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  Ballot Access News is edited and published by Richard Winger, the nation's leading expert on ballot access legal issues.

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Oregon Working Families Party Cross-Endorses Two Independent Party Nominees

Published on September 28, 2014,

The Oregon Working Families Party, like the Working Families Party in other states, generally nominates individuals who are also Democratic Party nominees. The Working Families Party only bothers to qualify as a party in states that allow fusion.

However, this year, the Oregon Working Families Party has nominated two member-nominees of the Independent Party. See this story. This is believed to be the first time the Working Families Party in any state has ever nominated a member of a party other than the Democratic, Republican, or Working Families Parties, for any federal or state office.

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Former Alaska Republican Party Chair Joins Constitution Party

Published on September 28, 2014,

On September 27, the Alaska Constitution Party held a state convention. Russ Millette attended and filled out a new voter registration form, joining the Constitution Party and leaving the Republican Party.

Millette had been elected State Chair of the Alaska Republican Party in April 2012. He was a Ron Paul supporter. In January 2013, the state Republican Executive Committee removed him as chair.

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Two Relatively Inactive Parties in South Carolina Take Steps to Remain Ballot-Qualified

Published on September 28, 2014,

South Carolina has one of the nation’s most lenient laws on how a party remains on the ballot. A party continues to remain on the ballot if it runs at least one candidate for any partisan office, every four years.

The Labor Party and the Independence Party each have one candidate in South Carolina this year. Neither party had any candidates in 2012, so they each needed to run someone this year to remain ballot-qualified.

The Labor Party is running Harold Geddings III for U.S. House, 2nd district. See here for information on his campaign. The Labor Party petitioned for ballot status in 2006, but did not run its first candidate until 2010, when it ran Brett Bursey for State House, 69th district. He got 3.06% in a race against both major parties. The South Carolina Labor Party is the only state unit of the Labor Party formed in 1996 that ever obtained a place on the ballot. The national Labor Party was founded by Tony Mazzocchi, a prominent labor leader. Unlike the Working Families Party, the Labor Party has never supported Democratic nominees.

The Independence Party is running Tony Boyce for State House, district 25. See here for more about his campaign. In 2012 he tried to be a Democratic nominee for State Legislature, but was kept off the primary ballot, along with dozens of other major party members, due to a very confusing campaign finance requirement. Boyce is in a two-person race against a Democrat. The Independence Party of South Carolina, along with the Independence Party of New York city, are the only remaining ballot-qualified parties in the U.S. still controlled by leaders of the old New Alliance Party of Lenora Fulani and Fred Newman. The Independence Party of South Carolina has intervened in the pending lawsuit over whether the Republican Party of Greenville County may have a closed primary for itself. The Independence Party intervened against the Republican Party and on the side of state law.

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Ohio Watchdog Story on Status of Libertarian Ballot Access Fight

Published on September 27, 2014,

The Ohio Watchdog of September 26 has this account of the Libertarian struggle to get its gubernatorial ticket on the November ballot.

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All Nationally-Organized Parties Have Fewer U.S. House Candidates This Year Than in 2012

Published on September 27, 2014,

All nationally-organized political parties, major and minor, have fewer nominees for U.S. House this year than in 2012. Counting the 435 regular seats plus the District of Columbia Delegate seat, the 2014 numbers are: Democrats 400; Republicans 395; Libertarian 122; Green 43: Constitution 13; other parties 38; and 82 independent candidates.

By contrast, in 2012, the numbers were: Republicans 415; Democrats 404; Libertarians 137; Green 59; Constitution 22; other parties 22; and 104 independent candidates. These figures only include candidates who are on the ballot and do not include write-in candidates.

2014 is the first congressional election in which no party with “socialist” in its name is on the ballot for any congressional race. This is a true statement going back to 1890, the first year any state used government-printed ballots in a congressional election.

When a party has more than a single candidate in a particular race, that is still counted as one.

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California Governor Signs Bill Expanding Initiative Circulation Period from 150 to 180 Days, Making Other Changes

Published on September 27, 2014,

On September 27, California Governor Jerry Brown signed SB 1253. It makes several important changes to the statewide initiative process. It expands the period for collecting signatures from 150 days to 180 days. Until the bill was signed, California had the shortest period for collecting signatures for a statewide initiative of any state, except for Massachusetts and Oklahoma.

The measure permits sponsors of an initiative to withdraw their initiative, until 131 days before the election at which it was scheduled to be voted on. Sometimes when the legislature sees that an initiative has qualified, it then is motivated to pass a bill on the same subject. But under the old law, even if that happened and the proponents of the initiative were satisfied with the legislature’s action, they had no ability to withdraw the initiative. The bill makes it a crime for proponents to withdraw an initiative in return for payment.

The bill permits sponsors of the bill to amend their initiative during the first 30 days after it has been approved for circulation. The bill also provides for public hearings during that time, for interested persons to make suggestions.