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.

Louisiana Election Returns, for Two U.S. House Special Elections

Ballot Access News

On March 20, Louisiana held two special elections to fill vacancies in the U.S. House. See the results here.

Gallup Poll Finds Support for a New Major Party Higher than Ever Before

Ballot Access News

Ever since 2003, Gallup Polls has been asking whether respondents favor a new major political party. The latest poll shows 62% say “Yes”, which is higher than ever before, although it was almost as high in September 2017. For the first time, a majority of self-identified Republicans favor the concept. See the details here. Thanks to Political Wire for the link. The poll was conducted January 21-February 2.

New California Registration Data

Ballot Access News

On March 19, the California Secretary of State released a new registration tally, the first since October 2020. See it here. Percentages are: Democratic 46.17%; Republican 24.14%; American Independent 3.07%; Libertarian .92%; Peace & Freedom .48%; Green .39%; unknown .56%; independent and miscellaneous 24.28%.

In October 2020, the percentages were: Democratic 46.13%; Republican 24.19%; American Independent 2.93%; Libertarian .89%; Peace & Freedom .47%; Green .38%; unknown .50%; independent and miscellaneous 24.51%.

The new tally measures voter registration as it was in February 2021. The Peoples Party had asked to have its registration tallied only ten days before the date of the new tally, so it has its first total, but it is very low because it had just got started. The new report shows that the Peoples Party has 332 registrants. It needs approximately 73,000 registrants to become qualified. The Common Sense Party has 8,222; the American Solidarity Party has 117; the California National Party has 425.

News Story Says New Jersey Libertarians Will Have More Candidates than Usual in 2021 State Election

Ballot Access News

This Patch story says the New Jersey Libertarian Party expects to have a bigger number of candidates this year than it usually does. In 2021, New Jersey elects a Governor, all of its Assembly members, and all its State Senators.

Friday, March 5, 2021

Arkansas Bill Making Presidential Ballot Access More Difficult Passes Legislature

Ballot Access News

On March 3, the Arkansas Senate passed HB 1338 by a vote of 29-3. It raises the number of signatures for independent presidential candidates, and the presidential nominees of unqualified parties, from 1,000 signatures to 5,000.

The only three “no” votes were cast by Senators Joyce Elliott, Jim Hendren, and Clarke Tucker. Hendren is a Republican; the other two are Democrats.

HR 1’s Campaign Finance Program: 'A Reform that Doesn’t Reform'

Editorial by Howie Hawkins, Counterpunch.org

HR 1, the 'For the People Act', is an omnibus voting reform bill that has many progressive measures concerning voter registration, voter roll purges, voter-verified paper ballots, early voting, no-excuse absentee ballots, presidential candidate tax returns, gerrymandering, and more. According to reports, the Democratic leadership will whip their members hard to pass the bill through the House and Senate in March.

But progressives should say not so fast. Buried in the middle of the bill is a public campaign finance program that is merely a public funding palliative that fails to stop the overwhelming domination of big private money in federal elections.

Socialist Workers Party Will Petition to be on Ballot in 2021 New Jersey Gubernatorial Election

Ballot Access News

The Socialist Workers Party will petition in New Jersey this year to be on the ballot for Governor and Lieutenant Governor. See this story. The requirement is 800 signatures, due in June. If the petition succeeds, this will be the first time the SWP has been on the ballot for Governor of New Jersey since 2005.

SAM Party Has a Wealthy Donor

Ballot Access News

According to this Axios story, the SAM Party has a wealthy benefactor, Charles W. Wall.

The story is somewhat misleading when it mentions the SAM Party in connection with the 2018 Connecticut gubernatorial election. SAM Party endorsed an independent candidate, Oz Griebel. Although the story is technically accurate, an ordinary reader might get the impression that SAM was on the Connecticut ballot in 2018, but it was not. Thanks to Political Wire for the link.

Monday, March 1, 2021

Some Trump Supporters Plan to Qualify Patriot Party, Despite Disinterest from Trump Himself

Ballot Access News

According to this Detroit News story, some supporters of former President Donald Trump are working to form Patriot Parties in their home states, even though Donald Trump himself in no way is encouraging this activity. Thanks to Thomas Jones for the link.

Iowa Legislature Passes Bill Making Ballot Access Worse

Ballot Access News

On the evening of Wednesday, February 24, the Iowa House passed SF 413, and the bill has now been sent to the Governor. The vote was 57-37. It makes changes to many types of election law. For minor party and independent candidate petitions, the bill increases their severity.

North Carolina Will Not Erase Green and Constitution Party Registrants Until June 2021 at the Earliest

Ballot Access News

On February 23, the North Carolina State Board of Elections determined that the Green and Constitution Parties can keep their registrants, at least until June 2021. Both parties lost their qualified status in November 2020 for failing to poll 2% for either President or Governor, and also failing to have their presidential nominees on the ballot in at least 35 states. But the party’s registrants will not be forced to register some other way, at least for a few months.

Both parties will try to petition onto the ballot again by June 2021. They each need 13,757 signatures. Both parties have begun their petitioning.

North Carolina is one of the few states that forces members of parties that lose their status to eventually choose another affiliation. Most states do not disturb the registrants of disqualified parties, and they remain in those parties as long as they wish to.

New Kansas Registration Data

Ballot Access News

The Kansas Secretary of State has released these statewide active voter registration totals as of February 1, 2021: Republican 871,817; Democratic 508,808; Libertarian 21,297; independent and miscellaneous 537,698.

Percentages are: Republican 44.95%; Democratic 26.23%; Libertarian 1.10%; independent and miscellaneous 27.72%.

Percentages as of October 12, 2020, were: Republican 45.10%; Democratic 26.53%; Libertarian 1.06%; independent and miscellaneous 27.32%.

Justin Amash Gives First On-Air Political Interview Since Leaving Congress

Ballot Access News

Former Congressman Justin Amash, a member of the Libertarian Party, has this interview on WZZM, a station in Grand Rapids, Michigan. It is his first interview since he left congress.

Kanye West Said to Believe that his Independent Presidential Run was the Fatal Blow to his Marriage

Ballot Access News

This story says that Kanye West is reported to believe that his independent presidential candidacy was the fatal blow to his marriage.

Virginia Constitution Party Will Petition for Virginia Statewide 2021 Offices

Ballot Access News

The Virginia Constitution Party has nominated a full slate of statewide candidates, and is about to start petitioning to get them on the ballot. The Constitution Party has never before completed a statewide petition in Virginia, except for President. The nominees each need their own separate petition. They are Timothy Phipps for Governor, Sheila Tittle for Lieutenant Governor, and David A. McKelvey for Attorney General. Each petition needs 2,000 signatures.

The number of signatures was reduced last month by a lawsuit in state court. The number of signatures is lower this year than at any time since 1969. Back before 1970, the statewide non-presidential petitions was 250 signatures.

Arizona Supreme Court Still Hasn’t Explained Why it Removed Kanye West from the November 2020 Ballot

Ballot Access News

On September 8, 2020, the Arizona Supreme Court ruled that Kanye West should not be on the November 2020 ballot as an independent for president, even though it appeared he had more than enough signatures. The court did not explain why it did that, but said, “An opinion will follow.”

It has now been almost six months, and the court has not yet issued its explanation. The basis seems to be that his candidates for presidential elector did not file campaign finance documents, yet no presidential elector candidates had ever before been required to file such documents, and the Secretary of State’s website, which has very clear instructions for independent presidential candidates, did not say the elector candidates need to file such documents.