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May 2010 Ballot Access News print version

Published on May 29, 2010, by in General.
  1. IDAHO INDEPENDENT PRESIDENTIAL PETITION REQUIREMENT DECLARED UNCONSTITUTIONAL
  2. NADER FINALLY GETS ORAL ARGUMENT ON PENNSYLVANIA FEE
  3. RESIDENCY REQUIREMENTS FOR CIRCULATORS
  4. THREE BALLOT ACCESS CASES NOW PENDING IN US SUPREME COURT
  5. MAJOR PARTIES SET LATE CONVENTIONS
  6. NO BALLOT ACCESS IMPROVEMENT BILLS PASS THIS YEAR SO FAR
  7. PENNSYLVANIA LOSS
  8. BRITISH BALLOT FROM MAY 6 HOUSE OF COMMONS ELECTION
  9. FLYER AGAINST CALIFORNIA PROPOSITION 14
  10. OTHER LAWSUIT NEWS
  11. 2010 PETITIONING FOR STATEWIDE OFFICE
  12. SEIU BACKS NEW PARTY IN NORTH CAROLINA
  13. 2010 INDEPENDENT CANDIDATES
  14. POLL: 50% OF VOTERS HAVE VOTED FOR NON-MAJOR PARTY NOMINEES
  15. SUBSCRIBING TO BAN WITH PAYPAL

IDAHO INDEPENDENT PRESIDENTIAL PETITION REQUIREMENT DECLARED UNCONSTITUTIONAL

On April 19, a U.S. District Court struck down the Idaho law that requires an independent presidential candidate to submit a petition signed by 1% of the last presidential vote. For 2012, that would be 6,552 signatures. The basis for the decision is that Idaho only requires 1,000 signatures for independent candidates for other statewide office.

The decision is Daien v Ysursa, cv09-22. It was written by Magistrate Judge Donald Bush, an appointee of President Bush, Jr. This is the first ballot access opinion in history that strikes down the number of signatures for an independent candidate for one statewide office, on grounds of the comparative difference with another statewide office.

The decision says it is not even rational for Idaho to require 6,552 signatures for an independent presidential candidate, when an independent candidate for Governor, for example, only needs 1,000 signatures.

Independent presidential candidates rarely qualify for the Idaho ballot. Ralph Nader qualified as an independent in 2008, but before 2008, no one had completed that petition since 1996. Nader tried and failed to qualify as an independent in Idaho in 2004, and did not even try in 2000.

The Idaho Secretary of State has hinted to the press that he won’t appeal. The decision also strikes down Idaho’s ban on out-of-state circulators. The part of the decision was no surprise, because in 2008 the 9th circuit had invalidated Arizona’s ban on out-of-state circulators. Idaho and Arizona are both in the 9th circuit.

Other states that require far more signatures for an independent presidential candidate, than for an independent candidate for other statewide office, are Florida, Hawaii, North Dakota, Oklahoma, and Texas.

Alabama and Arkansas have a different type of disparity: independent presidential candidates need far fewer signatures than independent candidates for other statewide office.

The Oklahoma disparity is far more extreme than the Idaho disparity. In Oklahoma, a presidential independent candidate needs 43,880 signatures, but an independent candidate for any other office needs no signatures. The Florida disparity is also extreme: an independent presidential candidate in 2012 will need approximately 120,000 signatures, but an independent candidate for other office needs no petition. If the recent Idaho ruling were binding on Oklahoma and Florida, the independent presidential candidate requirements in those two states would be unconstitutional.


NADER FINALLY GETS ORAL ARGUMENT ON PENNSYLVANIA FEE

On April 21, an attorney for Ralph Nader was finally given a chance to speak in court against Pennsylvania’s behavior in 2004, when the State Supreme Court authorized fees of over $81,000 against Nader because his petition was found to lack enough valid signatures.

Ironically, the opportunity came in a court for the District of Columbia, not a Pennsylvania court. Nader’s bank accounts are in D.C., so the hearing was over whether his bank should turn over the money to the challengers. Serody v Nader and Amalgamated Bank. Three judges heard the case. Two of them seemed somewhat sympathetic to Nader. When Nader’s attorney, Oliver Hall, mentioned that the Pennsylvania courts dismiss Nader’s appeals with one-sentence "opinions", one of the D.C. Judges said, "In this Court, we don’t issue one-sentence opinions."


RESIDENCY REQUIREMENTS FOR CIRCULATORS

During the last ten years, lawsuits to overturn residency requirements for petition circulators have won in eleven states, and have not been lost in any state. Therefore, it is not surprising that more of these lawsuits are being filed.

California: on April 2, a lawsuit was filed against state laws that say a circulator cannot work outside his or her home district, if circulating a petition for a candidate for district office. Libertarian Party of Los Angeles County v Bowen, 2:10-cv-2488.

