|This issue was originally printed on white paper.|
In one of the most stunning surprises ever to occur in the history of Florida ballot access, on December 12 the Constitution Revision Commission voted 28-0 to recommend that the State Constitution be amended to provide equal ballot access procedures for all candidates, regardless of party. Nine other members were not there.
Since Democrats and Republicans obtain a place on the primary ballot simply by paying a (very large) filing fee, the proposal, if adopted, would provide that candidates of other parties, and independent candidates, could get on the general election ballot by paying the same fee. No petition would be needed. Of course, the legislature would be free to require every candidate to petition, but this is unlikely to happen.
The Constitution Revision Commission is not a mere advisory body. Its recommendations will appear on the November 1998 ballot, and voters will vote "Yes" or "No".
The Commission was influenced by the fact that activists asked for ballot access reform at every public hearing. These hearings were conducted during the summer of 1997 in twelve cities. Probably the most famous person who testified on ballot access was former independent presidential candidate John B. Anderson. The Libertarian Party of Florida managed to send witnesses at every hearing, and the Green and Reform Parties also sent witnesses.
The exact language will be written by the Commission's Style and Drafting Committee, probably in January or February. The Commission must then again approve the proposal.
The result was especially surprising, since the attitudes of influential Florida judges, politicians, editors and civic leaders have been so hostile to minor parties and independent candidates over the past sixty-seven years.
Florida's legislature abolished all procedures for minor party or independent candidates to get on the ballot in 1931, and the state's biggest newspaper at that time, the Jacksonville Florida Times-Union, which featured extensive news of what the state legislature was doing (at least a full page of coverage, every day the legislature was in session), didn't even mention the bill once.
The Florida State Supreme Court upheld the 1931 change, in both 1932 and again in 1936, and no minor parties or independent candidates appeared on the Florida ballot 1932 through 1947. In 1948 procedures for presidential candidates were eased, but no non-presidential minor party or independent candidates for statewide office have ever appeared on the Florida ballot since 1931, except for two American Party candidates in 1974. Florida is the only state in which no independent candidate for Governor or U.S. Senator has ever appeared on a government-printed ballot.
Despite this stark history, the federal and state courts in Florida have repeatedly upheld the ballot access laws. In December 1996 the Florida Supreme Court even said that it is constitutional for the government to rebate half of filing fees paid by Democrats and Republicans back to the Democratic and Republican Parties, yet to keep all the money when a member of another party pays a filing fee. The justification for this policy is "the state interest in strengthening and encouraging major parties, and thereby discouraging minor parties, as a means of preventing factionalism and the multiplicity of splinter groups". The Court cited no evidence nor any authority for this idea (the state had not even advanced this idea in its briefs). The Court said nothing about the First Amendment, which guarantees freedom of association.
Although some medium-sized newspapers in Florida have editorialized in favor of inclusion and fairness in elections, the state's largest paper, the Miami Herald, has not editorialized about the issue nor has it run feature articles about it, although it did carry one good op-ed piece in 1996.
Since 1992, no Florida state legislator has been willing to introduce a bill to lower the number of signatures needed for minor parties, currently 242,337 (this situation has improved, however; see next story).
Thus, for an elite body like the Constitution Revision Commission to propose radical ballot access improvement is historic. It is also historic for voters to vote directly on the issue. In U.S. history, the only other time voters have voted on what the ballot access laws should be was in Massachusetts in 1990. An initiative to cut the number of signatures from 2% of the last vote cast, to one-half of 1%, passed by a narrow margin of 51.6% to 48.4%.
There will be a meeting of supporters of the ballot access proposal on January 24 in St. Petersburg, at the Main Library, 3745 9th Ave. N. For more information, call Christina Clemenson at (813)-867-7774. An informal state organization to coordinate efforts to pass the proposal will probably be created. Support from people sympathetic to ballot access reform, no matter where they live, will be welcome. It is not yet clear to what extent there will be organized opposition to the proposal.
On December 19, Florida Representative Lori Edwards (D-Polk County), said she will introduce a bill next year to ease ballot access for minor party and independent candidates, probably to one-half of 1% of the number of registered voters (down from 3%).
On December 19, the 9th circuit ruled that lifetime state legislative term limits do not violate the U.S. Constitution. Jones v Bates, 97-15914. The decision was issued by an en banc panel of eleven judges. All eleven agreed with the general proposition that nothing in the U.S. Constitution necessarily prohibits state legislative term limits. Two judges, Mary Schroeder and Harry Pregerson, would have invalidated the California law on the grounds that the voters were not told that, if they approved the limits, they would be for the lifetime of legislators.
