May 1, 2008 Ė Volume 24, Number 1

This issue was originally printed on white paper.

Table of Contents

  1. INDIANA ID DECISION HAS BALLOT ACCESS IMPLICATIONS
  2. BALLOT ACCESS LAWSUITS
  3. OTHER LAWSUIT NEWS
  4. OHIO SECRETARY OF STATE REJECTS LIBERTARIAN PARTY
  5. VERMONT GOVERNOR VETOES IRV BILL
  6. MORE BALLOT ACCESS LAWSUITS COMING
  7. NATIONAL POPULAR VOTE BILLS
  8. CONGRESS
  9. REPUBLICAN PLAN FOR PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY
  10. ALABAMA BILL
  11. CONSTITUTION PARTY ROLL CALL VOTE
  12. OTHERS IV: ĎFIGHTING BOBí LA FOLLETTE
  13. GAMING THE VOTE: WHY ELECTIONS ARENíT FAIR
  14. 2008 PETITIONING FOR PRESIDENT
  15. CONSTITUTION PARTY CONVENTION
  16. UNITED CITIZENS PARTY NOMINATES BARACK OBAMA
  17. SPECIAL CONGRESSIONAL ELECTIONS
  18. BOB BARR SEMI-ANNOUNCES
  19. WRITE-IN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE GETS PUBLICITY IN EUROPE
  20. SUBSCRIBING TO BAN WITH PAYPAL


INDIANA ID DECISION HAS BALLOT ACCESS IMPLICATIONS

On April 28, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its opinion in Crawford v Marion County Election Board. The issue is the constitutionality of Indianaís law that says voters must show a current government photo-ID card, in order to vote at the polls. Those without such ID may vote provisionally, but the ballot wonít be counted unless the voter travels to the county elections office during the ten days after the election is over, and signs an affidavit saying that he or she cannot obtain such ID due to indigency, or that the he or she has a religious objection to being photographed.

The Court said that the Indiana law is not unconstitutional on its face. It said it may be unconstitutional as applied to particular voters. In particular, homeless voters, and voters who cannot easily transport themselves to the county elections office, and voters who cannot obtain a birth certificate (which is generally needed to get an Indiana state ID form), may bring a new lawsuit. The Indiana law does not permit the homeless to vote even if they have a state Photo-ID, if they canít give a fixed address.

The attorneys who filed the Crawford case erred, by not including any disadvantaged voter-plaintiffs. The lead plaintiff, William Crawford, is an Indiana legislator who has many low-income residents in his district. The other plaintiffs in his case (with one exception) are all organizations: United Senior Action, Indianapolis Resource Center for Independent Living, Concerned Clergy of Indianapolis, the Indianapolis Branch of the NAACP, the Indiana Coalition on Housing and Homeless Issues, and Joseph Simpson. Joseph Simpson is a voter who has an Indiana ID card. The complaint says, "He does not see the need to present ID, as he has resided in his district for quite some time. He objects to having to display picture identification in order to vote."

A parallel case, filed by the Indiana Democratic Party, has no voter-plaintiffs at all.

By contrast, when the U.S. Supreme Court struck down poll taxes for voting in 1966, the lead plaintiff was a disadvantaged voter, Annie E. Harper. She said that for her, the $1.50 poll tax is a hardship (in todayís dollars, $9). The Indiana case needed a similar voter.

The Indiana legislature was aware of the Harper decision when it passed the Government Photo-ID law, so it also provided that the state ID card is free. However, applicants must show a birth certificate, and sometimes it is very costly and difficult to produce oneís birth certificate. The only alternatives to a birth certificate are certificate of naturalization, a passport, or a US military or veterans ID. Also, for elderly persons who swear that no birth certificate exists for them, other proofs are permitted.

The Opinion is by Justice John Paul Stevens, and is co-signed by Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Anthony Kennedy. The main thrust of this plurality opinion is that, without any disadvantaged voter-plaintiffs, there isnít enough evidence in the case to decide if the burden on such voters is severe or not. Page 17 says, "On the basis of the evidence in the record it is not possible to quantify either the magnitude of the burden on this narrow class of voters or the portion of the burden imposed on them that is fully justified."

A concurrence by Justice Antonin Scalia, and co-signed by Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas pooh-poohs the idea that the burden of obtaining an Indiana state ID would ever be "severe" for anyone. It also says that whether an election law hurdle is "severe" means "severe" for everyone affected by the law (i.e., all voters in Indiana), not just certain individuals.

