|This issue was originally printed on blue paper.|
As a result of the large third party vote in the November 5 election, 39 states now have at least one "qualified" party on the ballot, in addition to the Democratic and Republican Parties. "Qualified" means that the third party can nominate candidates for a future election, with no more petitioning than is required of Republican and Democratic candidates.
See below for a chart, showing which third parties are "qualified" in each state.
In Washington state, the Reform Party is now qualified, making it the first third party to enjoy that status in that state since 1924, when the Progressive Party obtained it (that party lost it after the 1926 election). Washington state always defined "party" to be a group which polled at least 10% of the vote for any statewide office, until 1977, when it was lowered to 5%. Despite that liberalization, no group had met the new 5% test until now.
Washington lets qualified parties nominate polling place officials; and lets them have watchers when the ballots are being counted. Candidates for a major party nomination may obtain a place on the primary ballot with no petition. Qualified parties are permitted to elect party officers, at government expense.
In West Virginia, the Libertarian Party became the first qualified party since 1924. Qualified status will last for four years. The party obtained this status by polling over 1% for Governor. Except for Libertarian candidates for Governor this year and in 1980, no third party candidates for Governor have been on the West Virginia ballot since 1936 (this is because ballot access for non-presidential third party candidates in that state is so difficult). (The Libertarian 1980 gubernatorial candidate failed to poll as much as 1% of the vote).
The Reform Party, by polling over 10% of the presidential vote, remains a qualified party in Oklahoma. It is the first party to have met the vote test in Oklahoma, since the ballot access laws were drastically toughened in 1974. Now the state will be forced to print new voter registration forms, listing the Reform Party; and the state will permit taxpayers to deduct contributions to the Reform Party. The party's status lasts two years; to retain it after 1998, it must poll 10% for Governor in 1998.
Technically, in Oklahoma, any group which submits a petition signed by 5% of the last vote cast, becomes a qualified party on the spot. Under Oklahoma law, the Reform and Libertarian Parties should already have been listed on the voter registration form starting in May 1996. However, the state did not follow its own law on this point, which is the subject of a lawsuit (see next story).
The Reform Party, by polling over 2% of the vote for president in Iowa, became the first qualified third party in that state since 1968, when George Wallace's American Independent Party won that status (it lost it after 1970 when it didn't poll 2% for Governor). Iowa forces all voters to register as a member of a qualified party, or as an independent. Now Iowa, like Oklahoma, will be forced to reprint all its registration forms to list "Reform" as an option. The Iowa Reform Party will also be the beneficiary of public financing (thru a state income "check-off") and may designate members of election boards.
The Nebraska Reform Party, by polling over 5% of the vote for president, becomes the first third party to meet that state's vote test since 1968, when George Wallace's American Party met it (it lost it in 1970 by failing to poll 5% for Governor). It can now appoint polling place officials and watchers.
On October 29, the Reform Party filed a lawsuit in federal court against the State Election Board, to force the state to list it on voter registration forms. Reform Party of Oklahoma v Ward, 96-cv-1834-R. The case was assigned to Judge David Russell, the same judge who ruled a few months ago that Oklahoma could no longer automatically put the Democratic Party on the top line of all ballots.
Although Oklahoma law requires all qualified parties to be listed on the forms, the state routinely fails to follow its own law, during the six months between May and November of election years, because the state assumes that any new party which qualified for the ballot, will probably fail to poll 10% of the vote.
The Libertarian Party of Oklahoma (which is no longer a qualified party, since it failed to get 10%) is expected to file a related lawsuit next week. Oklahoma is in the 10th circuit. Under 10th circuit precedent, it is unconstitutional for a state to force voters to register only into qualified parties, or as independents, if those states have computerized voter registration records. Oklahoma does have computerized voter registration records, so in theory, it must let voters register in any party, not just qualified parties.
