Wednesday, March 31, 2021

New York Governor Signs Bill Cutting Signatures by 50% for 2021 Only

Ballot Access News

On March 29, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed A4686. For 2021 only, it cuts the number of signatures for independent candidates, and the nominees of unqualified parties, by 50%.

There are no statewide offices up in New York in 2021. The biggest offices up in 2021 are the three citywide New York city offices, including Mayor. Those petitions drop from 7,500 to 3,750 signatures. Thanks to Joe Burns for this news.

Three Qualified Parties Choose Nominees for New Mexico’s Special U.S. House Election

Ballot Access News

New Mexico holds a special election on June 1 to fill the vacancy in the U.S. House seat, First District. The law provides that all qualified parties choose their nominee in special elections by convention, not primary. This news story says the Republican and Libertarian Parties have recently chosen a nominee, and the Democratic Party will do so on Tuesday, March 30.

U.S. District Court Invalidates Georgia 5% Petition for Minor Parties for U.S. House

Ballot Access News

On March 29, U.S. District Court Judge Leigh Martin May, an Obama appointee, issued an opinion in Cowen v Raffensperger, n.d., 1:17cv-4660. It invalidates the 5% petition for minor party and independent candidates for U.S. House, combined with the filing fee, which is 3% of the office’s annual salary. The opinion suggests that because Georgia has a 1% petition for non-presidential statewide petitions, the state would be hard-pressed to justify requiring a petition greater than 1%.

All of these petition percentages are based on the number of registered voters.

The opinion asks both sides to submit further briefs by the next three weeks, to discuss what the interim remedy should be. The legislature adjourns for the year on March 31, so obviously the legislature can’t write a new law this year.

This case was filed by the Georgia Libertarian Party in 2017. UPDATE: here is a news story.

Delaware Green Party Shores Up its Qualified Status with a Registration Drive

Ballot Access News

Delaware law says a party that has registration membership of at least one-tenth of 1% of the state total is ballot-qualified. The Delaware Green Party registration has increased from 716 members in November 2020, to 749 in March 2021. This increase substantially re-qualifies the party. The requirement is always changing, but currently it is 750 members.

Delaware doesn’t have special elections for legislative vacancies, so it almost never has special elections of any kind, unless it needs to hold a special election for U.S. House, which almost never happens, since it only has one seat. So it is somewhat of a moot point whether a party is qualified during an odd year. However, it is very difficult for a minor party to try to increase its registration in an election year, because for most months of an election year, it is not possible for voters to switch parties. Therefore the Green Party is wise to have done a registration drive during 2021.

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Virginia Governor Signs Bill Moving Non-Presidential Primary, and Non-Presidential Petition Deadline, to a Later Date

Ballot Access News

On March 18, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam signed SB 1148. It moves the non-presidential primary from the second week in June to the third week in June. Because the petition deadline for non-presidential independent candidates and the nominees of unqualified party is on primary date, the bill automatically extends the petition deadline a week.

As far as is known, this is the first bill this year that has been signed into law, that improves ballot access for minor party and independent candidates. The bill takes effect too late to affect the 2021 election, but it will help in 2022 and thereafter.

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

West Virginia Independent Party Sets State Convention for April 10

Ballot Access News

The West Virginia Independent Party will hold a state convention on April 10. See the party’s website here. The Independent Party of West Virginia is the only state party in the nation in which there is still no resolution as to whether it is ballot-qualified or not. The Secretary of State still hasn’t said whether the party is recognized. It did poll over 1% of the gubernatorial vote in November 2020, so it should be qualified. However the votes were write-in votes. Thanks to Jeff Becker for this news.

Monday, March 22, 2021

New York Updated Registration Data

Ballot Access News

New York state issued a new voter registration tally as of February 21, 2021. The state’s website only shows the data for the qualified parties. For the unqualified parties, the Board furnished the data by e-mail: Independence 411,681; Green 23,856; Libertarian 21,220; SAM 622.

The percentages for February 2021 are: Democratic 50.05%; Republican 22.11%; Independence 3.31%; Conservative 1.25%; Working Families .36%; Green .19%; Libertarian .17%; SAM .01%; independent and miscellaneous 22.56%.

The percentages in October 2020 were: Democratic 50.06%; Republican 22.20%; Independence 3.51%; Conservative 1.22%; Working Families .33%; Green .20%; Libertarian .16%; SAM .01%; independent and miscellaneous 22.31%.

U.S. Supreme Court Refuses to Hear General Election Presidential Debates Case

Ballot Access News

On March 22, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear Level the Playing Field v Federal Election Commission, 20-649. The plaintiffs included the Libertarian Party and the Green Party. The case challenged the FEC’s determination that the Commission on Presidential Debates is not breaking federal campaign laws when the Commission pays for the costs of general election debates with contributions from corporations. Federal law does not allow corporations to donate to federal candidates.