A 30-page dissent by Justice David Souter, co-signed by Justice Ruth Breyer, says there is enough evidence in this case to show that the law imposes a severe burden on some voters. Another dissent, by Justice Stephen Breyer, is only 5 pages long. It says that although the Carter-Baker Report recommended that states require voters at the polls to show ID, the Report also says the states should phase in such laws gradually, and make special provision to help people who have trouble obtaining such ID.

Ballot Access Implications

Although this is not a ballot access case, the Courtís opinion, and the concurrence, and one of the dissents, all discuss various ballot access precedents. Ever since 1992, courts have been told that they must strike down "severe" restrictions on the right to vote, but leave them in place if they are not "severe" and if the states seem to have a good reason for those restrictions. Deciding whether any law is "severe" is very arbitrary, especially in ballot access cases. Ballot access laws come in varying degrees of severity, and it is difficult for the courts to draw a line between "severe" laws, and "non-severe" laws. The U.S. Supreme Court has issued 18 full opinions on the ballot access laws.

So, when a case like the Indiana case appears, the Court looks to its precedents to see what it has said about "severe" laws, and it inevitably talks about ballot access precedents.

The best news from the Indiana decision is that Justice Scalia mentions the old Storer v Brown test. Storer v Brown, a California ballot access decision, issued in 1974, said that ballot access laws that are seldom used are probably unconstitutional. The issue was the independent candidate petition, 5% of the last vote cast, and no one could sign who had voted in the primary.

Storer is an excellent test. The problem is that many lower courts refuse to use it. That is because the Supreme Court seemed (until April 28) to have forgotten all about this test. The Court last mentioned it in another ballot access case, Mandel v Bradley, in 1977. It hasnít mentioned it since then, until now.

Recent ballot access cases in lower courts have won when the lower courts acknowledged the Storer test, and they have lost when the lower courts refused to pay attention to it.

For example, the 11th circuit upheld the Georgia law for minor party candidates for U.S. House in Cartwright v Barnes in 2002, even though the plaintiffs emphasized to the 11th circuit that the law is so severe, in all the years since it was passed in 1943, it had never been used by a minor party, and has not been used by an independent candidate since 1964. The 11th circuit opinion refused to mention the Storer test, even though it was discussed at oral argument and in the briefs.

Similarly, in 2007, the 11th circuit didnít mention the Storer test when it upheld the Alabama statewide non-presidential petition law, in Swanson v Bennett. That law had existed since 2001 and had never been used. Again, despite all the discussion of the Storer at oral argument, the opinion ignored it. Judge Frank Hull wrote both the Alabama and Georgia decisions. She is a foe of minor party and independent candidate ballot access; she knew about the Storer test, but she refused to acknowledge it. In the future, it will be far more difficult for her, or any lower court judge, to ignore the test, now that Justice Scalia has mentioned it.

By contrast, the ballot access cases that did win in recent years all used the Storer test. They include Lee v Keith, which struck down the Illinois petition for independent candidates for the legislature (law had not been used since 1980); Libertarian Party of Ohio v Blackwell (minor party petition had not been used since 2000); Green Party of Arkansas v Daniels (law had not been used since it had been rewritten in 1997).

Scalia said about the Storer test (in his concurrence of April 28, 2008), "In Storer v Brown, supra, we observed that the severity of the burden of a regulation should be measured according to its Ďnature, extent, and likely impact.í (italics added by Scalia). We therefore instructed the District Court to decide on remand whether Ďa reasonably diligent independent candidate (could) be expected to satisfy the signature requirements, or will it be only rarely that the unaffiliated candidate will succeed in getting on the ballot?í (italics again added by Scalia). Notably, we did not suggest that the District Court should consider whether one of the petitioners would actually find it more difficult than a reasonably diligent candidate to obtain the required signatures. What mattered was the general assessment of the burden."

Justice Souterís dissent also mentions Storer v Brown.

The Storer test was discussed at oral argument in the Supreme Court when the Lopez Torres was argued last year. Three justices mentioned it at oral argument (Scalia, Souter, and Ginsburg). But when the Lopez Torresr decision came out, the Storer test wasnít mentioned. One can speculate that it was the Lopez Torres case that reminded Justice Scalia of Storer, however.

See the following article, which has a list of ballot access cases that are pending. Renewed attention to the Storer test will help many of these cases. For example, the North Carolina independent petition for US House has never been used since it was written in 1991. The Arizona independent presidential petition requirement has not been used since it was written in 1993. The Tennessee case against the minor party law has not been used since 1968.

It is possible that the Constitution, Green, Libertarian Parties, and Ralph Nader, will jointly sue Oklahoma over presidential ballot access. No one has qualified in Oklahoma since 2000, so again the Storer test will be helpful if that lawsuit goes ahead.


