Efforts Underway in at Least Six States to Lobby for Better Ballot Access Laws in 2012

The last two months of the year are good times for anyone who wants better ballot access laws (or better laws of any kind) to ask a state legislator to introduce such bills early in the following calendar year. While state legislative sessions in most states are longer and more active in odd years, almost all state legislatures meet in even-numbered years as well.

If a legislator is not approached in the next two months, he or she is likely to tell you that it is already too late, because in most state legislatures, there is a limit on the number of bills that any one legislator may introduce.

In Alabama, Don Webb has already persuaded Senator Cam Ward to introduce a bill to replace mandatory petitions for candidate ballot access with a filing fee. That bill should be pre-introduced shortly.

In New York, Harry Kresky has been diligently working for a bill to replace mandatory petitions for candidate ballot access with filing fees. Kresky is chair of the election law committee of the New York County Lawyers Association. That association, as well as the New York City Bar Association, has already approved the idea. Now the work will begin to persuade the State Bar Association, and then to find a sponsor in the legislature.

In Nebraska, the Libertarian Party believes it has already found a sponsor for a bill to say that when a party meets the vote test to retain its place on the ballot, the effect of meeting the vote test lasts four years, not just two years.

In Georgia, the Advisory Commission on improving the election laws will probably release its report soon, and it is hoped that the report will recommend a substantial easing of the ballot access laws.

In California, an influential state legislator has already tentatively agreed to amend an existing election law, to re-define “political party” so as to require it to have registration of one-third of 1% of the last gubernatorial vote, instead of the current 1%. If this idea were to pass, the Libertarian Party, the Peace & Freedom Party, and also Americans Elect, would be spared the need to do an expensive registration drive (to increase the number of registered voters in these parties) in order to remain ballot-qualified.

In North Carolina, the ballot access improvement bill that has passed the House may yet get a vote in the Senate in the special session next month.


Efforts Underway in at Least Six States to Lobby for Better Ballot Access Laws in 2012 — No Comments

  1. Pingback: Efforts underway in at least six states for better ballot access laws

  2. Reality check –

    How many New Age gerrymander incumbent Donkeys/Elephants (esp. in one party safe seat gerrymander areas) are EVIL deadly ENEMIES of REAL Democracy ???

    P.R. and nonpartisan App.V. — starting in the about 18 States having voter petitions for State const. amdts.

  3. The NC Bill may but most likely they wont touch it until next may when it will be too late for the 2012 elections. We have the votes to pass it I feel confident.

  4. How about amending Elections Code 8002.5 (New text enclosed by +++)

    8002.5. (a) A candidate for a voter-nominated office may indicate his or her party preference, or lack of party preference, as disclosed upon the candidate’s most recent statement of registration, upon his or her declaration of candidacy. +++ The Secretary of State shall interpret this as it is written. If “party preference” meant “preference for a qualified party”, it would mean that no person could designate the name of a non-qualified party on their affidavit of registration, which is signed by the affiant, subject to perjury charges, that it is truthful and correct, and no new party could become qualified, nor a disqualified party, requalify, other than via the more onerous petition method. +++

  5. Or if California wants to require voters to register with a “qualified party”, reduce the number of registrants to 500 and make new party qualification by petition only. Part of the verification process would be to verify that the petition signers did intend to register with the new party.

    Rip out the current Division 7, most of which is not legally enforceable, and replace it with general requirements for a political party to be recognizable as a political party. This would provide voters for a voter-nominated office with an assurance that the candidate held a preference for an actual political party, similar to restrictions on the occupational/professional/office designation on ballots. It is simple to verify whether a candidate has a preference for a political party by checking their voter registration (a 10-year history of which is published by the Secretary of State prior to an election). Since a preference is a personal opinion, it is not verifiable beyond past expression of that opinion.

    Make the election of party offices by mail ballot, and conduct this in odd years, of course giving parties the option of using some other method. The odd-year election will let the newly elected leaders make endorsements for the sample ballot for the subsequent voter-nominated primary.

    Require that the top vote-getter in the presidential primary be placed on the general election ballot. While the State may not deny a place on the ballot for the candidate who finished first, they may do so for the candidates who finished 2nd, 3rd, 4th, etc. Parties that don’t wish to participate in the primary would be free to support independent nominations for President.

  6. With this effort to maintain the diversity of political choice within California for partisan office, I suggest that the qualification date for placing a candidate for President on the November general election ballot be amended thusly: Any party which 80 days prior to the November election has a registration greater than one-third of 1 % of the last gubernatorial vote, will be entitled to file a list of Presidential Electors along with its nominees for President and Vice-President no later than 70 days before the November General election. Upon filing its Elector list, that party will immediately become eligible to make candidate endorsements on an equal basis with all other currently ballot-qualified parties. [Or something in a similar vein that would have the same effect.]

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