The majority opinion, by Judge David Thompson, also said that it was appropriate for this case to be heard in the federal courts, even though in 1991 the State Supreme Court had upheld the same law. Judges Pamela Rymer, Mary Schroeder and Diarmuid O'Scannlain dissented on that secondary issue, and felt that the current case should not even have been heard, since the law had already been upheld in state court.
Assemblyman Tom Bates and the voters who support him immediately announced an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. That Court has never heard a case on term limits for state office, and there is a fair chance that it will hear the appeal.
The majority opinion is weakest when it applies the language of ballot access cases to decide the issue. Specifically, Thompson used the analysis of the U.S. Supreme Court opinion Burdick v Takushi, which said that only "severe" burdens on the right to vote are subject to strict scrutiny. Thompson wrote, "The rights which the plaintiffs seek to vindicate in this case are the right to vote for the candidate of one's choice... Proposition 140's impact on these rights is not severe." This is silly on its face. If a voter is prevented from voting for the candidate of his choice, and that candidate could likely win the election if the voters could vote for him or her, obviously this is a severe burden on voting rights. If that isn't considered a severe burden on voting rights, it is hard to imagine what is "severe".
Imagine that a minor party has managed to elect a state legislator in California (no minor party has elected a state legislator in California since 1916). Imagine that this legislator is so politically gifted, he or she has been able to win re-election as a minor party nominee, despite the small size and limited popularity of the nominee's party. Then, after only six years, he or she cannot run for re-election, and the minor party in question has no one else with the ability to win. Obviously term limits in this case would impose a severe burden on the voting rights of members of that particular party.
The proponents of term limits make a distinction between the right of a voter to vote for a candidate who is qualified to hold the office, versus the issue of what a candidate's qualifications to hold the office ought to be. They are separate questions. The distinction is complicated, though, by the fact that the only U.S. Supreme Court opinion on term limits is the 1995 congressional term limits case, and in that case the law at issue really was a ballot access law (the Arkansas law let longtime congressional incumbents run again, but only as write-in candidates).
A New Theory on Ballot Access Law
Judge Fletcher's separate opinion is valuable, because it contains a thoughtful analysis of how to reconcile the contradiction between the unfavorable ballot access opinions of the U.S. Supreme Court, and that Court's 1995 opinion striking down the Arkansas law forcing congressional incumbents to run as write-in candidates. The standard answer to the contradiction, that there is a difference between procedures and qualifications ("states can impose procedures but not qualifications"), is logically unsatisfying. Fletcher tried to do a better job of reconciliation, by suggesting that an unconstitutional ballot access law is one which "excludes candidates from the ballot without reference to the candidates' support in the electoral process". From the viewpoint of logic, this is better than the artificial distinction between "procedures" versus "qualifications".
However, even the Fletcher theory fails to account for federal court decisions upholding California and Colorado laws which make it impossible for anyone who has changed partisan affiliation during the year before a filing deadline, from getting on any ballot to run for federal office. These laws bar people from the ballot without any regard for how much popular support they have, yet they have been upheld.
The O'Scannlain Revelation
A final point of interest in the 9th circuit decision is the concurring opinion by Judge Diarmuid O'Scannlain, a former Republican Party national committee member from Oregon. O'Scannlain has a bad record on ballot access; in 1989 he wrote an opinion upholding the Hawaii ballot access procedures for non-presidential independents, which are so severe that no independent has ever qualified for the general election ballot for state legislature since Hawaii has been a state.
O'Scannlain said in the recent California term limits 9th circuit opinion, "The asserted constitutional right of the people 'to vote for the candidates of their choice' simply does not exist."
Anyone may get a copy of the 81-page opinion for $2. Make the check out to "Clerk, 9th circuit", Box 193939, San Francisco, CA 94119-3939.
On August 28, U.S. District Court Judge Tom Lee, a Reagan appointee, struck down Mississippi law which made it illegal for anyone to circulate an initiative petition unless the circulator is a registered voter in the state. Also struck down was a law which made it illegal to pay petitioners per signature. Term Limits Leadership Council v Clark, 3:96cv859. This was the fourth court in 1997 to have struck down laws which make it difficult for initiatives to get on the ballot. The others were the 8th and 10th circuits, which also struck restrictions on who can circulate; and a district court in Texas, which struck down a law that petitions must include the voter registration number of each signer.