On November 8, Congressman-elect Ron Paul of Texas (who was the Libertarian presidential candidate in 1988), wrote that he may introduce a variant of the bill introduced in Congress in 1985, 1987, 1989 and 1993, to outlaw restrictive ballot access laws in federal elections for third party and independent candidates. The bill's chief sponsor in the past had been John Conyers of Michigan, and, later, Tim Penny of Minnesota.
On September 24, the Attorney General of New Mexico ruled that a major party (one which nominates by primary) is one which polls 5% for any statewide race (not, one that had polled 5% for President or Governor). The ruling was a boost for the Green Party, since this month, the party polled 11% for Corporation Commissioner (more than enough to retain its status), yet did not poll as much as 5% for president.
On November 5, the 9th circuit upheld the May petition deadline for a new party petition in Arizona. Independent American Party of Arizona v Hull, 96-16221. The decision was written by Judge John Noonan, a Reagan appointee, was co-signed by Judge Betty Fletcher, a Carter appointee, and Melvin Brunetti, a Reagan appointee. It will not be published.
The state had defended the May deadline by arguing that all new parties must participate in a primary. The party had countered this argument, by pointing out that it only wished to run a candidate for president, so there was no need to participate in the September primary (which has nothing to do with the presidential election). The decision seizes on a legal technicality to disregard the party's argument. It says that since this point wasn't made in the opening brief, it can be disregarded.
1. Arizona: on October 18, a U.S. Magistrate ruled that the lawsuit to get Ralph Nader on the ballot as an independent would not be expedited. Therefore, it will be heard in 1997. Campbell v Hull, cv96-444-TC-RTT. The issue is the June petition deadline for independent candidates for president, and a law which makes it illegal for registered members of qualified parties to sign an independent candidate petition.
2. California: (See also this update.) A trial was recently concluded in Bates v Jones, C95-2638, U.S. District Court, Oakland. A decision is expected in the next few months.
Although courts in the past have ruled that nothing in the U.S. Constitution prevents states from passing term limits for their own office-holders, the attack in this case (brought by some legislators) is focused on the California provision that the term limits apply for an individual's entire lifetime.
3. Georgia: On October 21, U.S. District Judge Clarence Cooper, a Clinton appointee, refused to put the Natural Law and U.S. Taxpayers Parties on the Georgia ballot. The case is being appealed. The issue is whether it violated due process for Georgia to invalidate all signatures, on the basis that the notaries public themselves circulated a few petition sheets. The Georgia Secretary of State issued voluminous instructions on how to petition, but did not mention this policy. Natural Law Party of Ga. v Massey, 96-9240.
4. Illinois: (See also this update.) There was a hearing in the 7th circuit on November 6 in Libertarian Party of Illinois v Rednour, 96-1561, over whether the U.S. Supreme Court term limits decision of last year has any implications for ballot access. The judges were Walter Cummings, a Johnson appointee with a good record on ballot access; and Reagan appointees Michael Kanne and Kenneth Ripple.
5. Iowa: On October 9, U.S. District Court Judge Charles Wolle, a Reagan appointee, refused to force Iowa Public TV to invite third party candidates for congress into debates sponsored by that station. Marcus v Iowa Public TV, 4-96-cv-80690. 8th circuit precedent says that candidates who are on the ballot must be invited into debates sponsored by government-owned media, whether those candidates are "viable" or not. Iowa is in the 8th circuit. In this case, Judge Wolle said the Natural Law Party candidate should be excluded because he is not "newsworthy". The party is appealing.
6. Kentucky: On October 18, the Kentucky Supreme Court voted 4-2 to remove Donald Barnard, U.S. Taxpayers Party candidate for the U.S. House, from the ballot. Barnard v Stone, 96-sc-845. The Court said he was short 4 signatures.
Several people who are physically incapacitated, had desired to sign Barnard's petition, so their spouses signed for them. According to old Kentucky precedent, this is permitted. However, the Court felt the old precedent was wrong. Barnard has filed a lawsuit in federal court, arguing that the new rule violates the federal law forbidding discrimination against the handicapped. It will be heard next year. Barnard v Jackson, 3:96cv-694-H.