BALLOT ACCESS LAWSUITS

Arizona: the 9th circuit heard Nader v Brewer on April 15. The issues are the ban on out-of-state circulators, and whether the June 4 petition deadline is too early for independent presidential petitions. The hearing went well. The state says non-residents cannot be allowed to circulate petitions, because if someone is accused of submitting forged signatures, and that person is not a state resident, the state will be unable to subpoena him or her.

In response, Naderís attorney said that states are free to require out-of-state circulators to agree, in advance, to be subject to subpoena. He also pointed out that even an Arizona resident is always free to leave the state afterwards. Judge Richard Clifton asked the attorney for the state if anyone who circulated Nader petitions in 2004 had been charged with any crime. The response was "No." Judge Clifton also seemed struck by the stateís acknowledgment that since the Arizona restrictions had been passed in 1993, no independent presidential candidate has ever managed to get on the ballot. Both Judge Clifton, and Judge Consuelo Callahan, seemed to be leaning toward striking down both challenged laws, although Judge Callahan also seemed to feel the case could be sent back to U.S. District Court for more evidence-gathering.

The third judge, Mary Schroeder, said that since the U.S. Supreme Court had already struck down a law that requires circulators to be registered voters, that she worries that striking down more regulations would be like "peeling an onion." "Where do we stop?" she asked.

Schroeder is a Carter appointee; the other two Judges are Bush, Jr. appointees.

If the case wins on the issue of circulator residency, similar laws in California and Idaho would probably also be unconstitutional, since those states are also in the 9th circuit, and have such requirements.

Florida: on April 23, a state Court of Appeals struck down a law passed in 2007 that lets voters remove their signatures from an initiative petition. The law also says that county elections offices must make the "revocation" forms readily available; and the law says that signers who revoke their signatures may not then change their minds again and sign the petition. The state will probably appeal to the State Supreme Court. Florida Hometown Democracy v Browning, 1D07-6024.

Hawaii: on March 27, the State Supreme Court upheld the stateís policies for checking signatures. Nader & Peroutka v Cronin, no. 27233. The State Supreme Court had had that case ever since 2004, and probably only ruled because a U.S. District Court in Hawaii had said that it would issue a ruling on the same subject if the State Supreme Court didnít act by June 1. It is not clear if the U.S. District Court will now abstain, or issue its own ruling.

The State Supreme Court responded to the charge that even though the state requires signers to list their full birthday (or the last 4 digits of a Social Security number), the state then doesnít use the birthday to help find the voter on the voter registration records, when that voterís handwriting is illegible. The Court merely said that no law requires the elections office to do that work. The Court also said there is nothing wrong with the appeals process, in which the same person who ruled there werenít enough valid signatures to start with, is also the decision-maker on the appeal.

When the federal court in Hawaii issues a final order, Nader will ask the 9th circuit to hear his appeal of the earlier ruling in the same case, upholding the number of signatures for independent presidential candidates. Nader and Peroutka had argued that it is irrational for the state to require an independent presidential candidate to obtain six times as many signatures as are needed for a new party. But the U.S. District Court had upheld that disparity.

Michigan: all the briefs have been filed in the State Court of Appeals, in Ebbers v Secretary of State, 283782. The issue is whether a recall petition can only be circulated by someone who lives in the district of the official who is the subject of the recall.

Montana: on April 8, an independent candidate for U.S. Senate filed a federal lawsuit against the March petition deadline. Kelly v Johnson, cv08-25. This is an ACLU case. The 2007 session of the legislature moved the non-presidential independent candidate deadline from June to March. No statewide non-presidential independent candidate has qualified in Montana since 1994. The plaintiff-candidate, Steve Kelly, also challenges the number of signatures, which is 9,993 for him, even though an entire new party only needs 5,000 signatures.

North Carolina: the trial in the Libertarian-Green ballot access lawsuit starts on May 5. Libertarian Party of North Carolina v Bartlett. It is in state court in Raleigh, no. 05-cvs-13073.

Ohio: any day now, oral argument should be scheduled in Moore v Brunner, 08-24, U.S. District Court. This case challenges Ohioís law that no one may circulate an independent petition who is not registered to vote in the state.

Oregon: the lawsuit Wasson v Bradbury, 07-35694, will probably have its oral argument this fall. It challenges a 2005 Oregon law that makes it illegal for voters to both sign an independent candidate petition and to vote in the primary. The U.S. Supreme Court upheld a somewhat similar Texas law in 1974. However, the Oregon law has some flaws that the Texas law did not have. Oregon discriminates against the independent candidate by saying that when a voter signs the petition first, and then votes in a primary, the signature is void. Also, if the voter votes in the primary first, and then signs the petition, the signature is also void. In other words, the petition signature is always subservient to the primary vote.

