April 1, 2007 Ė Volume 22, Number 12

This issue was originally printed on white paper.

Table of Contents

  1. ILLINOIS SENATE PASSES BALLOT ACCESS REFORM BILL
  2. HIGH COURT TAKES "TOP-TWO" CASE
  3. MINNESOTA MAY MAKE BALLOT ACCESS WORSE
  4. ANTI-ELECTORAL COLLEGE BILLS
  5. IRV BILLS
  6. BALLOT ACCESS BILLS
  7. PRIMARY DATE MANIA
  8. FUSION BILLS
  9. ELECTION-DAY REGISTRATION BILLS
  10. STRAIGHT-TICKET DEVICES
  11. WRITE-INS
  12. ALL-MAIL ELECTIONS
  13. CONGRESS
  14. LAWSUIT NEWS
  15. WILLIAM K. SHEARER 1931-2007
  16. 2008 PETITIONING FOR PRESIDENT
  17. CONSTITUTION PARTY RIFT MAY HEAL
  18. UNITY08 RULES
  19. REFORM PARTY LOSES TO FEC
  20. QUEBEC ELECTION
  21. EUROPE CRITICIZES PENNSYLVANIA
  22. MAINE GREEN PARTY REGISTRATION
  23. SUBSCRIBING TO BAN WITH PAYPAL


ILLINOIS SENATE PASSES BALLOT ACCESS REFORM BILL

On March 30, the Illinois Senate unanimously passed SB 733, to lower the number of signatures for independent candidates, and for the nominees of unqualified parties. It also improves the independent candidate deadline.

The bill sets the number of signatures so that they match the number that a member of a qualified party needs to get on a primary ballot. For independent and minor party statewide nominees, this means the number of signatures would drop from 25,000 to 5,000. For U.S. House, it would drop from 5% of the last vote cast (typically, 12,000 signatures) to approximately 1,000. For State Senate, it would drop from about 4,000 to about 300. For State House, from about 2,000 to about 150.

The formula for the number of signatures needed for a candidate seeking a place on a primary ballot is one-half of 1% of that partyís vote in the last presidential election, for that partyís leading vote-getting candidate for statewide office. Thus, the number of signatures needed by a Democrat is different than the number needed by a Republican. Therefore, SB 733 says that the number of signatures needed by an independent or unqualified party nominee is equal to the bigger primary requirement (whether itís the Republican requirement or the Democratic requirement, for that district).

Although that formula is complicated, it is fair and sensible. The purpose of ballot access laws is to keep ballots from being crowded. Illinois primary ballots arenít crowded. For example, for Governor in 2006, two candidates were on the Democratic primary ballot, and five were on the Republican ballot. Therefore, it makes sense to apply the primary formula to the general election as well. The bill now goes to the House Elections Committee.

There are two reasons why the State Senate passed this bill. First, last year the 7th circuit struck down the number of signatures needed for independent candidates for legislature. Since the law had to be changed to accommodate that decision anyway, it became easier to persuade the legislature to take the issue seriously.

Also, since the Illinois Green Party polled enough votes in 2006 to become a fully-qualified party for 2008 and 2010, the major parties know that there will be many Greens on the ballot anyway, so the presence of other minor parties seems less scary.

If the bill passes, Alabama and Georgia will be the only states in the nation which have no means for minor party candidates to get on the ballot for U.S. House, except by completing a petition harder than 2% of the last vote cast. Although Oklahoma has a very severe petition for new parties, Oklahoma lets independent candidates on the ballot for Congress with no petition at all, just a filing fee.


HIGH COURT TAKES "TOP-TWO" CASE

On February 28, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear Washington v Washington Republican Party, 06-730. The issue is whether a state can impose a "top-two" primary and print party labels on the ballot. A "top-two" primary is one in which every voter gets the same primary ballot. All candidates for the same office appear on that ballot, and only the top two vote-getters go on the November ballot.

