On April 15, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed S3149, the National Popular Vote Plan bill for presidential elections. New York is the first new state to have passed the plan this year.
The Los Angeles Times of April 15 has a story, “Top-two primary might be bad for small-party candidates.” It has a picture of Cindy Sheehan, a member of the Peace & Freedom Party who is running for Governor of California this year. The link may work for readers, or it might result in the reader being told to become a subscriber in order to gain access to the article. Try this link. The story does not mention any information about how top-two has worked in Washington state.
The story is noteworthy because it quotes an advisor to former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger as saying, “Obviously, the need for third parties, smaller parties, to remain active participants is important; and as we implement this system, the need to make appropriate adjustments will become apparent as the system unfolds.” This is the very time when Governor Schwarzenegger or anyone associated with him has even acknowledged the existence of minor parties.
The Sunday New York Times, for April 6, has this essay by history professor Molly Worthen. It is about how the Progressive Party of Vermont was instrumental in causing Vermont to pass a single-payer health system, and it makes the general point that new and minor parties not only introduce new ideas, but they sometimes have enough clout to get those ideas passed into law. The article says a similar example was how the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation Party of Saskatchewan had a similar effect in 1946, which eventually influenced not only policy in that province, but in the entire nation. Thanks to Roy Christman for the link.
One of the most interesting U.S. House races in California in 2014 is the 33rd, where incumbent Henry Waxman is not running for re-election. On April 13, the first debate in that race was held by the Pacific Palisades Democratic Club. Not surprisingly, the Club, being an arm of the Democratic Party, only invited Democrats into that debate. There are 18 candidates on the ballot, including ten Democrats. The Club only invited the four Democrats who have raised at least $200,000: Ted Lieu, Wendy Greuel, Matt Miller, and David Kannoth.
Independent candidate Marianne Williamson has raised several hundred thousand dollars, but she was not invited because she is not a Democrat. This event illustrates one of the many faults with a top-two system held for a partisan office. Williamson has an uphill battle placing first or second in the top-two primary being held June 3; polls suggest the top two spots will go to Lieu and Greuel. Obviously, being excluded from debates does not help Williamson.
Sunset Hills, Missouri, held non-partisan municipal elections on April 8. Two-term Mayor William J. Nolan, running for re-election, was the only name on the ballot for Mayor. Also, incumbent Alderman Art Havener was the only name on the ballot for the Fourth Ward race. However, both were defeated by write-in candidates.
The deadline for getting a name on the ballot was January 25. After the deadline had passed, a contentious issue arose over whether to move a commuter parking lot to a location a mile away, and to replace the original parking lot with a store. The incumbents favored the move, so a slate of candidates opposed to the idea filed as write-in candidates. The write-in candidates filed for write-in status on March 22, ahead of the write-in filing deadline of March 28. Two of the write-in candidates were elected. See this story. Sunset Hills has a population of 8,496.
This incident shows why it is bad public policy to put the deadline for filing as a write-in candidate months before the election itself. For example, no one can file as a write-in in Ohio unless they do so 72 days before the election. Thanks to Ken Bush for the link.
Here is the final brief in the Sixth Circuit in Libertarian Party of Ohio v Husted, 14-3230. It makes good use of the April 2 U.S. Supreme Court decision McCutcheon v FEC, and good use of a March 31 decision of a U.S. District Court in Delaware in another disclosure case, Delaware Strong Families v Biden. Also, it makes good use of the Ohio government’s recent brief in the pending U.S. Supreme Court case Susan B. Anthony List v Driehaus, where the issue is Ohio’s law criminalizing making false statements about a candidate or ballot measure that is designed to influence voters.