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California Ballot Access Improvement Bill Introduced

On February 21, California Assemblymember Richard Gordon introduced AB 2351, to ease the definition of “political party” to a group that has registration membership of one-third of 1% of the state total. That would be approximately 60,000 registered members. Existing law requires registration of 1% of the last gubernatorial vote, which is currently 103,004, but which will probably rise to approximately 110,000 in November 2014. Thanks to C. T. Weber for this news. UPDATE: here is a link to the text of the bill.

The existing law also says a qualified party is one that polled 2% of the vote for any statewide race in the last midterm election, and that is the provision in the existing law that generally is used to keep minor parties on the ballot. But that part of the law doesn’t work any longer, because minor party statewide candidates realistically can’t hope to appear on the November ballot any longer, because of Proposition 14, the top-two system. Another part of AB 2351 moves the 2% vote test from the general election to the primary election.

7 Responses

  1. Deemer from California

    Richard:

    1) Does the bill also retain the 1/15 of 1% registration amount?

    2) Also, should this bill passes as currently written, would it be possible for a non-ballot qualified party to become ballot qualified if one of its candidates drew 2% in a state-wide June primary and its then current registration was also over 1/15 of 1%, without the candidate’s party name listed on the ballot?

    • Mark Seidenberg

      Charles Deemer

      Answer to your question is NO! As long as the primaries
      are not based on running with a party primary, it is a
      no go in the general election.

      I note that the Constitution Party of California is up
      in its registration from 157 to 355. But that increase
      is not with the use of HAVA forms. My guess the real
      number of party membership in the Constitution Party
      of California is currently well under the 157, because
      on or after January 1, 2011, only electors using
      the 2007 circa HAVA forms became members of the Constitution Party of California. The increase is party preference only See CA Election Code 2151(d).
      .
      You should read CALIFORNIA DEMOCRATIC PARTY v.
      JONES, that was before the United States Supreme Court.

      Sincerely, Mark Seidenberg
      Vice Chairman, American Independent Party of California

  2. Mark Seidenberg

    Richard Winger,

    It is not 104,004. Please change to 103,004. That is the
    current correct number. The current 1 percent is at 176,603.
    That is up from 171,866 of circa 31 December 2010. The figure
    that came from SofS was 59.59 % of the registration 15 days
    before the election in November, 2010.

    Next registration will have to determine who of the persons
    that made a party preference is a member of the qualified
    political parties.

    I was informed that this bill will not get the support of the
    County Election Officials. Therefore, do you see this bill
    going anywhere?

    Sincerely, Mark Seidenberg
    Vice Chairman, American Independent Party of California.

  3. Mark Seidenberg

    C. T. Weber

    Thank you for moving this bill. However, it does not address
    who can sign nomination papers, viz., those with affiliations
    to the party.

    The bill does give the party the right to determine if the candidate is wanted by the party.

    Sincerely, Mark Seidenberg

  4. Richard Winger

    Dear Mark, thank you for correctly pointing out that the current registration requirement is 103,004, not 104,004. I have now fixed it.

    Leaders of CACAO have told me they don’t have any position on the bill yet.

    • Mark Seidenberg

      Richard Winger,

      When I was in Inyo County a few weeks back, I was informed that
      the four times in four years would not get by the County elections official. This time it is once in four years. It might work.

      Sincerely, Mark Seidenberg

  5. Jim Riley

    California has no constitutional basis for denying a candidate the expression of his personal political beliefs on the basis of the popularity of those beliefs.

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