On December 24, U.S. District Court Magistrate David M. Cohen upheld Maine law, which requires a party to poll 5% for Governor in gubernatorial years, and 5% for President in presidential years, in order to remain on the ballot. Maine Green Party v Secretary of State, no. 96-261-B-C. If the U.S. District Judge assigned to the case, Gene Carter, agrees with the magistrate, the Green Party will be removed from the ballot.
The magistrate's ruling is 16 pages long, yet nowhere does he discuss the state interest in requiring a party to poll 5% for the most important office on the ballot, every two years. The U.S. Supreme Court has always instructed lower courts to balance the state interest in having the ballot access restriction, against the voting rights which are diminished. Many lower courts simply recite state interests by rote, but at least they cite something. In this case, by contrast, the magistrate forgot to enumerate any state interest in the restriction.
The magistrate also failed to mention 1992 U.S. Supreme Court language from Norman v Reed which says "For more than two decades, this Court has recognized the constitutional right of citizens to create and develop new political parties." Instead, he quoted from the 1996 decision Timmons v Twin Cities Area New Party, which was not a ballot access case; it was a case over whether the Constitution requires states to let two parties jointly nominate the same candidate. The magistrate also failed to mention that Maine only required a party to poll 1% in order to remain on the ballot, during the entire period 1890 through 1976. However, in a footnote, he did acknowledge that if the 5% two-year vote test had been in effect throughout Maine history, no party other than the Democrats and Republicans would have been qualified in Maine for as long as four years, ever since 1914.
The Green Party will ask the Judge to disallow the magistrate's opinion. If that doesn't work, it will appeal to the First Circuit.
On December 24, a U.S. District Court Magistrate, Mark A. Pizzo, upheld Florida filing fees and the alternate petition in lieu of a filing fee, in a case brought by the ACLU on behalf of a Democratic candidate for Congress. Green v Mortham, 96-1143-civ-T-23A (Tampa).
Henry Green had argued that it is too difficult for major party candidates to get on a Florida primary ballot. He had a choice to either pay a $10,020 fee, or to submit 4,400 signatures of registered Democrats.
The magistrate said that Florida has a "politically healthy number of candidates" for Congress on primary ballots. In 1994, Florida had 23 congressional districts. There was no Democrat on the primary ballot in 9 districts, and only one Democrat on the primary ballot in 10 districts; Democratic voters had a choice of candidates in only 4 districts in the state. In the 1994 Republican primary, there was no Republican on the ballot in 2 districts, and only a single Republican on the ballot in 13 districts, giving the Republican voters a choice of candidates in only 8 districts. Florida doesn't permit write-ins in primaries, and doesn't even print an office on the ballot if only a single candidate is running. Therefore, this "politically healthy number of candidates" meant that, in 1994, out of 46 major party "primaries" for Congress, the office of Congress wasn't even printed on the ballot in 34 of them!
The ACLU plans to appeal.
The Socialist Workers Party of Seattle, Washington has been fined $6,040 for refusing to file the names of its campaign contributors. The party has always refused to disclose the names of its supporters, and won on this issue in the U.S. Supreme Court in 1982. However, Seattle election officials say the U.S. Supreme Court decision doesn't apply to Seattle because the social climate there is more tolerant. The ACLU is defending the party at an administrative appeal on February 4.
Ever since 1899, Kansas has banned all party labels from the ballot unless the party has only has one word in its name. The Natural Law Party, therefore, cannot qualify in Kansas. It plans to bring a lawsuit against the law. This is an issue which has never before been adjudicated, since Kansas is the only state with such a law (Maryland has a similar law, but Maryland permits two words in a party name if a hyphen is used).
1. California: on December 16, the 9th circuit upheld California's campaign finance laws for judicial elections, in a case brought by the National Voting Rights Institute. NAACP v Jones, 96-56455. The Institute has been trying to show that U.S. campaign finance laws violate the 14th amendment.
2. Florida: the Reform Party has decided to appeal its loss, in its case over when a petition to qualify a new party can first be circulated.
Florida (2): the 11th circuit will hold a hearing on January 15 in Socialist Workers Party v Leahy, 97-4295, over the state's requirement that minor parties post a very large bond, as a condition of ever appearing on the ballot.
3. Hawaii: the 9th circuit will hold a hearing on January 16 in Bennett v Yoshina, 97-16408. The issue is whether due process provisions of the U.S. Constitution were violated, when the state changed its policy on how to tabulate blank votes after the election was over (the election was whether there should be a constitutional convention; the issue was so close that the question of how to count blank votes, will determine which way the vote went).