Oregon (2): the lawsuit Lemons v Bradbury, 08-35209, has been appealed to the 9th circuit. The issue is whether a signer of a petition has a due process right to have his or her signature counted. The lower court had ruled that there is no such right. The case arose when Oregonís Secretary of State said a particular referendum petition did not have enough valid signatures, even though there is evidence that it does.

Pennsylvania: the State Supreme Court still hasnít acted in Carl Romanelliís appeal of the court order saying he must pay over $80,000, to cover the administrative costs of removing him from the ballot in 2006. Last year, the State Supreme Court had told the Commonwealth Court to re-write its order and make it more specific. The Commonwealth Court then did that, but barely changed its original order, so now Romanelli has again asked the Supreme Court to overturn it. Romanelli was the Green Partyís 2006 U.S. Senate candidate. In the meantime, several minor parties are about to file a new lawsuit in federal court, alleging that Pennsylvaniaís unique habit of charging candidates for the costs of removing them from the ballot violates the U.S. Constitution.

Tennessee: the ballot access case filed by the Constitution, Green and Libertarian Parties is proceeding. The state asked each of those three parties to answer a series of questions about themselves, and the answers were submitted on April 30. Libertarian Party of Tennessee v Thompson, U.S. District Court, 3:08cv-63.

West Virginia: on April 18, the Constitution Party filed a lawsuit to gain access to state parks for its petitioners. Constitution Party of W.V. v Jezioro. U.S. District Court, northern district, Elkins.

Federal law: all the briefs will be in by May 15 in the case that challenges the postal regulation that makes it illegal to petition on interior post office sidewalks. Initiative & Referendum Institute v U.S. Postal Service, U.S. District Court, Washington, D.C., 00-cv-1246.


OTHER LAWSUIT NEWS

Florida: on April 3, the 11th circuit said that the state may implement a 2007 law, at least temporarily, that makes it harder for people to register to vote. Florida NAACP v Browning, 07-15932. People who register must provide the last 4 digits of their Social Security number, or their Florida Drivers License number. The voter registration form is rejected if there is any difference (however miniscule) between the name on the Social Security records, or the Florida Drivers License records, and the name on the voter registration form. No other state has such a law. During 2006 and 2007, before it was enjoined by a U.S. District Court, the law resulted in the rejection of 14,000 voter registration forms.

Idaho: on April 11, the Idaho Republican Party filed a new lawsuit to obtain a closed primary for itself. Idaho Republican Party v Ysursa, no. 08-cv-165. Some Republican leaders have filed a similar lawsuit last year, but that was dismissed because the party itself had not been a plaintiff.

Maryland: on April 14, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear a case challenging the stateís policy of putting candidates on primary ballots in alphabetical order. The plaintiff-candidate had argued that only random order, or rotation, is consistent with Equal Protection. Schaefer v Lamone, 07-1143.

Texas: on April 16, a federal court in Waco ruled against the Texas Democratic Party, in Texas Democratic Party v Republican Party of Texas, MO-08-CA-005. The issue was whether the candidate nominated by the Democrats to run for State House against the House Speaker should be on the November ballot. The Texas Constitution says no one may run for the state legislature without first resigning any local elected position. The Democrat, Bill Dingus, had not resigned from the Midland City Council when he won the primary for state rep. He has since resigned. Further litigation may be needed to see if the Democrats may put him on the ballot by re-nominating him via party committee.


OHIO SECRETARY OF STATE REJECTS LIBERTARIAN PARTY

The Ohio Libertarian Party won a lawsuit against that stateís ballot access law for new parties, in September 2006. That law required a petition of 1% of the last vote cast, due a year before the general election. Since then, the Ohio legislature hasnít passed a new law. No bill to revise the law has been introduced.

Since the existing law is void, the Ohio Libertarian Party submitted a petiton of 6,500 signatures on March 3, and asked the Secretary of State to recognize it. No other group even attempted to file as a political party. But on April 24, the Secretary refused recognition.

The Secretary of State had said last year that any group that submits a petition of one-half of 1% of the last vote cast, by November 2007, would be recognized. However, the U.S. Supreme Court said in McCarthy v Briscoe in 1976 that when a stateís ballot access law is unconstitutional, no state may deprive any party or candidate a place on the ballot if that party or candidate has a modicum of support. In McCarthyís case, the Court looked to public opinion polls, and the fact that McCarthy had qualified in over half the states. The Court thus overrode the Texas Secretary of Stateís decision that an independent candidate must submit the same number of signatures as a new party.