7. Nebraska: on September 12, a state court ruled that the Republican candidates who received the most write-in votes in the Libertarian Party primary for Congress were not entitled to the Libertarian nomination, since they didn't pay a filing fee upon being notified that they had "won" that primary. Therefore, the Libertarian Party was permitted to choose its own nominees to fill the vacancy. Republican Party v State Canvassers Board, #543, Lancaster County.
8. Pennsylvania: On November 4, the 3rd circuit turned down the government's request for a rehearing in Patriot Party v Allegheny County, 95-3385, the decision which said that Pennsylvania must permit fusion.
10. Texas: on October 29, the U.S. Taxpayers Party voluntarily dismissed its appeal in National Committee of Taxpayers Party v Garza, 96-50348, over whether a state can tell a political party that it cannot nominate a presidential candidate if that candidate ran in the presidential primary of another party.
11. West Virginia: on October 21, the State Supreme Court refused to hear the Green Party's lawsuit against the state's $2,000 filing fee just to be a write-in candidate. State ex rel Reed v Hechler, no. 23788. It is likely that Court would have heard the case, except that Nader supporters forgot to file a declaration of write-in candidacy on time.
12. federal law: the Natural Law Party recently filed a lawsuit to prevent TV stations from giving free time to the Democratic and Republican candidates for president. Natural Law Party v FCC, 96-1400, U.S. Court of Appeals, D.C.
See this note about tables.
ALL FIGURES ARE AS OF EARLY AM, NOVEMBER 6th, AND ARE UNOFFICIAL AND INCOMPLETE.
|STATE||REFORM||GREEN||LIBT.||US TAX||NAT LAW||WKR WD||SWP||COLLINS||SOC.|
US Tax = US Taxpayers. Nat Law = Natural Law. Wkr Wd = Workers World. SWP = Socialist Workers. Collins is an independent candidate. Soc = Socialist. See page six for the ten candidates not mentioned here. ? means that the candidate was not on the ballot in that state, but write-in space is provided in that state. Write-ins have not been canvassed yet in any state; the December 1996 B.A.N. will have them if the state counted them. ALL FIGURES ABOVE ARE UNOFFICIAL AND INCOMPLETE. President Clinton received 45,628,667; Bob Dole received 37,869,435. Total 92,801,835.
(Special Web note: the above figures were gathered very early in the morning of Nov. 6th and were already superseded by higher figures that same evening -- for more information see the Presidential Vote Totals page, and look at the 1996 numbers.)
See this note about tables.
|STATE||REFORM||GREEN||LIBT.||US TAX||NAT LAW||WKR WD||SWP||Collins||SOC.|
"--" means that the candidate wasn't on the ballot. See below for information on ten other candidates who were on the ballot in at least one state. President Clinton received 49.17%; Bob Dole received 40.81%; all other candidates received 10.02%. Ballot Access News thanks Eric Garris for his invaluable assistance in obtaining these figures. As noted above, ALL DATA IS UNOFFICIAL AND INCOMPLETE. Hundreds of thousands of absentee ballots are yet to be tallied, as well as write-in votes.
Web note: except for Nader, who can expect a fair number of write-in votes, the above percentages will probably not change to any substantial degree, even though the figures they are calculated from were gathered early in the morning of November 6th and were already out-of-date by that afternoon.
See this note about tables.
|Reform||Libt.||US Tax||Nat. Law||Green||Others||If none, when was last one?|
|Alaska||§C§||P||Alaska Independence (P)|
|California||P||P||P||P||P||Peace & Freedom (P)|
|D.Columbia||Statehood (P), Umoja (P)|
|Kentucky||C||(Reform may need to sue to keep this status)|
|Maine||P||P||(Greens may need to sue to keep this status)|
|New York||P||P||Conservative (P), Liberal (P), Freedom (P)|
|Rhode Island||Cool Moose (P)|
|South Carolina||P||P||P||P||Patriot (P)|
|Vermont||P||C||C||C||Grassroots (P), Liberty Union (C)|
|Wisconsin||P||P||P||P||New Progressive (P)|
P = party may nominate by primary; C = must nominate by convention. See below for more explanation.