Kansas: on April 28, a lawsuit was filed against state laws that prevent out-of-state petitioners from working on a petition to qualify a new party. Constitution Party v Biggs, number not available yet.

Pennsylvania: the State Supreme Court is about to issue an opinion in In re Objection to Nomination Petition of Pia Varma, 12 EAP 2010. The plaintiff is a Republican Party candidate for U.S. House, trying to get on the primary ballot. Some of her signatures were collected by registered Republicans who don’t live in the candidate’s district.

Virginia: in the first week of May, a lawsuit will be filed against state laws that prevent a circulator from working outside his or her home district, for a candidate for district office. Libertarian Party of Virginia v State Board of Elections.

Cases on the same subject are also pending in Colorado and Nebraska. Cases have been won on this issue in the last decade in Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.


THREE BALLOT ACCESS CASES NOW PENDING IN US SUPREME COURT

Three ballot access cases filed by minor parties are now pending in the U.S. Supreme Court, waiting to hear if the Court will hear them.

Alabama: Shugart v Chapman challenges the number of signatures needed for an independent candidate for U.S. House. The requirement, 6,100 signatures, is higher than the number of signatures needed for an independent presidential candidate in Alabama, even though the state has six U.S. House districts, and one would expect an office in just one-sixth of the state to require fewer signatures than a statewide office.

Louisiana: Libertarian Party v Dardenne challenges the action of the Secretary of State in 2008 in refusing to print the names of the Libertarian Party’s presidential and vice-presidential candidates on the ballot. The party complied with the emergency deadline set by the Governor, but not the earlier emergency deadline set by the Secretary of State.

Mississippi: Moore v Hosemann challenges the Secretary of State’s refusal to list Brian Moore, Socialist Party presidential candidate, on the ballot in 2008.

This is the highest number of ballot access cases asking for U.S. Supreme Court review, at one time, since 1976-1977. All three cert petitions were written by Law Professor Mark Brown of Columbus, Ohio, a true hero of the movement for ballot access reform. The Court will probably say whether it will hear any of these cases before it goes on summer recess in June.


MAJOR PARTIES SET LATE CONVENTIONS

The Democratic and Republican Parties have chosen dates for their 2012 presidential conventions. Republicans will meet August 27-30. Democrats will meet September 3-6. The 2012 election is on November 6. The cities will be announced later.


NO BALLOT ACCESS IMPROVEMENT BILLS PASS THIS YEAR SO FAR

Legislatures in most states have adjourned for the year. Ballot access improvement bills failed to pass in Alabama, Alaska, Georgia, Maryland, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island. Bills are still pending in some states where the legislature has not adjourned: Colorado, Missouri, Ohio, Oklahoma, and Pennsylvania.


PENNSYLVANIA LOSS

On April 15, a U.S. District Court in Philadelphia issued in opinion in Constitution Party of Pennsylvania v Cortes, 09-cv-1691. The decision is refuses to decide any of the issues in the case. It says that the plaintiff political parties and candidates don’t have standing to challenge the system which charges statewide candidates fees of approximately $80,000 if they submit unsuccessful petitions. The decision completely ignores the other issues in the case, which are: (1) the failure of some counties to count any write-ins; (2) the failure of the state elections office to tally any write-ins for some candidates; (3) the law that says parties are treated as though they aren’t ballot-qualified unless they have registration membership of 15% of the state total.

The plaintiffs, who include the Green and Libertarian Parties, have asked for a rehearing, on the grounds that the judge ignored three of the four issues in the case. That request is still pending. If it is denied, the parties will appeal to the 3rd circuit.


BRITISH BALLOT FROM MAY 6 HOUSE OF COMMONS ELECTION

Click here to see a British ballot from Britain’s House of Commons election being held on May 6. British ballot access is lenient and not discriminatory.


FLYER AGAINST CALIFORNIA PROPOSITION 14

Click here to see a flyer (.pdf) against Proposition 14 in California. If you live in California, feel free to duplicate it and distribute it. If you don’t live in California, but you have friends who do, send it to them.


OTHER LAWSUIT NEWS

California: on April 7, a Superior Court in San Mateo County ruled that electronic signatures are not permitte
d on petitions. Plaintiffs will appeal. Ni v Slocum.

Florida: on April 19, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear Citizens for Police Accountability v Browning, 09-861. The issue was a law that let exit pollsters work within 25 feet of a polling place entrance, but kept petition circulators at least 100 feet away. The 11th circuit had upheld the law.

Massachusetts: on April 26, the U.S. Supreme Court failed to reach a decision on whether to hear Simmons v Galvin, the case over whether the Voting Rights Act applies to the issue of felon or ex-felon voting. The case had been on the Court’s April 23 conference, but the Court will consider it again on April 30.