4. Ohio: on December 3, the 6th circuit heard Miller v Lorain County Board of Elections, 96-4267, a challenge to the number of signatures for independent candidates for U.S. House, and to the manner in which elections officials check petition signatures. The judges seemed interested in the case and sympathetic.
5. New Hampshire: On September 18, the State Supreme Court ruled that "stickers" are illegal. "Stickers" are a type of write-in vote, in which a write-in candidate prints gummed labels and distributes them to voters who wish to vote for that candidate. A write-in candidate using stickers was elected to town office, and her election was confirmed by the town clerk and by a lower court, but the State Supreme Court removed her from office. Kibbe v Town of Milton, 700 A 2d 1224.
6. New York: on December 22, Irving Gelb, a write-in candidate, filed a new lawsuit against the New York city Election Board for refusing to permit write-in votes on absentee ballots, and for refusing to print write-in directions on other ballots. Gelb v Board of Elections, s.d., 97-cv-9404. Gelb lost an earlier lawsuit on the same issue because the 2nd circuit said the Board's errors weren't deliberate. The new lawsuit will attempt to prove that the same errors were made in all New York city primaries, 1993 through 1997.
7. Oregon: on December 16, U.S. District Magistrate Thomas Coffin struck down the state's legislative term limits law. Markham v Keisling, civ-97-6237-TC. However, since the 9th circuit ruled in favor of state term limits three days later, and since Oregon is in the 9th circuit, it is expected that the Oregon decision will be reversed in a rehearing.
We are now in the period when state legislators are deciding which bills to introduce. Bills to improve life for minor parties and/or independent candidates will be introduced in at least ten states:
1. Colorado: Representative Ron Tupa is expected to re-introduce his bill, to set up a procedure by which a new party can qualify itself for the ballot before it has chosen its candidates. Currently, Colorado is one of only thirteen states which has no such procedure.
2. Florida: (see main story).
3. Georgia: SB 149, by Senator Donzella James (D-College Park) was introduced last year and remains alive, since Georgia has two-year legislative sessions. It would reduce the number of signatures for district minor party and independent candidates from 5% of the registered voters, to 3%. There has been some indication recently that Democratic legislators may support some easing of petition requirements, at least for U.S. House.
4. Maine: LD 1376, which lost last year and would have made it easier for a party to remain on the ballot, will be recalled by its sponsor, Senator Beverly Daggett (D-Augusta). This means it gets another chance.
5. Maryland: Senator Paul Pinsky has again introduced his bill to make it easier for a minor party to gain a place on the ballot. This year, it is SB 27. In addition, the Secretary of State's committee to revise the election laws is introducing its own set of bills, which will also improve the laws. The Secretary of State's bills don't have bill numbers yet.
6. North Carolina: SB 573, which passed the Senate last year, is alive and may pass the House this year. It improves the deadline for new party petitions, eases the wording, and permits voters to remain affiliated with a party even if that party loses its qualified status.
7. Pennsylvania: HB 1918, by Rep. Todd Platts (R-York) has its first hearing on January 7 and is likely to pass. It drastically improves the law on how a party remains qualified, and also eases the number of signatures needed to get new party and independent candidates on the ballot.
8. Virginia: Delegate Vince Callahan plans to introduce three bills: (1) one lowering the number of signatures on statewide minor party and independent candidate petitions to a flat 5,000 signatures; (2) one lowering the vote test for "party" status from 10%, to 5%; (3) one setting up a procedure by which a group can become a qualified party by submitting 10,000 signatures. Currently, Virginia is one of only 13 states with no procedure for a group to become "qualified" before it has chosen its candidates.
9. West Virginia: Rep. Barbara Fleischauer is expected to again introduce a bill, deleting the law which says that primary voters cannot sign petitions for minor party and independent candidates.
10. Wyoming: the Secretary of State's revision of the election code, including easier tests for a party to gain a place on the ballot and to remain on, will be introduced next week.
The Washington Secretary of State and the County Auditors have decided to ask the legislature to move the non-presidential primary from September to August. Since minor parties must choose their nominees two months before the primary, this will force minor parties to make a final decision as to their nominees, in early June instead of early July. The proposed bill will be introduced by Rep. Dave Schmidt (R-Bothell), who is chairman of the Government Operations Committee, which hears election law bills.
