ON February 16, radio talk show host Michael Smerconish interviewed State Senator Bob Krist for 10 minutes, about Nebraska ballot access. Smerconish supports independent candidates and opened the interview by expressing dismay that Krist had abandoned his independent run for Governor and instead is seeking the Democratic nomination. Hear the interview at this link.
The 2016 Nebraska law change for the number of signatures needed by non-presidential independent candidates changed the law from 4,000, to 10% of the number of registered voters. Confusion about the exact number required in 2018 is because the law does not indicate the date of the registration tally, to figure out the number. Apparently the requirement is dependent on when the petition is submitted. Nebraska has a new tally of registered voters every month. Although the two men seemed to believe the requirement is approximately 120,000, is the petition were submitted on the due date, chances are it would require 130,000. The petition is due September 1. Probably if someone did comply with the requirement, the state would be hard pressed to check the signatures in time, if the petition were submitted on the deadline.
Senator Krist praises the Nebraska Democratic Party for allowing independents to vote in its gubernatorial primary in 2018. Smerconish expressed surprise that the party was permitted to make that decision. Smerconish had not previously known about the 1986 U.S. Supreme Court decision Tashjian v Republican Party of Connecticut, which said that parties can decide for themselves whether to let independents vote in their primaries.
This newspaper story explains the latest developments on determining who the board members are, on the North Carolina State Board of Elections. The Board still has staff and most of its functions are being carried out. For example, candidates have been filing to run in the Democratic, Republican, and Libertarian primaries. But the Board staff has taken the position that because there are no board members, the staff doesn’t have the authority to declare that the Green Party has complied with the law on how a party becomes qualified.
The District of Columbia holds partisan primaries for the Democratic, Republican, Green, and Libertarian Parties on June 19. The deadline for a candidate to file for those primaries is March 21. Each candidate needs a petition.
So far, there are candidates who have filed in three of the party primaries, but so far no one has filed for a citywide partisan office in the Republican Party. See the D.C. Board of Elections link to primary candidates so far. Links to the candidate filings are in the lower half of the page. The third link down is for the Republican primary.
The citywide offices are: Delegate to the U.S. House, Mayor, Chairman of the city council, at-large member of the city council, shadow U.S. Senator, shadow U.S. House member.
Wyoming law says voters can sign only one independent candidate petition for any particular office, but gives no guidance as to which signatures count, when a voter signs for more than one candidate. HB 40, introduced by the House Corporations, Elections & Political Subdivisions Committee says that independent candidate petitions should ask the signer to record the date of signing. Then, if that voter signed for more than one, only the signature with the earlier date counts.
In 2016, many voters appear to have signed for Rocky De La Fuente, Jill Stein, and Evan McMullin. The Secretary of State counted the signature that was submitted first. Because De La Fuente and Stein submitted their petitions earlier than McMullin, McMullin was disadvantaged. Many of his otherwise valid signatures were disqualified because he didn’t submit his petition until the very last day.
On February 15, the West Virginia House passed HB 4434. It says that only people who are not registered in a qualified party may be independent candidates. The vote was 93-1. The only legislator who voted “no” was Delegate Mike Pushkin (D-Charleston).
Rhode Island Representative John G. Edwards (D-Portsmouth) has introduced HB 7509. It would expand the petitioning period for a petition to qualify a new party. It says such a petition may begin to circulate for a future election, on the day after the prior election. In other words, if this bill is enacted, a petition to create a party for the 2020 election could start to circulate on November 7, 2018.
Current law says the petition can’t circulate until January 1 of the election year it is intended for, but that law was declared unconstitutional several years ago in a case won by the Moderate Party.