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California Senate Passes Bill, Easing Definition of “Political Party”

On August 25, the California Senate passed AB 2351 unanimously. This is the bill that eases the definition of “political party”. Now it goes back to the Assembly for concurrence in a minor amendment. Thanks to C. T. Weber for this news.

11 Responses

  1. Would I be correct then to say that such would lower their requirement would then be to have at least roughly 60,000 (technically like 58,500) voters register with that new party/sign petition saying they will? Opposed to the current 170,000+?

    • Richard Winger

      The current registration requirement is about 104,000 members. The independent presidential petition is the 170,000 figure.

    • Jim Riley

      The current threshold is based on 1% of votes cast in the previous gubernatorial election. This would be changed to 1/3% of the number registered.

      Around 10 million voted in 2010, so the current threshold is around 101,000. There are 17.7 million currently registered, which would correspond to 59,000.

      Voter turnout in 2014 could be less than in 2010 (no senate race and no Meg-a-Millions running), and registration may continue to bloat, so the reduction may be even less.

      The bill does not change the petition method which was used by Americans Elect, and requires signatures from 10% of the number that voted in the last gubernatorial election. It does change the wording on the petition. The current language says the signers “represent” the new party, while the language in the bill would say that they “support qualification” of the new party. The SOS recommends such a petition be submitted by September 2015 in order for a party to qualify for the June 2016 primary, or February 2016 in order to qualify for the November 2016 presidential election.

  2. Jim Riley

    The concept of a party qualifying to participate in a Top 2 Open Primary is laughable.

    In ‘Libertarian Party of California v Eu’, there was never a question that the Libertarian Party had a right to support the candidacy of David Bergland, or that Bergland was registered with the Libertarian Party. What the court determined was that the basis for Bergland qualifying for the ballot was an independent petition, rather than nomination by a party in a party primary.

    But in 2014, the basis for a candidate appearing on the ballot is that they (1) paid the filing fee (or an in lieu of petition); and (2) gathered a few dozen signatures on a petition. It specifically does not indicate that the party the candidate prefers, prefers or supports the candidate.

    What the State of California is doing is preventing some candidates from expressing their political beliefs because those beliefs may not be as popular as others. “No Party Preference” in California means the candidate refused to state a preference for a state-authorized political position.

    This is a gross violation of the 1st Amendment. It is not a time, place, or manner regulation, when you permit some candidates to express their political beliefs at the same time (June), place (ballot), and manner (I prefer X Party), and deny it to others.

    It is also in violation of the California Constitution, that the State not have regard for the party preference of candidates. If the Secretary of State tells a candidate, “with regard to your party preference for the Constitution Party, you may not have that appear on the ballot”, they are taking into account or regard, the party preference and political belief of the candidate.

    What rationale can the state offer?

    They might have trouble translating party names into a myriad of languages? They somehow manage with profession/occupation/office designation. They even permit candidates to choose a preferred translation/transliteration of their name into mandarin.

    Ballot crowding? It takes just as much space to express “No Preference” as preference. And they can’t discourage candidacies by making by handicapping candidates.

    Maybe California would argue that because they can no longer use literacy tests that they have to dumb down the ballot, lest they confuse voters with concepts such as Justice or Constitution.

    • Richard Winger

      We agree. Except that the presidential election is outside the top-two system, so there has to be a law governing presidential elections.

      • Jim Riley

        It doesn’t make sense for presidential parties to be based on performance in gubernatorial elections. Any vote test should be based on the previous presidential general election.

        A presidential candidate should be able to qualify with an application, an affidavit from the vice-presidential candidate and 55 presidential elector candidates, along with a petition for each (40 signatures per congressional district, 65 for the two state wide). If the elector candidates have a preference for the same political party on their registration, that would appear on the ballot.

        Presidential primaries should be direct primaries. If political parties wanted to use the result of the primary for some national convention fandango that would be up to them.

        If a national party chooses someone else for its candidate (eg 2008 when California Democrats chose Clinton), the national candidate would be able to qualify by petition. There might be a procedure for a primary winner to withdraw, though not be replaced.

        • Demo Rep

          Every election is NEW — having ZERO to do with any prior election – except for the number of actual voters in the election areas involved.

          MUCH TOO difficult for the SCOTUS MORONS to understand — due in part to the MORON lawyers doing election law ballot access cases since 1968 — a mere 46 LONG years ago.

    • Demo Rep

      Since 1929 the gerrymander Donkeys care ONLY abuot ONE thing – getting economic LOOT from the Tax Slaves and moron creditors who make loans to governments.

      The top 2 stuff, esp.in CA, is a major part of the LOOT operation.
      —-
      P.R. and nonpartisan App.V.

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