. 28

TOTAL STATES ON
*28
15
16
6
4
-

Three states (Ky., La., N.C.) have no statewide partisan races up in 2006, so the chart shows the requirements for a party to run a full slate for U.S. House.
*means a change since the Apr. 1, 2005 chart.
#means partisan label is permitted (other than "indp.").


MINOR PARTIES WIN ELECTIONS

During March and April, minor party members won these non-partisan elections:

Green Party: Anna Lempart to the Champaign-Ford Regional Board of School Trustees, Illinois; Scott Summers to the McHenry Co. College Bd. of Trustees, Illinois; Peter Karas to the Racine, Wisconsin Board of Aldermen; and re-elected three Aldermen in Madison, Wisconsin (Austin King, Brian Benford and Brenda Konkel).

Libertarian Party: Ed Thompson to the Tomah, Wisconsin city council; Donald Carlson, Greenfield, Wisconsin city council; Dennis Kenealy, Erin, Wisconsin city council; Don Merkes, Menasha, Wisconsin alderman; Patricia Stanislawski, Dexter, Wisconsin city council; Don Gorman to the Deerfield, N.H., School Board; Dawn Lincoln to the Budget Committee in Winchester, N.H.; Bill Campbell to the Winchester, N.H. School Board; Karen Pratt to the Goffstown, N.H. School Board; Rosalie Babiarz, Supervisor of the Checklist of Grafton, N.H.; Mike Pellitier, Supervisor of the Checklist in Merrimack, N.H.; Julie Fox, Library Board, Dundee, Ill.; Chris Jenner, School Board, Cary, Ill.; Greg Cryns, Library Board, Richmond, Ill.


MAINE GREEN GAINS CHAIRMANSHIP

Representative John Eder, the elected Green in the Maine legislature, recently became chair of a legislative committee, the Task Force for a Creative Economy. Democrats control the Maine House, and would not normally have made Eder chair of any committee. However, they needed his vote to pass their budget on the House floor, since two Democrats refused to vote for it.


SANDERS TO RUN FOR U.S. SENATE

Vermontís U.S. House member, Bernie Sanders, will run as an independent candidate for the U.S. Senate in 2006. Democrats will not run anyone prominent against him. No one has been elected to the U.S. Senate as an independent since 1976, when U.S. Senator Harry F. Byrd, Jr., was re-elected as an independent from Virginia.


COMMUNIST PARTY OPPOSES McCAIN-FEINGOLD CAMPAIGN FINANCE LAW

In 2002, Congress passed the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law. Although generally Democrats voted for it and Republicans voted against it, many Democratic interest groups opposed the law and are even more opposed to it now, given their experience in the 2004 campaign.

The January 22-28, 2005 issue of the Peopleís Weekly World (Communist Party newspaper) explains how the act hurt a Democratic congressional candidate last year. It says, "A case study of how the law weakens progressive campaigns is the Frank Barbaro for Congress campaign in Brooklyn and Staten Island, N.YÖThe Barbaro campaign was initiated by labor. While election law allows unions to do political activity amongst their membership, anything outside of that is considered a campaign contribution. Also, it is illegal for unions, political parties, and campaign committees to coordinate. For example, while the campaign and labor unions may all have their own phone banking operations, the two entities are banned from sharing their lists to avoid calling some people three or four times and missing other people entirelyÖIn effect, at least three separate campaigns were run, barred by law from coordinating with each other, the Barbaro campaign itself, the Working Families Party, and the vast armies of labor. With their resources pooled, this could have been an invincible coalition. But because of current election laws, it was fragmented and redundant."


FINAL TOTALS, 2004 MATCHING FUNDS

On February 24, the FEC made its final award of primary season matching funds for 2004. Ralph Nader, the only non-major party candidate who applied, received a total for 2004 of $891,028. In 2000 he had received $664,151.

Others who received primary season funds in 2004 are: Wesley Clark $7,615,360; John Edwards $6,654,161; Joseph Lieberman $4,267,797; Richard Gephardt $4,104,320; Dennis Kucinich $3,291,963; and Lyndon LaRouche $1,456,019.


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