Now is the Time for Activists To Ask State Legislators to Introduce Reform Bills Next Year

In many states, state legislators decide the year before the legislative session opens which bills they will introduce. Some states have strict deadlines, that do not permit legislators to introduce bills after the first few weeks of the legislative session. Therefore, if your state’s ballot access laws, or other election laws, need improvement, now and the remainder of 2014 is a good time to talk to legislators, and to individuals who are not now legislators but who have a good chance of being elected this year.

Legislatures are not in session in the vast majority of states, and many legislators are in their home districts campaigning for re-election, or at least making themselves available to talk to constituents.

Minor party activists in many states would do the most good by pushing for more lenient rules on how parties remain on the ballot. During its lifetime, the Libertarian Party and its members and activists have persuaded the state legislatures of twenty states to ease that state’s definition of “political party.” As a result, generally speaking, the Libertarian Party is always safely on the ballot in virtually half the states. This ongoing advantage is why the Libertarian Party easily appears on the ballot of more states than any other minor party, year after year. This year it is likely that Libertarian candidates for statewide office will be on the ballot in 40 states, whereas the Greens, in second place, are likely to enjoy that status in only 16 states.

The median vote test for a party to remain ballot-qualified in the 50 states is 2%. Yet some states have requirements far in excess of that, such as Alabama, which requires a vote of 20%; Pennsylvania, which requires registration membership of 15% of the state totai; Virginia, which requires 10%; New Jersey, which requires 10% of the entire statewide vote for members of the lower house of the legislature; and Oklahoma, which requires 10% for Governor. It would be very desirable for activists in those five states to win improvements in those states. Pennsylvania and Alabama activists have already tried hard in those two states without luck so far, but ballot access lawsuits are pending in those two states, and if they win, that will ease the lobbying job.


Now is the Time for Activists To Ask State Legislators to Introduce Reform Bills Next Year — 4 Comments

  1. How about a CORRECT ballot access case in any of the more rotted States —
    1. Every election is NEW.
    2. EQUAL ballot access requirements for ALL candidates for the same office in the same area.

    — i.e. to get ALL of the MORON 1968-2014 SCOTUS UNEQUAL ballot access cases over-ruled.

    NO primaries.
    P.R. and nonpartisan App.V.

  2. Senator Ward said he would look at my proposed legislation which allows a 3rd party to co-nominate the nominee of a major pary nominee – provided the major party nominee who is co-moninated accepts the conmination. It involved no petition of riling fees. Such parties having this option would have to (1) be listed as a minor party with the Secretary of State by Janunary 1 preceding the primary or general election, (2)have on file a list of the officers of the 3rd party, (3)the names of the 3rd parties state executive committee, and (4) a copy of the 3rd party’s emblem.

    This is the best we can hope to get out of Alabama politicians and we should work for it. It will give expoxure to the 3rd parties and will when votes from those who do not want to vote Republican but like the Republican candidate. The same could be said for Democrats. Where cross/filing and conomination is used, 3rd par and via

  3. I’ll forward Richard a copy of the bill that Senator Ward already has and has said he would look at it. Richards’ system does not allow me to “cut and paste.” But if Richard wants to include it in one of his articles where one can clink on and read, I’ll gladly do that. The co-nomination bill is the best we are going to get out of Alabama Legislators.

  4. I really like looking through an article that
    will make men and women think. Also, many thanks for allowing me to comment!

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