North Carolina: last year the Voting Rights Section of the U.S. Justice Department refused to let Kinston switch its city elections from partisan elections to non-partisan elections. Recently some voters in that city filed a lawsuit, charging that section 5 of the Voting Rights Act is unconstitutional, because it tramples on the freedom of cities to make such decisions for themselves, even if those cities are in states that once discriminated against racial minorities in election law. LaRoque v Holder, 1:10-cv-561.

Utah: on April 2, an independent candidate for Governor, Farley Anderson, filed a lawsuit in State Supreme Court over whether electronic signatures on petitions are valid. Anderson v Lieutenant Governor, 20100237.

Utah (2): on April 15, a case was filed in federal court and heard the same day, over whether the state should release the names and addresses of people who had signed an initiative petition. The court ordered the state not to release the names until another hearing can be held. Utahns for Ethical Government v Barton.


2010 PETITIONING FOR STATEWIDE OFFICE

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

Ala.

37,513

37,513

100

0

0

0

June 1

June 1

Alaska

(reg) 9,786

#3,128

already on

*2,372

0

0

June 1

Aug. 24

Ariz.

20,449

(est) #25,500

already on

*already on

0

0

Mar. 11

May 25

Ark.

10,000

10,000

*1,000

*5,000

0

0

June 30

n="RIGHT">May 3

Calif.

(reg) 88,991

173,041

already on

already on

in court

0

Jan. 6

Aug. 6

Colo.

(reg) 1,000

1,000

already on

already on

already on

0

June 1

June 15

Conn.

no procedure

#7,500

already on

already on

0

0

- – –

Aug. 11

Del.

(reg) *612

*6,115

already on

*575

*325

*already on

Aug. 10

July 15

D.C.

no procedure

#3,000

can’t start

already on

can’t start

can’t start

- – –

Aug. 25

Florida

be organized

pay fee

already on

already on

already on

0

Apr. 30

Apr. 30

Georgia

57,582

#44,089

already on

0

0

0

July 13

July 13

Hawaii

692

25

already on

*already on

*too late

e="Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">0

Apr. 1

July 19

Idaho

13,102

1,000

already on

0

already on

0

Aug. 27

March 19

Illinois

no procedure

#25,000

*15,000

already on

*3,000

0

- – –

June 21

Indiana

no procedure

#32,742

already on

0

0

0

- – –

June 30

Iowa

no procedure

#1,500

*1,700

0

0

0

- – –

Aug. 13

Kansas

16,994

5,000

already on

0

0

0

June 1

Aug. 2

Ky.

no procedure

#5,000

0

0

0

0

- – –

Aug. 10

La.

(reg) 1,000

pay $500

already on

already on

500

0

May 20

Aug. 20

Maine

27,544

#4,000

0

already on

0

0

Dec 11, 09

May 27

Md.

10,000

(est) 35,000

already on

already on

already on

0

Aug. 2

Aug. 2

Mass.

(est) (reg) 40,000

#10,000

already on

*2,000

80

20

Feb. 1

July 27

Mich.

38,024

30,000

already on

already on

already on

0

July 15

July 17

Minn.

145,519

#2,000

0

0

0

0

*Jun 1

*Jun 1

Miss.

be organized

800

already on

already on

already on

0

April 9

April 9

Mo.

10,000

10,000

already on

1,400

already on

0

July 26

July 26

Mont.

5,000

#15,359

already on

too late

already on

too late

Mar. 18

Mar. 18

Nebr.

5,921

4,000

0

ce="Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">0

0

0

Aug. 2

Aug. 24

Nev.

9,083

9,083

already on

already on

already on

0

June 11

Mar. 12

N. Hamp.

20,394

#3,000

*1,000

0

0

0

Aug. 4

Aug. 4

N.J.

no procedure

#1,300

*400

*200

*80

0

- – –

June 8

N. M.

4,151

16,764

*finished

*in court

already on

0

Apr. 1

June 3

N.Y.

no procedure

#15,000

can’t start

can’t start

can’t start

already on

- – –

Aug. 17

No. Car.

85,379

85,379

already on

0

0

0

May 14

June 10

No. Dak.

7,000

#4,000

*already on

0

0

0

Apr. 9

Sep. 3

Ohio

* be organized

5,000

="Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">already on

already on

already on

too late

*Feb. 3

May 3

Okla.

73,134

pay fee

0

0

0

0

May 1

June 9

Oregon

20,640

(est) 19,000

already on

already on

already on

already on

Aug. 26

Aug. 26

Penn.

no procedure

#19,056

*500

*2,400

*500

*0

- – –

Aug. 2

R.I.

23,589

#1,000

0

0

0

0

May 28

July 22

So. Car.

