Political Scientist Ray La Raja, an expert on campaign finance, writes for WGBH that the recent easing of limits on contributions to political parties is beneficial to society. Thanks to Rick Hasen for the link. UPDATE: this article includes a chart showing the details of the new limits.
At the November 4, 2014 election, 4.6% of the voters supported minor party nominees or independent candidates for the office at the top of the ballot. “Office at the top of the ballot” means Governor, in states that elected a Governor. In other states, it is U.S. Senate. For the five states that had neither Governor nor U.S. Senate on the ballot, it means the office actually at the top of the ballot: U.S. House in North Dakota and Washington, Attorney General in Utah, Auditor in Missouri, and Secretary of State in Indiana. The District of Columbia is included and the vote for Mayor is used.
This is the lowest “other” share in a midterm election since 1994, when the “other” vote was 4.5%. One reason the 2014 “other” vote was lower is that late in the campaign season, independent candidates for Governor in South Carolina and Connecticut said they were withdrawing and recommended that the voters vote for one of the major party nominees. In Maine, the independent candidate for Governor said he was not withdrawing but said all his supporters who felt he wouldn’t win should vote for a major party nominee.
Another reason the “other” vote was lower is that California, which had provided 539,645 “other” votes for Governor in 2010, had since then switched to the top-two system, so it was literally impossible for any California voter to vote for anyone for Governor other than a Democrat and a Republican.
Besides California, the other states in which only a Republican and a Democrat were on the ballot for the top office are Alabama, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, and Washington..
Jurisdictions in which the 2014 “other” vote exceeds 10% of the total vote cast are: Alaska, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Missouri, New York, Rhode Island, and Wyoming.
This article gives poll results for the May 2015 British parliamentary election. It shows five parties have at least 5% of the vote, but no party has more than 33%.
The April 2015 special election for Florida State House, district 64, will include only one candidate listed on the ballot, running against a write-in candidate. See this story. It is the same candidate who already won the seat in the November 4, 2014 election. His election was determined by the legislature to be void because his primary had been open to all registered voters, even though a write-in candidate had filed to run against him in the general election.
President Obama Signs Bill that Relaxes Some Limits on Individual Donations to National Political Committees
On December 16, President Obama signed the spending bill that includes a provision to make possible larger donations from individuals to national committees of political parties.
Ninth Circuit En Banc Panel Hears Arguments on Whether Initiative Proponents Can Avoid Having their Names on Petition
On December 16, an en banc panel of the Ninth Circuit heard arguments in Chula Vista Citizens for Jobs v Norris, 12-55726. The issue is whether proponents of a local initiative have a privacy right to keep their names off the initiative petition. The proponents formed an organization and the organization is willing to be listed on the petition as the proponent, but state law requires that individuals must be listed as the proponents. See this account of the oral argument.
The original Ninth Circuit panel had struck down the law by a vote of 2-1, but then the government obtained a rehearing en banc.