The 9th circuit had said that if a state wants to use an election system like that, it cannot print party labels on the ballot, since the labels mislead voters into thinking that the party labels mean the candidates with such labels represent the party.


MINNESOTA MAY MAKE BALLOT ACCESS WORSE

The Minnesota petition requirement for a group to transform itself into a qualified party is already so severe, it has existed unchanged since 1913 and never been used on a statewide level. Yet Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie is asking the legislature to make it harder.

The Minnesota petition to create a new ballot-qualified party requires the signatures of 5% of the last vote cast. That is now 110,150 signatures, more than any other state requires. However, under current law, a group can start collecting signatures as early as it wishes, and the petition isnít due until July 15 of an election year.

SF1298 and HF1110 would move the deadline from July 15 to May 19. The bills would also ban circulating that petition in an odd year.

Generally, the Minnesota legislature is friendly to minor parties, and a copy of this newsletter is being sent to each Minnesota legislator, in the hopes that someone will try to amend the bill to require fewer signatures. Minnesota is in the 8th circuit. In 1980, the 8th circuit struck down North Dakotaís old party petition law, on the grounds that it had existed since 1939 and had only been used successfully once. That old North Dakota party petition required 15,000 signatures, which was 3.3% of the eligible signers. The 1980 case was called McLain v Meier, 637 F.2d 1159. At the time, North Dakota had easy independent candidate petition requirements.

Only three states, Rhode Island, Texas, and Wisconsin, make it illegal for a petition for that purpose (to create a new ballot-qualified party) to circulate in an odd year.


ANTI-ELECTORAL COLLEGE BILLS

On March 28, the Maryland Senate passed SB634, the "National Popular Vote Plan" for presidential elections. Since the Governor has already said he will sign it, Maryland will become the first state to pass the compact if the House passes it. On March 30, the House passed the identical bill (HB 148) on second reading. The House is expected to pass it on third reading on April 2.

The compact wonít go into effect until states holding a majority of the electoral vote join. At that time, these states would pledge to appoint candidates for presidential elector who are pledged to the presidential candidate who polled the most popular votes in the entire nation.

The California legislature had passed the compact in 2006, but the Governor had vetoed it.

In Arkansas, the plan passed in the House on March 19 (HB1703).


IRV BILLS

Arkansas: on March 9, the Governor signed HB 1509, which expands Instant-Runoff voting. The state already let overseas military voters use it, in primaries. The bill adds civilian voters overseas.

California: on March 30, the League of California Cities endorsed AB 1294, the bill to let all cities and counties decide for themselves if they wish to use IRV to elect their own officers. The Assembly Elections Committee will hear AB 1294 on April 17.

Oregon: on March 26, the Oregon House Elections Committee passed HB 2761. It lets any city or county use IRV to elect their own officers.

Vermont: on Senate Government Operations Committee will hold another hearing on SB108 on April 5 or April 6. This is the bill that would use IRV for one statewide office. The Committee is expected to choose the U.S. House race for that purpose, and to pass the bill.


BALLOT ACCESS BILLS

Arizona: SB1430 moves the primary from mid-September to early September. Because Arizona ties the independent petition deadline to the same day that primary candidates file, the bill indirectly makes the independent deadline earlier. It would go from mid-June to either late May or early June, depending on that yearís calendar. Arizona already has the 2nd earliest presidential independent deadline. Attempts are being made to persuade the sponsor, Senator Karen Johnson, to amend the bill so that it doesnít make the independent deadline any worse. The bill has already passed the Senate and the House Committees.

Arkansas: the legislature has passed two ballot access bills. HB2367 sets up procedures for independent presidential candidates. They would need 1,000 signatures. Arkansas has never before had statutory procedures for independent presidential candidates.

