The California Secretary of State, Bruce McPherson, seems to be on the verge of reversing 75 years of precedent, and ruling that a party that first qualified in a presidential election year cannot be on the following gubernatorial election ballot two years later, unless it has registration equal to 1% of the last gubernatorial vote.
The California election code section defining political parties has not changed in structure since 1929. Always, in the past, a party that qualifies in a presidential year is assumed to remain qualified, until it fails either the vote test or the registration test. The registration test is only one-fifteenth of 1%, and the vote test is 2% for any statewide race in a gubernatorial election year.
Peace & Freedom qualified in 2004. Since it wasn’t on the ballot in 2002, obviously it didn’t poll 2% of the vote for any statewide race in 2002. Precedents from 1934 (the Liberty Party), 1950 (Independent Progressive Party), 1970 (Peace & Freedom Party), and 1998 (Natural Law Party), all agree that a party that first qualifies in a presidential year remains on the ballot until it fails either test. PFP has not failed either test. Yet, the Secretary of State is saying it must, in effect, re-qualify this year.
The Secretary of State’s office has been furnished with the historical information, and the final decision is still pending.