10,000

10,000

already on

already on

already on

already on

May 2

July 15

So. Dak.

8,389

3,356

0

0

already on

0

Mar. 30

June 8

Tenn.

in court

25

in court

*already on

in court

0

unsettled

April 1

Texas

43,991

ize="2" face="Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">43,991

already on

*1,500

0

0

May 24

May 10

Utah

2,000

#1,000

already on

0

already on

0

Feb. 15

March 15

Vermont

be organized

#500

already on

0

already on

already on

Jan. 1

*Jun 17

Virginia

no procedure

#11,000

*4,250

0

0

0

- – –

June 8

Wash.

no procedure

pay fee

0

0

0

0

- – –

May 15

West Va.

no procedure

#7,250

0

already on

l400

0

- – –

May 10

Wisc.

10,000

#2,000

already on

already on

can’t start

can’t start

June 1

July 13

Wyo.

4,988

4,988

already on

0

*4,800

0

June 1

Aug. 23

TOTAL STATES ON
30*
20*
16
5*
`

#partisan label is permitted on the ballot (other than "independent").
*change from the Jan. 1 2010 chart.
Mississippi, New Jersey, Virginia, and West Virginia have no statewide race in 2010, so the entry is for a full slate for U.S. House.


SEIU BACKS NEW PARTY IN NORTH CAROLINA

The Service Employees International Union is attempting to qualify the "North Carolina First" Party for the North Carolina ballot. The group needs 85,379 valid signatures by May 14. As of April 22, they were reported to have 20,000 signatures. It is possible they could win a lawsuit against the petition deadline. In 1988 and 1992, the North Carolina State Board of Elections was so persuaded that the state deadline is unconstitutional, the Board accepted new party petitions as late as July 29. Ralph Nader filed a lawsuit against the deadline in 2000, but because the evidence showed that he wouldn’t have qualified even if he did have more time, a court refused injunctive relief.

The union backs the new party because it desires to run candidates against three U.S. House Democrats who voted against the health care reform bill. New parties in North Carolina nominate by convention, so the organizers of the party are free to limit the party’s nominees to just those three races, if they wish.


2010 INDEPENDENT CANDIDATES

This year has many strong independent candidates for federal and state office:

Alabama: State Senator Harri Anne Smith, a Republican, was told that she may not run for re-election in the Republican primary because she endorsed a Democrat for U.S. House in 2008. She will probably run for re-election as an independent candidate.

Florida: Governor Charlie Crist is about to say whether he will be an independent candidate for U.S. Senate.

Georgia: Raymond O. Boyd, who had planned on running for Governor in the Republican primary, has been told he may not be on the primary ballot because he refuses to sign an oath of loyalty to the Republican Party. He will probably attempt to get on the ballot as an independent candidate instead. Georgia hasn’t had an independent on the ballot for Governor since 1942.

Also in Georgia, Mary Norwood is an independent candidate for Chair, Fulton County Commission. She needs approximately 22,500 valid signatures. She was almost elected Mayor of Atlanta (a non-partisan post) last year.

Illinois: several politicians who had planned to run for Governor or Lieutenant Governor in the Democratic Party are now planning to qualify as independent candidates. One, Dock Walls, would have been on the primary ballot, except that Democrats made it clear they would challenge his petition. Another candidate, Scott Cohen, actually won the Democratic primary for Lieutenant Governor. But after the primary was over, party leaders intimidated him into giving up the nomination. So he also plans to petition as an independent candidate for Governor.

Also in Illinois, Forrest Claypool is an independent candidate for Cook County Assessor. Claypool has an impressive resume and is well-known.

Maine: Eliot Cutler, independent for Governor who is already on the ballot, is an attorney who has worked for former President Jimmy Carter and also for the Democratic nominee for vice-president in 1968, Edmund Muskie. He is thought to have a chance to be elected. Polls are not done for the Maine general election because it is still not clear who the major parties will nominate.

Massachusetts: recent polls show that independent gubernatorial candidate Timothy Cahill, the state’s Treasurer, is in second place in the general election, ahead of the likely Republican nominee and only five points behind the Democratic nominee, incumbent Governor Deval Patrick.

Rhode Island: polls consistently show a lead for independent gubernatorial candidate Lincoln Chafee, a former Republican U.S. Senator.


POLL: 50% OF VOTERS HAVE VOTED FOR NON-MAJOR PARTY NOMINEES

On April 22, Rasmussen Reports released a poll, showing that 50% of U.S. voters have voted for a someone who was not either the Democratic nor the Republican nominee.


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One Response

  1. Annie Young, the Minnesota Green Party’s only endorsed candidate this year in a statewide race is on the ballot as is Dan Craigie in his run for state legislature, the only other party endorsed Green running in a partisan race this year in MN.

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