The other bill, HB2353, lowers the number of signatures for a new party from 3% of the last gubernatorial vote (now 24,171 signatures) to 10,000. It also says the circulator need not sign such petitions, so blank petitions can be left in public places, unattended. But the bill also shrinks the petitioning period from any 150-day period of the partyís choice, to any 60-day period. And it removes the provision that allows a party to supplement the petition if the original petition falls short.

Colorado: SB 83 would remove restrictions on who can circulate a petition. It would also permit qualified minor parties to nominate someone even if he or she had not been a member of that party for a full year before the nomination. The bill passed second reading in the Senate on March 30. It also let parolees register to vote.

Missouri: SB 409 would require independent candidates to file a declaration of candidacy in March. HB 894 requires independent candidate petitions to be submitted in March.

Even though Missouriís old April petition deadline was held unconstitutional in federal court in 1976, HB 894 passed the House Rules Committee on March 12 and is likely to be voted on in the House very soon.

Montana: SB 96 moves the petition deadline for independent candidates, and for the nominees of unqualified parties (excluding presidential candidates), from June to March. It has already passed the Senate, and it passed the House Elections Committee on March 28. Each member of that committee received a letter from B.A.N. saying that an identical deadline had been struck down by a lower Montana state court in 1990. However, the letter seemed to have had no effect. The bill will receive a vote in the House soon.

New Mexico: on March 16, the legislature passed HB 1155. It moves the petition deadline for minor party nominees from mid-July to late June. The Governor hasnít signed the bill yet. Meanwhile, the lawsuit against the very need for such petitions is pending in the 10th circuit.

Ohio: no bill has been introduced in the legislature to replace the old law for minor party access. That old law was declared unconstitutional last year. The Secretary of State is working on drafting an emergency regulation, to be used in the interim.

Tennessee: SB 288 and HB 626 would set up a two-tier system of qualified parties. Qualified minor parties would be those that submitted 2,500 signatures; they would then nominate by convention. These bills have a hearing on April 3.

Texas: HB 2280 would eliminate the law that makes it illegal for primary voters to sign an independent or new party petition. It has a hearing in the House Elections Committee on April 4. Only three witnesses are allowed to testify for it.

West Virginia: HB 3144 would have improved the petition deadline for non-presidential minor party and independent candidates. The bill failed to move, and the legislature has now adjourned.


PRIMARY DATE MANIA

The March 1 B.A.N. said that bills were pending in 15 states to move presidential primaries to February date. Since then, similar bills have been introduced in four more states, Alabama, Connecticut, Maryland, and New York. The California bill has already been signed into law, and the New York bill has already passed the legislature. Similar bills are coming soon in more states.


FUSION BILLS

Maine: House Majority Leader Hannah Pingree has introduced a bill to legalize fusion. It doesnít have a bill number yet.

Maryland: SB 545, which would have legalized fusion, failed to pass.

New Mexico: HB 1269, which would have legalized fusion, failed to make any headway and the legislature has now adjourned.

Oregon: The House Rules, Redistricting and Public Affairs Committee heard HB 3040 on March 28. This bill legalizes fusion. Many witnesses testified in favor. The committee will vote in early April.

South Carolina: H3230, which would ban fusion, has not made any headway since it was introduced in January.


ELECTION-DAY REGISTRATION BILLS

Connecticut: on March 28, the Joint Government Administration & Elections Committee passed HB 6251, a bill to let voters register at the polls on election day.

Iowa: on March 27, the legislature passed HF399, to let voters register at the polls on election day.

Massachusetts: SB 446 and its companion bill in the House have 40 co-sponsors. They legalize election-day registration.

North Carolina: on March 28, the House passed H91 on second reading. It allows people to register as late as the Saturday before election day, at sites used for Early Voting.


STRAIGHT-TICKET DEVICES

On March 27, the New Hampshire legislature passed SB 36, which bans straight-ticket devices. This is good news for ballot access. A bill to ease the definition of "party", HB 48, is now more likely to pass. This is because New Hampshireís Secretary of State had testified that he has no objection to easing the definition of "party" if the straight-ticket bill should pass.