The chart above shows which parties are "qualified" for the 1998 election. In a few cases, they are also qualified for 2000. §C§ means that a party is qualified for president in 2000, but for no offices in 1998. C means that a party is qualified for all office in 1998, but must nominate by convention. P means that it is qualified for all office in 1998 and may nominate by primary at state expense. Parentheses around a P or a C mean that the party is only qualified for statewide office in 1998, not district office.
"Qualified" means that the party may run candidates, with no more petitioning than Republicans or Democrats are required to get. Although Maryland says that the Reform Party is "qualified", it must still submit petitions signed by 3% of the registered voters to get any 1998 candidates on the ballot (whereas Democrats and Republicans need not collect any signatures). Pennsylvania says that the Reform, Libertarian, and U.S.Taxpayers Parties are "qualified", but they must submit approximately ten times as many signatures to place their candidates on the ballot, as Republicans and Democrats. Therefore, the chart does not list these parties as "qualified" in those two states.
The right-hand column "If none, when was last one?" only applies to those eleven states which currently have no qualified third parties. This column tells the last year in which any third party met that state's current requirement for a party to retain status. It should be obvious that the laws of Colorado, Florida, Maryland, New Jersey, North Dakota, and Pennsylvania, on this point, are outrageously repressive.
Two candidates who were on the ballot as independents for Congress were elected this month. Bernie Sanders was re-elected easily in Vermont, for the fourth time. Jo Ann Emerson, in Missouri's 8th district, defeated her Republican and Democratic opponents with 50% of the vote. However, she personally is a Republican, and will be listed as a Republican member.
The next B.A.N. will carry the vote for each third party for each house of Congress, by state.
The preceding presidential vote charts omit these presidential candidates: Feinland, Peace & Freedom, 22,593 votes, Cal. (.25%); Dennis Peron, Grassroots, 4,828 in Minn. (.23%) and 675 in Vt. (.26%), total 5,503; Jerome White, Socialist Equality, 1,685 in Mich. (.04%), 346 in Minn. (.02%), 721 in N.J. (.02%), total 2,752; Diane Templin, American, 584 in Colo. (.04%), 1,291 in Utah (.20%), total 1,875; Earl Dodge, Prohibition, 397 in Ark. (.05%), 374 in Colo. (.02%), 317 in Tn. (.02%), 110 in Utah (.02%), total 1,198; A. Peter Crane, Independence, 1,105 in Utah (.17%); Ralph Forbes, America First, 861 votes in Ark. (.10%); John Birrenbach, Indp. Grassroots, 760 in Minn. (.04%), Isabell Masters, Looking Back, 737 in Ark. (.08%), Steve Michaels, AIDS Cure, 407 in Tn. (.02%).
The only third party to elect any state legislators this month was the Vermont Progressive Coalition, which elected three representatives (it had elected two in 1994).
A dues-paying member of the New Party, Danny K. Davis of Chicago, was elected to the U.S. House; however, he was on the ballot only as the Democratic nominee.
The Libertarian Party elected two Township Committeemen in Michigan, and placed second (ahead of a Republican nominee) in one Michigan legislative race. However, the party's incumbent state legislator, Don Gorman of New Hampshire, finished third.
The Green Party did not win any partisan elections in Hawaii, but three of its nominees placed second, ahead of one of the major party nominees. The party elected members of city councils in non-partisan races in four cities in California: Berkeley (two elected), Arcata (two elected, joining a holdover Green member), Santa Monica and Blue Lake (one each).
The Reform Party's only state legislator, Assemblyman Dominic Cortese of California, did not run for re-election. He ran for State Senate, but placed third.