It is likely that the Libertarian Party will now bring a new lawsuit, contending that also enjoys a modicum of support, and that it should be placed on the ballot under the McCarthy precedent, as well as a similar 6th circuit precedent called Goldman-Frankie v Austin.


VERMONT GOVERNOR VETOES IRV BILL

On April 4, Vermont Governor Jim Douglas, a Republican, vetoed SB 108. It would have provided that Congressional elections be conducted using Instant-Runoff Voting.


MORE BALLOT ACCESS LAWSUITS COMING

The Coalition for Free & Independent Elections (COFOE) has donated money to help pay for two new ballot access lawsuits. One will challenge the Alabama petition requirement for independent candidates for the U.S. House, on the grounds that they exceed the number of signatures needed for an independent presidential candidate. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1979 that states may not require more signatures for an independent candidate in just part of the state, than are required for a statewide independent candidate.

The other will challenge the North Carolina independent petition requirement for U.S. House. In some districts, 20,000 signatures are needed. No independent candidate for U.S. House in history has ever overcome a signature requirement greater than 13,000 signatures. Also, in the entire history of North Carolina government-printed ballots, no independent candidate for either house of Congress has ever managed to get on the ballot.

Both of the attorneys were paid months ago, and they have been slow to file the lawsuits.

COFOE appreciates the donations that some of you have given. Donors are not individually thanked, so please know your help is appreciated.


NATIONAL POPULAR VOTE BILLS

Hawaii: Governor Linda Lingle vetoed SB 2898 on April 22. The legislature may override her veto. She also vetoed it last year. Last year her veto would have been overridden, except that some legislators went home early and missed the vote.

Illinois: Governor Rod Blagojevich signed HB 1685 on April 7, the last possible day for him to decide. Illinois thus became the third state to pass the plan.

If the Hawaii veto is overridden, there will be four states that have approved the plan.


CONGRESS

On April 24, the U.S. House of Representatives defeated HR 5036, which would have appropriated money for states to pay for vote-counting equipment with paper trails. The vote was a surprise, since the bill had received bipartisan support in the House Administration Committee on April 2. But on April 15, President Bush said he was opposed to the bill.

A Senate bill to outlaw vote-counting machines without a paper trail, S. 1487 by Senator Dianne Feinstein, has made no headway.

U.S. Senator Bill Nelson told the Florida legislature during March that he intends to introduce a comprehensive election law bill. Among other things, it would start the process in motion for a constitutional amendment to eliminate the Electoral College and replace it with a direct popular vote. However, he still hasnít introduced either the bill, or the constitutional amendment.

The House Administration Committee passed HB 281 on April 2. It would require states to use "no-fault" absentee voting. In other words, any registered voter could vote absentee, whether he or she will be absent from home on election day or not. But because Republicans generally oppose this bill, it is not expected to advance further. The bill would only apply to federal elections, so is constitutional under Article One.

Congressman Ron Paulís HR 3600, which outlaws restrictive ballot access laws in U.S. House elections for minor party and independent candidates, has received no attention and has no co-sponsors. This is the 9th session of Congress in which such a bill has been introduced. Back in 1989, a more comprehensive ballot access bill by Congressman John Conyers had 40 sponsors.

Another election law bill that has not passed is Senator Obamaís S. 453, which would outlaw communications that deliberately try to deceive voters about the location of their polling place, or otherwise trick voters into losing their ability to vote.


REPUBLICAN PLAN FOR PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY

On April 2, the Republican Partyís National Rules Committee issued a plan for the timing of presidential primaries. If the National Committee approves the plan in August, and the national convention approves it in September, the party would then work with state legislators and with the Democratic Party to get the plan implemented.

Iowa would go first, then New Hampshire, both in the first week of February. South Carolina and Nevada could come next.

Then, the 20 smallest states in population, and the territories, would hold their events during the third week of February. The remaining states would be divided into three groups. These groups are not based on region, but seem to be a somewhat random collection of states. A lottery would determine which of the three groups would hold events in the first week in March. The second group would hold its events during the fourth week in March, and the third group in the 3rd full week in April.

States in the 3 groups are: Group X has Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Washington, and Wisconsin.

Group Y is Arizona, California, Connecticut, Indiana, Massachusetts, New Jersey, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia.

Group Z is Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Michigan, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania.


ALABAMA BILL

Alabama: on April 16, HB 738 passed the House Constitution & Election Committee. It decreases the number of signatures for a non-presidential independent candidate from 3% of the last gubernatorial vote, to 1.5%. The sponsor, Representative Cam Ward, will amend the bill so that it also makes the same reduction for new political parties.


