On February 29, the Texas Republican Party and Texas Democratic Party submitted a joint proposal to the 3-judge U.S. District Court that is hearing the redistricting case. The two parties advocate these policies for minor party and independent candidate ballot access for 2012:
1. Petitions for newly-qualifying parties, and for independent candidates for President, and independent candidates for all other office, will be due June 29.
2. No primary screen-out will exist in 2012 for these petitions.
These ideas represent a huge improvement for ballot access, compared to the statutory law. Under the statutes, which will not be in effect in 2012, the independent presidential candidate petition deadline is May 14. Assuming the court adopts the proposed order, for the first time since 1984, every state will have some procedure for a non-Democratic, non-Republican presidential candidate to get on the ballot by a date later than June 3. The earliest deadline for president will be Colorado, which does not require a petition for independent presidential candidates, but which requires a $500 filing fee no later than June 4, 2012. The latest deadline, which is shared by half a dozen states, is September 7, 2012.
2012 will also be the first presidential election since 1908 in which no state has a primary screen-out for all methods to the general election ballot.
Thanks to Jim Riley for alerting me to the proposed order, and to Texas Redistricting Blog for a link to the order.