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.