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Can a Ballot-Qualified Political Party Commit Legal Suicide?

Published on July 12, 2012, by in General.

Reportedly, national leaders of Americans Elect are planning to ask state officials to de-certify the party, in all the states in which the party is now ballot-qualified. However, there is no legal precedent that gives state or national party leaders the legal ability to take that step.

In 1986, Adlai E. Stevenson III formed the Illinois Solidarity Party, got it on the ballot, and ran as its nominee for Governor of Illinois. He polled 40%, far more than the amount needed to give the party qualified status for the next four years. He had set out at the beginning of the year to be the Democratic Party nominee for Governor, but even though he won the party’s nomination at the March primary, he resigned from the ticket and created the Illinois Solidarity Party because a supporter of Lyndon LaRouche had won the Democratic primary for Lieutenant Governor. If Stevenson had remained the Democratic nominee, he would have been forced to run as part of a joint ticket with the LaRouche supporter in November.

After the 1986 election was over, Stevenson and other Democrats who had created the party did not desire to see the Illinois Solidarity Party on the ballot in Illinois in 1988 or 1990. But, they did not believe they had the legal authority to cause the party to lose its qualified status. Instead, Democrats in the 1987 session of the legislature passed SB 10, giving the party officers the ability to end the legal existence of the party. Governor James Thompson, a Republican, vetoed the bill. The New Solidarity Party then participated in the 1988 and 1990 elections as a ballot-qualified party. In those elections, it fell under the control of New Alliance Party activists, and its 1988 presidential nominee was Lenora Fulani.

States in which Americans Elect is currently ballot-qualified are Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

13 Responses

  1. Demo Rep

    How many *assumed name* *persons* go OUT of business each year ???

    Corporations, partnerships, etc.

  2. I am Supreme Leader of the Arizona Americans Elect Party and these so-called “leaders” of a nonexistent national organization will be utterly annihilated if they dare try to mess with our organization in my Grand Canyon State domain. These infidels will suffer the mother of all electoral law defeats.

  3. P.S. We have God and Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett on our side.

  4. Richard Grayson has a great sense of humor. As a former Green Party candidate I am inclined to chuckle.

    AE continues to surprise.

    Thanks for the news.

    Ivy League lawyers on crack.

  5. To be clear.

    I mean Americans Elect and their lawyers are on silly aka on crack.

    They show such disrespect for the entire process.

    They show disrespect for Law and Order.

  6. You know what’s funny about this whole thing? AE got Federal permission to use their remaining donations to repay large donors with interest.

    In the shortened version: AE just became the first political Certificate of Deposit.

    What a disgrace.

  7. Richard Winger

    #8, thanks for that link. It is worth noting, though, that it is news from March 2012, not recent news. I doubt anyone is contributing to Americans Elect anymore nowadays.

  8. @8, I can’t find the more recent article that came out shortly after AE decided against nominating a candidate.

    Another article from the same period.

    http://reason.com/blog/2012/03/12/americans-electto-pay-off-big-donors-to

    But, when they halted the process, they still had several million dollars in unused donations.

    It is certainly doubtful anybody is still donating to AE, but I for one would be incensed to find that my donations towards a viable 3rd party was being used to pay large donors, with interest, their original loans.

    Like I said, AE turned into an investment opportunity for someone who had the money and got in on the ground level of formation.

  9. Michael

    Somehow, the way politics is nowadays, I’m not the least bit surprised. The only thing left is see if the Americans Elect state parties name anyone for president this year. Green? Constitution? Socialist?

  10. ETJB

    I never really expected the American Elect campaign to really go anywhere.

    They had an awfully vague notion of whether or not they were going to be a party or an interest group or something like the defunct New Party.

    What little of a policy platform that I could find was also very, very vague. Chatting with folks who gave money and were volunteers suggested it was liberal, conservative, centrist, green, libertarian, etc.

    This can be a warning sign for any ‘new’ political party or movement because it may just be a tool for someone to raise money to buy a new condo or boat.

    Major party candidates/non-candidates can do this as well. I was pretty sure that Sarah Palin was not running for the GOP nomination and some that did file the paperwork were probably just trying to increase their lecture fees or get a book/tv deal.

  11. Brad M

    #8 This was always the case that individual donations received by AE were reimbursing the upfront backers who provided seed money. This is old news and in fact not news.

  12. [...] with his pick, and Christie’s aggressive style probably was too risky in Romney’s eyes. Americans Elect:¬†They already announced their failure and closed shop, but now the national leaders have to deal [...]

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