Arizona League of Women Voters Will Lobby for Easier Ballot Access for Independent Candidates

The Arizona League of Women Voters will ask the Arizona legislature to ease ballot access for independent candidates. Arizona requires more signatures in 2014 for a statewide independent candidate than any other state except Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Maryland, North Carolina, and Texas.

Also the Arizona petition deadline for independent candidates in 2014 is on May 28, a deadline that is probably unconstitutionally early. The Arizona primary is in August and there is no election administration-related reason why the petition deadline can’t be in August.


Arizona League of Women Voters Will Lobby for Easier Ballot Access for Independent Candidates — 16 Comments

  1. When is D’s and R’s deadline? Indy and 3rd parties already have enough problems getting on ballot. I do hope they are successful. One can hope.

  2. #2, the deadline for candidates to get on a primary ballot is May 28. It can’t be much later, because the primary ballots must be printed up and mailed out to overseas voters in July.

  3. What does California now require for its primary for statewide independent candidates? I know it requires a lot of signatures for independent presidential candidates.

  4. 65 signatures for any candidate for state-wide office to appear on the “top two” primary ballot. California prohibits direct independent access to the general election ballot, I believe the only exception is for independent candidates for President of the US.

    California, like Washington State, is very restrictive as far as access to the general election ballot – the votes that actually elect people to office.

  5. About twenty years ago, when lobbying for better ballot access in Missouri, this state’s League of Woman Voters officially decided to be neutral on my ballot-access bill. But their lobbyist, on her own, thought the bill was important enough that she “secretly” DID lobby for it!
    Great that Arizona League is officially and overtly taking a (favorable) stand!

  6. Is there a guide for lobbying to improve ballot access? There may be a lot of people who would do that who don’t know what to do or say, how to respond to different kinds of responses and so on.

  7. #8, that’s a good question. Citizen lobbying can start with just writing a letter to one’s legislator, or possibly running into him or her in person, and saying, “our state’s ballot access law is not fair to the voters who wanted to vote for X, and who were not able to do so last month.” Or whatever the problem is. It’s just human communication. Only lobbyists who get paid to lobby must register as lobbyists, so don’t worry about having to register with the state.

  8. I think if there is a guide written up or video made or whatever about lobbying on this particular issue….rather than lobbying in general…some people would find it useful. Maybe there is already but I don’t remember ever seeing one. It would include general lobbying basics as well as particular points to make for ballot access reforms and answers to some of the most common objections.

  9. The case for ballot access reform can be stated in three sentences. The right to vote includes the right of choice for whom to vote. Severe ballot access laws violate the rights of voters. The United States had a healthy party system during the 18th and 19th centuries, when there were no ballot access restrictions at all, and many states today have lenient ballot access laws and they do just fine.

  10. There could be videos, websites and so on, the info really needs to be pushed not just wait for people to discover it on their own, 99 times out of 100 that will never happen.

  11. Slam, i’m looking for just that kind of media as well to help in our own lobbying effort.
    It’s a longshot in our Dem-controlled leg and Atty Genl’s office but if they don’t hear our objections and our arguments they freely claim they never hear from anyone on the issue so it’s moot.

    We just got put down in a motion to dismiss by our state’s atty general in a second lawsuit against restrictive ballot access laws, and told we don’t have a right to be part of a 2nd suit when they’ve been farting around on the first lawsuit for over 3 yrs now!!! “New Mexico has a sufficiently powerful State interest to justify the burdens placed on the consti-tutional rights of minor political parties by New Mexico’s ballot access restrictions,” states the AG. I think this is an odd way of saying that the power vested in the two major parties simply won’t stand for the allowed participation of any other parties and freely admits there are restrictions in place!

    Free & Equal is doing some work on this issue and may have info and perhaps now LOWV may as well. I’m investigating too.

  12. How about a blanket primary?

    A party would require 100 registered voters, as well as a minimum of organizational activity, including county, district, and state conventions held prior to the primary. A major party is one with 1% of the state electorate.

    Candidates would need signatures from 1/10 of 1% of voters, or alternatively a fee of $1 per signature. This is around 3000/$3000 for statewide office; 300/$300 for Congress; 100/$100 for the legislature.

    On his application for candidacy, a candidate would indicate his party registration, along with any parties he seeks to be the designated candidate of.

    A candidate may seek to be cross-designated. Since this would be a matter of public record, each party could consider this when making their designation. For example, if a candidate sought the designation of the Democratic and the Green parties, the Democratic Party might choose not to designate that candidate. They could not prevent his being on the general election ballot.

    Minor parties, by convention, could designate one candidate who sought the designation as their nominee.

    Major parties, by convention, could designate as many candidates as they wished for their primary ballot. There might also be an alternative petition route, for candidates who were not selected by a convention.

    Any candidate who did not receive a designation would appear on the primary ballot without designation.

    All candidates would appear on all primary ballots. But there would be one ballot for each major party, and one ballot for all other voters. Major parties may permit non-partisan voters and specified minor party voters to vote their ballot, and thereby participate in their nomination process.

    Major party ballots would list the candidates seeking their nomination first, followed by the other candidates. A major party voter would be free to skip over his party’s candidate, effectively abstaining in that race, and vote for another candidate.

    Any minor party or independent candidate who received 1% of the total vote cast would advance to the general election ballot, along with any minor party designations they had received.

    The leading candidate in the major party primary would advance to the general election as the nominee of the party, as long as 1% of all votes cast were for candidates seeking its nomination.

    Other major party candidates would advance to the general election if they received 1% of all votes cast, excluding any they had received in their party primary.

    For example, in a situation like in Alaska, Lisa Murkowski would have advanced to the general election ballot if the votes she received in the non-partisan and Democratic primaries was equal to 1% of all votes cast. Joe Miller would be the Republican nominee, while she would be without party designation on the general election ballot.

    The general election would require a majority for election. The Top 2 would advance to a runoff. In addition, other candidates may transfer their votes to other candidates. A candidate who was in the Top 2 after such transfers would also appear on the runoff ballot – but would not displace either of the original Top 2.

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