Late last year, Congressman Ron Paul introduced HB 2477 (to outlaw restrictive ballot access laws in federal elections) and HB 2478 (to require major party presidential candidates who receive public funding to debate significant minor party and independent presidential candidates, if they debate at all).
Since then, Congressman Steven LaTourette (R-Ohio) has agreed to co-sponsor both bills. LaTourette represents northeast Ohio and is in his second term. Also, Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY), in a letter of November 4, 1997, says "I support HR 2477". McCarthy is in her first term and is somewhat famous for having been motivated to run for office for the first time in 1996 because her husband was one of the victims of a mass shoot-out on a Long Island commuter train, and the incumbent congressman had a position on gun laws which McCarthy disagreed with.
Jim Hightower used his syndicated column last month to boost the bills.
See this note about tables.
|FULL PARTY||CAND.||REFORM||LIB'T||NAT LAW||TAXPAYR||GREEN|
|Alaska||(reg.) 6,403||#2,453||0||already on||0||0||already on||June 1|
|Arizona||est. (reg.) 15,000||est #8,000||already on||already on||0||0||3,000||May 16|
|Arkansas||21,506||10,000||already on||0||0||0||0||May 4|
|California||(reg) 89,007||156,621||already on||already on||already on||already on||already on||Dec 31, '97|
|Colorado||no procedure||#1,000||can't start||can't start||can't start||can't start||can't start||Jul 14|
|Connecticut||no procedure||#7,500||*0||*0||*0||already on||*0||Aug 7|
|Delaware||est. (reg.) 200||4,000||already on||already on||already on||already on||20||Aug 22|
|D.C.||no procedure||#3,000||can't start||can't start||can't start||can't start||can't start||Aug 26|
|Georgia||38,113||#38,113||already on||already on||0||0||0||Jul 14|
|Hawaii||5,450||25||0||*1,700||0||0||already on||Apr 2|
|Idaho||9,835||1,000||already on||already on||already on||already on||0||Aug 31|
|Illinois||no procedure||#25,000||already on||can't start||can't start||can't start||can't start||Aug 3|
|Indiana||no procedure||#29,822||0||already on||0||0||0||Jul 15|
|Iowa||no procedure||#1,500||already on||0||0||0||0||Aug 14|
|Kansas||16,418||5,000||already on||already on||0||0||0||Jun 1|
|Kentucky||no procedure||#5,000||already on||0||0||0||0||Aug 11|
|Louisiana||est. (reg) 128,000||0||already on||400||10||10||50||Jul 1|
|Maine||30,288||#4,000||already on||0||0||0||in court||Dec 12, '97|
|Maryland||(10,000)||est. 78,000||0||*6,000||0||0||2,000||Aug 3|
|Massachusetts||est. (reg) 32,000||#10,000||already on||can't start||can't start||can't start||can't start||Aug 18|
|Michigan||30,891||30,891||already on||already on||0||0||*6,000||Jul 16|
|Minnesota||109,487||#2,000||already on||0||0||0||0||Jun 1|
|Mississippi||just be org.||#1,000||already on||already on||already on||already on||0||Apr 3|
|Missouri||10,000||10,000||already on||already on||0||already on||0||Jul 27|
|Montana||16,039||#10,097||already on||already on||already on||0||0||Mar 12|
|Nebraska||5,741||2,000||already on||0||0||0||0||Aug 1|
|Nevada||4,498||4,498||already on||already on||already on||already on||already on||Jul 9|
|New Hampshire||14,901||#3,000||0||*1,300||0||0||0||Aug 5|
|New Jersey||no procedure||#800||0||0||0||0||0||July 27|
|New Mexico||(2,781)||14,029||already on||already on||0||0||already on||Apr 7|
|New York||no procedure||#15,000||already on||can't start||can't start||can't start||can't start||Aug 18|
|North Carolina||51,324||est. 82,000||0||already on||0||0||0||May 18|
|North Dakota||7,000||1,000||already on||0||0||0||0||Apr 3|
|Ohio||45,345||5,000||already on||0||*0||0||0||Jan 5|
|Oklahoma||60,336||0||already on||0||0||0||0||Jun 1|
|Oregon||18,282||13,292||already on||already on||already on||0||already on||Aug 25|
|Pennsylvania||no procedure||*24,300||can't start||can't start||can't start||can't start||can't start||Aug 3|
|Rhode Island||18,069||#1,000||already on||0||0||0||0||Aug 1|
|South Carolina||10,000||10,000||already on||already on||already on||already on||0||May 3|
|South Dakota||7,792||#3,117||0||already on||0||0||0||Apr 7|
|Texas||43,963||43,963||can't start||already on||*too late||*too late||*too late||May 24|
|Utah||2,000||#300||already on||already on||already on||already on||550||Feb 15|
|Vermont||just be org.||#1,000||already on||already on||already on||0||already on||Sep 17|
|Virginia||no procedure||est. 15,500||*0||*0||*0||*0||*0||in court|
|Washington||no procedure||#200||already on||can't start||can't start||can't start||can't start||Jul 3|
|West Virginia||no procedure||#5,957||0||already on||0||0||0||May 11|
|Wisconsin||10,000||#2,000||already on||already on||0||already on||already on||Jun 1|
|Wyoming||8,000||10,500||0||already on||0||0||300||Jun 1|
|TOTAL STATES ON||*32||24||10||10||8|
"FULL PARTY REQ." means a new party can qualify before it names candidates; () means party must also do candidate petitions. #candidate procedure lets candidate use party label. "Deadline" refers to "full party procedure"; if state lacks one, it refers to candidate petition. * -- entry changed since last issue. Mississippi, New Jersey, Virginia, and West Virginia have no statewide offices up in 1998, so for them, chart is for US House.