The only bills (in other states) to ban straight-ticket devices that have made any headway are in Oklahoma and Rhode Island. One of the Oklahoma bills, SB 16, passed the Senate Elections Committee on February 19. One of the Rhode Island bills, HB5508, had a hearing in the House Committee on March 30.


WRITE-INS

Alabama: SB69 and HB332 would require write-in candidates who want their write-ins counted to file a write-in declaration of candidacy 90 days before an election.

California: SB 439, introduced by the Senator Ron Calderon, Chair of the Senate Elections Committee, would legalize write-ins at instances when the voter forgets to "X" the box next to the name he or she had just written in. The Governor vetoed a similar law last year.


ALL-MAIL ELECTIONS

On March 5, the Governor of North Dakota signed SB 2230. It lets any county use all-mail voting for any general election as well as any primary.


CONGRESS

On March 14, U.S. House member Sander Levin (D-Mich.) introduced HR 1523. It would divide the U.S. into six regions for purposes of setting dates for presidential primaries. A lottery would be held in the year before a presidential election to match each region with a particular presidential primary day.


LAWSUIT NEWS

Alabama: the 11th circuit heard Swanson v Alabama Secretary of State on March 20. The issue is the 3% petition for new parties, and for non-presidential independent candidates; and also the early deadline. Two of the three judges seemed sympathetic, and all of them had read the briefs carefully. One judge virtually said that the lower court had not done a good job of analyzing the combined burden of the early deadline and the high number of signatures. Another judge raised the point that since Alabama only requires 5,000 signatures for independent presidential candidates, why should other statewide independents, and new parties, need 37,513 signatures?

Guam: one of the leading election law firms in the nation, Jenner & Block, is representing the Democratic candidate for Governor of Guam, in an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. The case is Underwood v Camacho, 06-1268. Federal law says no one can be elected Governor of Guam without receiving a majority. In the November 2006 election, only two candidates were on the ballot. The vote was Republican 19,552; Democratic 18,688; write-ins 668; overvotes 504. The Guam Supreme Court ruled that the Republican received a majority. This conclusion was only possible by treating the overvotes as though they didnít exist. The appeal argues that overvotes may be invalid, but they are still "votes cast."

Mississippi: on March 22, George Dale sued the Democratic Party to gain a place on the primary ballot. Dale has been the Insurance Commissioner since 1975, and he has always run as a Democrat. The primary is in August 2007. The party wouldnít print his name on the primary ballot because he endorsed President Bush for re-election in 2004. Dale argues in state court that the party has no authority to reject him. Dale v Mississippi Democratic Party, 7th cir., 251-07-268.


WILLIAM K. SHEARER 1931-2007

William Shearer died on March 3, 2007. More than anyone else, he changed California from a state that was hostile toward minor parties, to a state that is better than most. He was age 76.

California had traditionally been hostile to minor parties. In the 1890ís, California had the 2nd most strict law in the nation on a percentage basis. In 1892, a new party could get on the ballot in all states with 38,601 signatures, and 12,115 of those were required in California. Ohio required 7,957. No other state required more than 3,000.

California became more hostile in the 1930ís. In 1931, the independent candidate petition was raised from 1% to 5% of the last vote cast, and no one could sign who had voted in a primary. Only 25 days were permitted for petitioning. In 1937 the California party petition was raised to 10% of the last gubernatorial vote. For 1938, that was 236,100 signatures, more than all other states put together. A new party could also get on the ballot if it persuaded 1% of the last gubernatorial vote to join the party. But that method was almost impossible. Back then, no one could change parties except by appearing in front of a Deputy Registrar of Voters, and Deputy Registrars of Voters were not permitted to influence the voterís choice of party.

