December 2015 Ballot Access News Print Edition

Ballot Access News
December 1, 2015 – Volume 31, Number 7

This issue was printed on white paper.


Table of Contents

  1. INSTANT RUNOFF VOTING INITIATIVE QUALIFIES IN MAINE
  2. MINOR PARTIES FILING THREE NEW LAWSUITS
  3. CPD STICKS TO 15% RULE JUST AS EVIDENCE AGAINST IT PILES UP
  4. FOUR REPUBLICANS GET FREE TV TIME
  5. UTAH REPUBLICAN AND CONSTITUTION PARTIES WIN PRIMARY LAWSUIT
  6. INITIATIVES FOR NON-PARTISAN ELECTIONS FOR CONGRESS IN TWO STATES
  7. KENTUCKY LIBERALIZES VOTING RIGHTS FOR EX-FELONS
  8. SLOW JUDGES
  9. TOP-TWO NEWS
  10. NINTH CIRCUIT STRIKES DOWN TUCSON’S CITY COUNCIL ELECTIONS
  11. PETITION RULES FOR INDEPENDENT PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES
  12. PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY CANDIDATES ALREADY ON BALLOT
  13. SOCIALIST ALTERNATIVE RE-ELECTS ITS SEATTLE CITY COUNCILMEMBER
  14. MINOR PARTIES WIN 14 PARTISAN ELECTIONS ON NOVEMBER 3, 2015
  15. RALPH NADER GETS SOME RELIEF FROM PENNSYLVANIA COURT COSTS
  16. SEVERAL PARTIES NOMINATE FOR NATIONAL OFFICE LAST MONTH
  17. SUBSCRIBING TO BAN WITH PAYPAL

INSTANT RUNOFF VOTING INITIATIVE QUALIFIES IN MAINE

VOTE SET FOR NOVEMBER 8, 2016

On November 18, the Maine Secretary of State determined that an initiative for Instant Runoff Voting has enough valid signatures and will be on the November 8, 2016 ballot. This will be only the second time in U.S. history that voters have been asked if they wish to implement Instant Runoff Voting for state and federal office.

Proponents needed 61,126 valid signatures. They submitted 75,369, and 64,687 were found valid. The validity rate, 85.8%, is very high, but was bolstered by the fact that so many signatures were collected at the polls in November 2014 and at local elections in 2015.

The only other statewide vote on IRV was in Alaska in August 2002, at the primary. It lost 38%-62%. However, the Maine initiative has more public support than the Alaska initiative had. In the last eight Maine gubernatorial elections, no candidate has received as much as 50% in seven of them. In 2010, Republican Paul LePage was elected with only 38.07%, and in 2006 Democrat John Baldacci was elected with 38.11%. There is a common belief that some of these gubernatorial elections would have had different outcomes if IRV had been used.

Most of Maine’s daily newspapers had already endorsed the measure, even before it got on the ballot. The Maine League of Women Voters has supported the idea since 2011. Other state leagues that also support IRV are the leagues of Arizona, California, Minnesota, North Carolina, Vermont, and Washington.

In 2010, the voters of Portland, Maine, passed a local initiative to use IRV in city elections, and it was used starting in 2011.

Starting in 2001, there have been IRV bills in the legislature every session, but they have never passed. In 2013, LD 518 lost in the Senate by 13-20, and in the House by 57-90.

The initiative would apply to primaries and general elections alike. It applies to all federal and state office except President. Voters would be allowed to rank up to six candidates. Voters could rank a write-in candidate, but not more than one.

Since 1880, the Maine Constitution has said that the Governor is elected by plurality vote, so it is conceivable that as to Governor, the measure violates the State Constitution. The 2016 session of the legislature is permitted to pass an IRV measure, or even conceivably a Constitutional amendment. If it did so, and if the initiative proponents are happy with it, they could remove the initiative from the ballot.

No voting system is perfect. One of the great virtues of IRV is that it is a reform that can generate more appeal than top-two systems.