CONSTITUTION PARTY ROLL CALL VOTE

`

Baldwin

Keyes

Other

Alas

0

3

0

Ariz

2

0

0

Ark

7

0

0

Cal

12.8

51.2

0

Colo

9

3

0

Ct

6

2

0

Del

3

0

0

Fla

35

1

0

Ga

5

0

1

Id

7.66

3.33

0

Ill

4

4

0

Iowa

7

2

0

Kan

6

6

1

Ky

10

4

0

La

9

0

0

Me

4

0

0

Md

0

2

0

Mass

3

1

0

Mich

19

4.5

4.5

Minn

12

2

0

Miss

14

0

0

Mo

5

7

0

Neb

5

0

0

Nev

10

0

0

NJ

22

1

0

NM

9

0

0

NY

1

1

0

NoC

3

0

0

Ohio

16

5

0

Okla

4

5

0

Ore

3

0

0

Pa

17.3

14.7

0

SoC

15

0

0

SoD

8

0

0

Tenn

15

3

0

Tex

9

0

0

Ut

15

0

0

Va

22

0

0

Wa

17

0

0

Wis

12

0

0

TOT

383.8

125.7

6.5

The "Other" Vote is Mad Max Riekse 4.5; Susan Ducey 1; Daniel Imperato 1. The eleven states not listed sent no delegation: Ala., Ct., Hi., Ind., Mt., N.H., No.D., R.I., Vt., W.V., Wy.


OTHERS IV: ĎFIGHTING BOBí LA FOLLETTE

Others, ĎFighting Bobí La Follette and the Progressive Movement: Third-Party Politics in the 1920s. Vol. IV, by Darcy Richardson, 2008. Softcover, 411 pages.

This is the fourth in Richardsonís series. It covers 1919-1928. The most interesting part is the story of how political speech was criminalized after U.S. involvement in World War I. Eugene Debs gave a speech in Ohio attacking the U.S. decision to declare war. He knew that government stenographers were in the audience to record his speech; he knew he would be sent to prison for his speech; but he delivered it anyway.

The books relates the story of how, while he was in the federal penitentiary, a handful of Socialist Party officers were permitted to visit him and inform him that he had been nominated for president in 1920.

The book also reveals little-known details about Senator La Folletteís independent progressive campaign for the presidency in 1924.


GAMING THE VOTE: WHY ELECTIONS ARENíT FAIR

Gaming the Vote: Why Elections Arenít Fair. William Poundstone, 2008. Hardcover, 338 pages.

Many books have been written about voting systems, which include Approval Voting, Borda Count, Condorcet, Cumulative Voting, Instant-Runoff Voting, Plurality Voting, Proportional Representation, Range Voting, Single Transferable Vote, and Two-Cycle Elections (those with a first round and a run-off). Gaming the Vote, like other books written for U.S. audiences, criticizes the systems commonly used in the U.S. (plurality voting, and two-cycle elections), and explains that there are better systems.

Gaming the Vote concludes that Range Voting is best. Range Voting is not used by any nation. Voters rate the candidates on a scale of zero to ten. The candidate with the highest average rating wins.

Of course, this book will interest everyone who is already interested in different types of voting system. Poundstone is an accomplished writer, with the knack of making the subject interesting, partly by focusing on individuals in history who have advocated different voting systems.

But this book will also be very interesting to readers who are interested in minor parties and independent candidates, because this is the first book ever written on the topic of "spoilers" (or, "vote-splitting"). Every enemy of tolerant ballot access for minor parties and independent candidates always makes the point that allowing such candidates on the ballot can "spoil" the chances of one of the candidates most likely to win. Because Poundstone wants to persuade readers to support alternate voting systems, he devotes the first half of his book to the problems of Plurality Voting (as well also the problems of Two-Stage Runoffs).

So, Gaming the Vote has much information about "spoilers" in U.S. election history. Of course, most of that is concerned with the 2000 election and Ralph Nader. The book has a great deal of specific information about the extent to which Republicans tried to help Greens, or Nader, in 2004 and 2006, and also about parallel Democratic Party assistance to independent candidates who were conservative, in 2005 and 2006. These examples relate to campaigns for Congress and state office, just as much as for president.

Gaming the Vote also attempts to analyze all past presidential elections in which "vote-splitting" altered the outcome. The book lists 1844, 1848, 1884, 1912, along with 2000. It equivocates about 1992.

Unfortunately, the book omits any discussion of 1916, when the Prohibition Party "spoiled" the chances of the Republican presidential nominee, Charles Evans Hughes. That is the most fascinating example of "spoiling" in U.S. history. It was the second time the Prohibition Party had tipped a presidential election against the Republicans.