In 1967, George Wallace of Alabama spent $500,000 on a registration drive to qualify his American Independent Party in California. Shearer was attracted to the Wallace campaign, and took a leadership role in the California AIP. It was an interest he never lost. For the rest of his life, he fought to keep the party alive and well. He also worked effectively to build a national party to match the politics of the California AIP, so that the AIP was almost always the California branch of a nationally-organized party, not just a party that existed only in one state.

In 1969, the Republicans had control of the California legislature, and a Republican Assemblyman, Paul Priolo, introduced a bill to eliminate parties from the ballot unless they had registration of 1% of the number of registered voters in the state. Shearer relied on his own prior experience as a legislative staffer to help defeat that bill.

In a special congressional election in Tennessee in 1969, Wallace campaigned hard for the AIP candidate for Congress. Even though Wallace had carried western Tennessee in November 1968, his partyís candidate for Congress, State Senator W. J. Davis, only polled 23% in a three-way race. This outcome persuaded Wallace that there was no point in building the AIP.

However, even though Wallace lost interest in the AIP, he still wanted to control it. Shearer had a different idea. Shearer was dedicated to building a new permanent conservative third party. When Shearer learned that Wallace wanted to keep the AIP inactive, he broke with Wallace, and the two struggled for control of the California AIP. Control of the party depended on which side could win more State Central Committee members.

The partyís nominees for partisan public office were each permitted to choose three members of the State Central Committee. So, each side recruited as many candidates as possible to run for public office in the California AIP primary. This led to a record-breaking 139 candidates in the AIP primary (California only had 149 partisan offices up that year). Shearer himself won the partyís gubernatorial primary; he polled 14,069 votes, to 8,827 votes for Wallaceís candidate, Keith H. Greene. Shearer backers won about 60% of the contested primaries, and thus the new state AIP officers contained a majority for Shearerís vision to build a genuine political party, not just an empty vehicle for possible use in another Wallace presidential campaign.

Shearer then turned his attention to building the party nationally. Largely through his efforts, the party held its first national convention in August 1972 and nominated Congressman John G. Schmitz for president. Shearer ran the campaign and struggled with ballot access across the nation. Schmitz got on the ballot in only 32 states, but he polled 1,105,330 votes. No minor party since has matched that total for president, except the Reform Party in 1996 and the Green Party in 2000.

In 1973, Shearer turned his attention back to California. He was appointed to an official advisory committee to revise the California Election Code. That committee endorsed the idea of postcard registration forms, a reform that was enacted in 1976. That change made it vastly easier for a new party to qualify in California, since now parties could use the new forms to enroll new members, whereas previously they could only ask voters to change parties, by persuading those voters to appear before a Deputy Registrar of Voters. Because of this change, the Libertarian, Green, Natural Law, and Reform Parties, were all able to qualify for the California ballot in the 1980ís and 1990ís. At one point (in 1996 and 1998) California had 8 ballot-qualified parties, more than any other state.

Shearer also persuaded the advisory committee to recommend lowering the statewide independent candidate petition to a flat 10,000 signatures. Unfortunately the legislature did not pass that idea.

Additionally in 1973, Shearer was a witness for the ballot access lawsuit filed by the Socialist Workers Party. That lawsuit, which lost, had tried to overturn California requirements for ballot access for new parties.

The California AIP is the oldest continuously ballot-qualified party in any state, except for the Conservative Party of New York. The California AIP has been the California affiliate of the Constitution Party since 1991.


2008 PETITIONING FOR PRESIDENT

STATE
REQUIREMENTS
SIGNATURES COLLECTED
DEADLINES
FULL PARTY
CAND
LIB'T
GREEN
CONSTI
WK FAM
Party
Indp.

Alabama

37,513

5,000

0

0

0

0

June 3

Sep. 8

Alaska

(reg) 7,124

#3,128

already on

*3,506

0

0

Aug. 6

Aug. 6

Ariz.

20,449

est. #21,500

already on

*2,000

0

0

Mar. 13

June 11

Arkansas

10,000

#1,000

0

0

0

0

June 30

Aug. 4

Calif.

