The Reform Institute, associated somewhat with U.S. Senator John McCain, released “Presidential Ballot Access: A State by State Scorecard” on January 30. The 70-page report can be seen here. The Report condemns restrictive ballot access laws, and for that, it is praiseworthy.
Unfortunately, the state-by-state pages are massively inaccurate. The only accurate pages are for Connecticut, Iowa, Tennessee, and Wisconsin. Some of the errors say that the state requirements are easier than they actually are, while others say they are much harder than they actually are. The North Carolina page says an independent presidential candidate needs 15,000 signatures. Sadly, the actual number is 69,734. For California, the report says all a new party needs to do, to get on the ballot, is file a list of its state officers. Actually it must persuade 88,991 people to register as members.
But most of the errors portray state laws as worse than they actually are. For example, the report says a qualified party in Mississippi is one that got 20% of the vote in the last presidential election. Actually any party that submits a list of state officers, and U.S. House district officers, and a copy of its Bylaws, may be recognized.
Ballot Access News editor Richard Winger repeatedly contacted the Reform Institute, over several months last year, offering to help with the report, but those phone calls were never returned.