Republicans in Congress passed the Constitutional amendment in 1917 to impose nationwide prohibition of alcoholic beverages. The proposal had been introduced in every Congress starting in 1875, but had never come close to passing by the necessary two-thirds majority. But the Republicans, having lost two presidential elections to the Prohibition Party, decided to end that problem once and for all, by accepting the amendment and thus killing the rationale for the Prohibition Party to continue to exist.

The bookís failure to discuss 1916 means that the book can simply assume that "spoiling" is always bad, not only for the majority of voters, but even for the proponents of the minor party or independent candidate who had caused the "vote-splitting." But, the 1916 example shows that "spoiling" can be advantageous to a minor party and the adherents of that minor party and its cause.

Poundstone kindly responded to an e-mail that asked why he omitted 1916. He replied that the cumulative effect of all minor party candidates in 1916 was nil, since he assumes that voters who voted for the Socialist presidential candidate would have voted Democratic if the Socialist Party had not been running. This is questionable, but even if it is assumed to be true, the approach of considering all the minor parties together would mean that 2000 was also not a "spoiler" election. Pat Buchananís 2000 vote caused George Bush to fail to carry Iowa, Wisconsin and New Mexico. So if the intent is to weigh Nader and Buchanan together, then no spoiling occurred in 2000.

Gaming the Vote does a great job showing the deficiencies of two-round elections. The book starts with the famous two-round Louisiana gubernatorial election of 1991.

The topic of which alternate voting system is very controversial. For a good discussion of Poundstoneís conclusion that Range Voting is best, see amazon.comís reviews of Gaming the Vote. Also see a review of the book in the April 12, 2008 issue of New Scientist Magazine.


2008 PETITIONING FOR PRESIDENT

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

Alabama

37,513

5,000

0

0

0

0

June 3

Sep. 8

Alaska

(reg) 7,124

#3,128

already on

*3,045

*already on

0

Aug. 6

Aug. 6

Ariz.

20,449

#21,759

already on

*already on

*0

*3,000

Mar. 6

June 4

Arkansas

10,000

#1,000

already on

already on

already on

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

June 1

June 17

Conn.

no procedure

#7,500

*100

*1,000

0

0

- - -

Aug. 6

Delaware

(reg) *284

*5,674

already on

already on

already on

0

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

3,000

0

0

July 8

July 8

Hawaii

663

4,291

already on

*already on

*already on

*already on

Apr. 3

Sep. 5

Idaho

11,968

5,984

already on

0

already on

0

Aug. 29

Aug. 25

Illinois

no procedure

#25,000

*15,000

already on

*500

*1,000

- - -

June 23

Indiana

no procedure

#32,742

already on

0

0

0

- - -

June 30

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

0

0

*300

0

- - -

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

*50

already on

*0

0

Feb. 1

July 29

Michigan

38,024

38,024

already on

already on

already on

probly on

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

finished

0

July 28

July 28

Montana

5,000

#5,000

already on

*0

already on

0

Mar. 13

July 30

Nebraska

5,921

2,500

*finished

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.

12,524

#3,000

*2,800

0

0

0

Aug. 6

Aug. 6

New Jersey

no procedure

#800

0

0

0

0

- - -

July 28

New Mex.

2,794

16,764

already on

already on

finished

*already on

Apr. 1

June 4

New York

no procedure

#15,000

can't start

can't start

can't start

canít start

- - -

Aug. 19

No. Car.

69,734

69,734

*finished

*in court

*0

0

May 16

June 12

No. Dakota

7,000

#4,000

already on

0

already on

0

Apr. 11

Sep. 5

Ohio

20,114

5,000

*disputed

0

*finished

0

Aug 21

Aug. 21

Oklahoma

46,324

43,913

*0

0

0

0

May 1

July 15

Oregon

20,640

18,356

already on

already on

already on

0

Aug. 26

Aug. 26

Penn.

no procedure

#24,666

*3,000

*1,500

*300

*1,000

- - -

Aug. 1

Rhode Isl.

18,557

#1,000

0

0

0

0

May 30

Sep. 5

So. Caro.

