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Nebraska Bill to Eliminate Primary Screen-Out for Independent Presidential Candidates

Published on January 23, 2013, by in General.

Nebraska State Senator John Murante (R-Gretna) has introduced LB 349, which changes procedures for independent presidential candidates to get on the ballot. Existing law does not permit an independent presidential candidate to begin to circulate a petition until after the May primary, and does not permit primary voters to sign. The bill eliminates the restriction on which registered voters can sign. It also eliminates the restriction on when such a petition may begun to circulate. However, it moves the deadline from the end of August to August 1.

The Secretary of State backs this bill. The current restriction that bars primary voters from signing for an independent presidential candidate causes extra work for the petition-verification process. Also the restriction is irrational, because there is no primary screenout for any other petitions in Nebraska. Petitions to create a new ballot-qualified party, and petitions for independent candidates for other office, have no primary screenout.

If the bill passes, Texas will be the only state that bars primary voters from signing any type of ballot access petition.

5 Responses

  1. Jim Riley

    Texas does not have a party ballot access petition.

    Texas does restrict voters to participating in the nominating activities of a single party. These activities include voting in a primary, running for nomination, signing a petition, participating in a party convention.

    Texas does not require pre-qualification of parties. A new party simply files its rules with the Secretary of State with its intent to nominate by convention. If a sufficient number of voters show up for the precinct conventions of the party, then the nominees of the party appear on the general election ballot.

    Texas also permits voters who have not participated in the nominating activities of a party to sign a supplemental petition. This is equivalent to saying they would have attended a precinct convention of that party. Since signing the supplemental petition is tantamount to actually participating in the nominating activities of the party, the normal restrictions on cross-party participation apply.

  2. Richard Winger

    #1, there is reality, and then there is the scenario you describe. The reality is that an unqualified party that seeks a place on the Texas ballot holds a meeting (which generally has a slight attendance) and then it launches a petition drive. When the Green Party got on the ballot in Texas with a petition drive in 2010, the party did it with paid petition circulators. The ratio of people who attended the Green Party state convention to the number of people who signed the Green Party petition was probably 1:1,000.

    People who sign a petition to get a previously unqualified party on the ballot in Texas are not participating in the affairs of that party. They are merely trying to be helpful and are willing to sign a petition so that the group can be on the ballot. I hope you learn about petitioning in Texas, possibly if you try petitioning yourself sometime, or at least by getting into a conversation with a professional petitioner who has worked in Texas.

  3. Andy

    Ending the primary screen out is good, but moving the deadline from August 31st to August 1st is not good.

  4. Demo Rep

    How many EVIL, corrupt and unequal ballot access machinations are currently in force in all of the EVIL robot party hack ANTI-Democracy minority rule gerrymander regimes in the 50 States, DC, colonies ???

  5. Jim Riley

    #2 It is not attendance at the state convention that matters, it is attendance at the precinct conventions, which is equivalent to voting in a primary.

    The American Party of Texas secured about 1/3 of their signatures at precinct conventions. If a new political party actually attempted to organize locally, they would be better off.

    Were the people who paid for the Green Party petition drive merely being helpful?

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