(reg) 88,991

158,372

already on

already on

already on

0

Dec. 31, 07

Aug. 8

Colorado

(reg) 1,000

Pay $500

already on

already on

already on

0

May 1

June 17

Conn.

no procedure

#7,500

canít start

canít start

canít start

canít start

- - -

Aug. 6

Delaware

est. (reg) 290

est. 5,800

already on

already on

already on

already on

Aug. 12

July 15

D.C.

no procedure

est. #3,900

canít start

already on

canít start

canít start

- - -

Aug. 19

Florida

be organized

104,334

already on

already on

already on

0

Sep. 2

July 15

Georgia

44,089

#42,489

already on

canít start

canít start

canít start

July 8

July 8

Hawaii

663

4,291

already on

*0

*60

0

Apr. 3

Sep. 5

Idaho

11,968

5,984

already on

canít start

already on

canít start

Aug. 29

Aug. 25

Illinois

no procedure

#25,000

canít start

already on

canít start

canít start

- - -

June 26

Indiana

no procedure

#32,742

already on

0

0

0

- - -

June 23

Iowa

no procedure

#1,500

0

0

0

0

- - -

Aug. 15

Kansas

16,994

5,000

already on

0

0

0

June 2

Aug. 4

Kentucky

no procedure

#5,000

canít start

canít start

canít start

canít start

- - -

Sep. 2

La.

(reg) 1,000

pay $500

already on

already on

47

0

May 22

Sep. 2

Maine

27,544

#4,000

0

already on

0

0

Dec 14, 07

Ag 15

Maryland

10,000

est. 32,500

already on

already on

0

0

Aug. 4

Aug. 4

Mass.

est. (reg) 40,500

#10,000

19,253

already on

65

already on

Feb. 1

July 29

Michigan

38,024

38,024

already on

already on

already on

0

July 17

July 17

Minnesota

110,150

#2,000

0

0

0

0

July 15

Sep. 9

Mississippi

be organized

1,000

already on

already on

already on

0

Jan. 10

Sep. 5

Missouri

10,000

10,000

already on

0

*1,300

0

July 29

July 29

Montana

5,000

#5,000

already on

0

already on

0

Mar. 13

July 30

Nebraska

5,921

2,500

*6,800

already on

already on

0

Aug. 1

Aug. 26

Nevada

5,746

5,746

already on

already on

already on

0

July 3

July 3

N. Hamp.

12,106

#3,000

0

0

0

0

Aug. 6

Aug. 6

N. Jersey

no procedure

#800

0

0

0

0

- - -

July 28

New Mex.

2,794

16,764

already on

already on

unclear

0

Apr. 1

June 4

New York

no procedure

#15,000

can't start

can't start

can't start

already on

- - -

Aug. 19

No. Car.

69,734

69,734

*51,500

0

*100

0

May 16

June 12

No. Dakota

7,000

#4,000

already on

0

already on

0

Apr. 11

Sep. 5

Ohio

law is void

5,000

0

0

0

0

unsettled

Aug. 21

Oklahoma

46,324

43,913

in court

0

0

0

May 1

July 15

Oregon

20,640

18,356

already on

already on

already on

already on

Aug. 26

Aug. 26

Penn.

no procedure

est. #27,000

in court

in court

in court

canít start

- - -

Aug. 1

Rhode Isl.

18,557

#1,000

canít start

canít start

canít start

canít start

May 30

Sep. 5

So. Caro.