The deadline has passed for candidates to qualify for the Illinois 1998 primary ballot. The Reform Party, the only statewide qualified party besides the major parties, has a contest for most statewide offices between a faction loyal to the party's national leadership, and another faction associated with the dissident American Reform Party. There might have been primary contests for non-statewide office as well, except that a due to a peculiarity in Illinois law, the Reform Party is not "qualified" for district or county office.
The statewide primary candidates are:
|office||leadership faction||A.R.P. faction|
|U.S. Senator||Steve Denari||Don Torgersen|
|Lieutenant Gov||Kathryn Payne||Phyllis Nirchi|
|Attorney General||Daniel Kairis||Jesse Dowell|
|Secretary of State||Maryam Omar||Sandra Millatti|
|Treasurer||Valorie Bain||William Rakes|
The American Reform faction filed petitions for Governor for Morry Taylor, a millionaire industrialist who ran in the Republican 1996 primaries for president. Taylor refused to sign a declaration of candidacy, but he also said he would not withdraw either, if he were nominated. However, since he didn't sign a declaration of candidacy, his petitions were successfully challenged.
This year, for the first time, Rhode Island voters will not use mechanical voting machines. The state has switched to electronically-counted ballots. Rhode Island's old ballot format, combined with the old machines, dictated a very confusing ballot. The candidates of unqualified parties were never placed in the same column, and unqualified parties were never permitted to enjoy the use of a party logo or a party lever. By contrast, the qualified parties did possess these advantages. Under the new system, all candidates for each office will be grouped together in a concise list. Under the new format, the vote for minor party candidates will almost certainly increase.
Ever since 1993, Texas has required new parties which intend to petition for ballot status to notify the state, by the first week in January, of their intentions. The law has no purpose except to limit competition, but it was upheld by the 5th circuit in 1996. The deadline for filing notice has now passed, and only the Reform Party filed the required notice (the Libertarian Party has been qualified in Texas since 1986, so was not required to file the notice). Other nationally-organized minor parties were aware of the requirement, but did not file since they have no hope of completing the Texas petition in 1998 anyway.
The Reform Party petition cannot begin until March, and is due in late May. The party intends to run candidates for Governor and four other statewide offices, as well as some candidates for congress, the legislature, and county office.
Jay Marcus of Fairfield, Iowa, one of the top leaders of the Natural Law Party, and one of the party's attorneys, plans to run in the Republican primary for U.S. House of Representatives in 1998. He will run in the 3rd district (southern Iowa), which has a Democratic incumbent, Leonard Boswell.
Marcus ran for Congress in 1996 as a Natural Law Party candidate, but he was frustrated by his inability to be included in televised debates (public TV sponsored a debate and invited only the Democrat and Republican to participate). Marcus sued the debate sponsor, but the courts delayed the case, pending the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Arkansas Educational TV v Forbes (which is still pending, but which could come out any time now).
The Kentucky Libertarian Party has not completed any candidate petitions for 1998, but it has already submitted a petition to be on the ballot in 2000 for president, and the signatures have been verified. The party used stand-in candidates, since it doesn't yet know who its 2000 nominees for president and vice-president will be.