10,000

10,000

already on

already on

already on

0

May 4

July 15

So. Dakota

8,389

3,356

*1,900

0

already on

0

Mar. 25

Aug. 5

Tennessee

45,254

25

in court

in court

in court

0

unsettled

Aug. 21

Texas

43,991

74,108

already on

5,000

*500

0

May 26

May 12

Utah

2,000

#1,000

already on

0

already on

0

Feb. 15

Sep. 2

Vermont

be organized

#1,000

already on

*0

already on

0

Jan. 1

Sep. 12

Virginia

no procedure

#10,000

*4,000

*2,500

0

*100

- - -

Aug. 22

Wash.

no procedure

#1,000

canít start

canít start

canít start

canít start

- - -

July 26

West Va.

no procedure

#15,118

0

already on

*11,000

0

- - -

Aug. 1

Wisconsin

10,000

#2,000

already on

already on

0

0

June 2

Sep. 2

Wyoming

3,868

3,868

already on

0

*450

0

June 2

Aug. 25

TOTAL STATES ON
28
*22
*19
*2
~ ~

#partisan label is OK (other than "independent").
*entry changed since April 1, 2008 B.A.N.
"Nader" column refers to independent petitions, except that Nader qualified the Independent Party in Hawaii and New Mexico.


CONSTITUTION PARTY CONVENTION

On April 25, the Constitution Party national convention, entertained nominations for president. Party founder Howard Phillips made an impassioned speech in favor of Chuck Baldwin, and against Alan Keyes. The next day, the convention voted. The results by state are on page four.

The ticket will be Chuck Baldwin of Florida for president, and Darrell Castle of Tennessee for vice-president. Viewers could watch a live broadcast at www.alankeyes.com. However, that broadcast ceased when Keyes was defeated.

Many delegates wanted to vote for Ron Paul for president, but the convention as a whole decided such votes would be out of order, since Paul had not sought the nomination.

This was the first presidential convention in the Constitutionís Party history that had been difficult to predict. In 2004, the vote for Michael Peroutka for president had been unanimous. This year, it was only on April 10 that Baldwin had said he would run. The chief policy difference between Baldwin and Keyes was that Baldwin doesnít support U.S. military involvement in Iraq, and Keyes does.

The 2008 vote for vice-president was: Darrell Castle 389, Scott Bradley 58, Don Grundmann 43.7, Mad Max Riekse 13.3, Susan Ducey 8. Castleís overwhelming victory was because Chuck Baldwin asked the convention to nominate Castle. After the rollcall, Utah switched its votes from Bradley to Castle.


UNITED CITIZENS PARTY NOMINATES BARACK OBAMA

On March 29, the United Citizens Party, which is ballot-qualified in South Carolina, nominated Barack Obama for president. South Carolina permits fusion, so if Obama becomes the Democratic nominee, and if the Democrats and United Citizens agree on a joint slate of presidential elector candidates, Obama will be listed as the nominee of both parties. The only other time the United Citizens and the Democratic nominees for president were the same person was 1972, when both listed George McGovern.


SPECIAL CONGRESSIONAL ELECTIONS

California: filled the vacant U.S. House seat, 12th district, on April 12. The vote was: Jackie Speier, Dem., 77.72%; Michelle McMurry, Dem., 5.33%; Greg Conlon, Rep., 9.37%; Mike Moloney, Rep., 5.30%; Barry Hermanson, Green, 2.28%. In November 2006, the vote in this district had been: Democratic 76.05%; Republican 23.95%.

Mississippi: held a special election for U.S. House, 1st district, on April 22. The vote was: Travis Childers, Dem., 49.41%; Steve Holland, Dem., 1.17%; Greg Davis, Rep., 46.32%; Glen McCullough, Rep., 1.43%; independent Wally Pang 1.08%; John Wages, Green, .59%. Since no one got 50%, a runoff will be held in May. This was the first time any Green Party member had run for Congress in Mississippi. When this same district voted in November 2006, the results had been: Republican 65.92%, Democratic 34.08%.


BOB BARR SEMI-ANNOUNCES

On April 5, former Congressman Bob Barr said that he is setting up an exploratory committee to decide whether he should seek the Libertarian presidential nomination.


WRITE-IN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE GETS PUBLICITY IN EUROPE

Frank Moore, of Berkeley, California, is seeking to be a declared write-in candidate in all the states that have such a procedure. Others have also been write-in candidates in past presidential elections, and generally they have not received attention. But Moore has been featured in major European newspapers and television stations. That is because Moore has had cerebral palsy his entire life, and he cannot walk nor speak. Instead, he communicates by using a laser pointer device (mounted on a hat), which he uses to shine on particular letters of the alphabet, on a mat placed in front of him. His wife then translates for whomever is present. Moore has already achieved some fame for his performance art, poetry, and painting. He has a well-developed platform. www.frankmooreforpresident08.com.


SUBSCRIBING TO BAN WITH PAYPAL

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Ballot Access News. is published by and copyright by Richard Winger. Note: subscriptions are available!


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