10,000

10,000

already on

already on

already on

already on

May 4

July 15

So. Dakota

8,389

#3,356

*20

0

*200

0

Apr. 1

Aug. 5

Tennessee

45,254

25

0

0

0

0

unsettled

Aug. 21

Texas

43,991

74,108

already on

canít start

canít start

canít start

May 12

May 27

Utah

2,000

#1,000

*600

*300

already on

0

Feb. 15

Sep. 2

Vermont

be organized

#1,000

already on

already on

0

0

Jan. 1

Sep. 12

Virginia

no procedure

#10,000

canít start

canít start

canít start

canít start

- - -

Aug. 22

Wash.

no procedure

#1,000

canít start

canít start

canít start

canít start

- - -

July 26

West Va.

no procedure

#15,118

0

0

*250

0

- - -

Aug. 1

Wisconsin

10,000

#2,000

already on

already on

canít start

canít start

June 2

Sep. 2

Wyoming

3,868

3,868

already on

canít start

canít start

canít start

June 2

Aug. 25

TOTAL STATES 26 *19 14 5 1

#partisan label is permitted (other than "independent").
* means entry changed since March 1, 2007 B.A.N.
"Wk Fam" = "Working Families Party". "Consti" = Constitution Party. "Libít" = Libertarian Party.


CONSTITUTION PARTY RIFT MAY HEAL

The Constitution Party has been troubled by an internal split for over a year. Some of the state affiliates, including Montana, had left the national party.

However, on March 29, Rick Jore, the partyís elected state legislator, announced that he will attend the April 20-22 meeting of the partyís National Committee in Boise, Idaho. This is a sign that the Montana party may be trying to work out its differences with the national party.

On another matter involving Jore, the Montana House Administration Committee tabled the bill that would have relieved him from paying $18,000 for costs for his 2004 recount. The bill would have provided that when an apparent winner in a close election is sued by the losing candidate, for the purpose of getting a recount, that the government should pay the court costs, not the candidate who didnít prevail in the recount.


UNITY08 RULES

On March 28, Unity08 released its tentative rules on how presidential candidates may be nominated for consideration by the group. To be considered, a potential candidate must submit a paper petition of 500 signatures from each of five states, for a total of 2,500 signatures. In addition, he or she must receive the on-line endorsement of 2,500 registered voters in each of ten states, through the internet (for a total of 25,000 electronic endorsements). Unity08 is asking its members to comment on the rules. Unity08 has more than 42,000 registered members, or "Delegates."


REFORM PARTY LOSES TO FEC

On March 1, the 11th circuit affirmed a decision of a U.S. District Court, that the Reform Party must repay $333,558 to the Federal Election Commission. The FEC says some of the federal funds given to the party in 2000 were not spent properly, and it wants that money back.


QUEBEC ELECTION

On March 26, Quebec Province held a provincial parliamentary election. The Democratic Action Party of Quebec (ADQ), which had held only four seats in the last Quebec parliament, won 41 seats, making it the second biggest party in parliament. The results are: Liberal Party 48 seats, ADQ 41 seats, Party Quebecois 36 seats.

The ADQ believes that Quebec should remain part of Canada, but that provinces should have greater autonomy.


EUROPE CRITICIZES PENNSYLVANIA

In 1975, the United States and many European countries, and Canada, signed the Helsinki Accords, to set minimum standards for human rights in each signing nation. In 1990 the treaty was expanded to include political rights, and ODIHR (Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights) was established to monitor compliance.

On March 9, ODIHR released a report on the U.S. election of 2006. Pages 8 and 9 of the report criticize severe ballot access laws. The report singles out Pennsylvania as a bad example. It says in Footnote 23, "For example, in Pennsylvania for the 7 November election this meant 57,000 signatures" for a minor party or independent candidate to get on the statewide ballot. Actually the requirement was 67,070. The Pennsylvania ballot access lawsuit filed last year is still pending in the 3rd circuit.


MAINE GREEN PARTY REGISTRATION

The Jan. 1, 2007 B.A.N. carried a chart, showing how many registered voters there are in each party, in each state. The chart was complete except for Maine. Maine was not able to provide this data until March 23, 2007. The figures are: Dem. 308,957; Rep. 278,887; Green 29,273; independent and other parties, 374,502. The Green percentage is 2.95%. It had been 2.36% in 2004.


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