When the Maine League of Women Voters wrote about IRV earlier this year, it said, "Another alternative to plurality voting is called the top-two primary. In this option, all candidates run in a primary open to voters regardless of party enrollment, with the top two vote-getters advancing to the general election. The League in Maine does not support this alternative. While it may be less expensive to administer, it denies members of political parties the opportunity to choose their own nominees, and it could result in two members of the same political party, with minimal support in a multi-candidate field, facing each other in the general election."


MINOR PARTIES FILING THREE NEW LAWSUITS

During November and early December, minor parties filed or are filing three constitutional election law lawsuits:

Connecticut: in the first week of December, the Libertarian Party will file a lawsuit to overturn the state’s ban on out-of-state circulators.

Such bans have been overturned in Arizona, California, Colorado, District of Columbia, Illinois, Kansas, Michigan, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin. Three states tried to get the U.S. Supreme Court to reinstate their laws, but these attempts (by Arizona, Illinois and Virginia) did not succeed.

The Connecticut ACLU is doing this lawsuit. The ACLU is also doing ballot access cases in California, Georgia, New Hampshire, and South Dakota.

Illinois: on November 19, two Libertarian candidates for state office in 2016 filed a lawsuit, to overturn a 2013 law that makes it illegal for a medical cannibis business, or a PAC formed by such a business, to contribute to a candidate. Ball v Madigan, 1:15cv-10441, n.d. It was assigned to Judge John Z. Lee, an Obama appointee.

Kentucky: in early December, the Libertarian Party and the Constitution Party will file a lawsuit against the state’s definition of ballot-qualified party. Kentucky is the only state that has no means for a group to become a qualified party unless it makes a certain showing in a presidential election. The lawsuit also challenges the law that won’t let voters sign two different general election petitions for the same office.


CPD STICKS TO 15% RULE JUST AS EVIDENCE AGAINST IT PILES UP

On October 29, the Commission on Presidential Debates said it will continue to require 15% in polls, in order for candidates to be included in general election debates.

Almost immediately afterwards, a raft of articles appeared, demonstrating the unreliability of candidate polls. The New Yorker ran a long story on November 9, summarizing reasons to think that polls in election contests will become obsolete, because accurate election polling has become so much more difficult in the cell phone era.

On November 7, the Huffington Post ran a story about the very great failure of polls to accurately predict the outcome of the Kentucky gubernatorial election held four days earlier.

On November 10, the New York Times carried a story about the poor performance of election polls in other countries this year.

On November 17, statistician Nate Silver, speaking at Columbia University, said he is "pretty worried" about the accuracy of election polls.

It is likely that these points will be introduced as evidence in either or both of the lawsuits now pending on general election presidential debates.


FOUR REPUBLICANS GET FREE TV TIME

On November 23, NBC said that four Republican presidential candidates will each get twelve minutes of free broadcast time. This is because of the Equal Time rule, and the fact that Donald Trump appeared on an NBC show, Saturday Night Live. The four Republicans are John Kasich, Mike Huckabee, Lindsey Graham, and Jim Gilmore. George Pataki also asked for free time, but no decision has been made on his request. The Equal Time law is rarely invoked, because bona fide news programs are exempt from its provisions.


UTAH REPUBLICAN AND CONSTITUTION PARTIES WIN PRIMARY LAWSUIT

On November 3, U.S. District Court Judge David Nuffer, an Obama appointee, struck down Utah’s law permitting independent voters to vote in primaries even when the party wishes to exclude them Utah Republican Party v Herbert, 2:14cv-876. The Constitution Party was a co-plaintiff.

The law says if a party won’t let independents into its primary, then its nominees can’t be on the general election ballot unless they complete independent candidate petitions, and even if they do, they get no party label. The judge seemed to take it for granted that this is so severe, it gives parties no real choice.

This is only the second time a semi-closed primary had been declared unconstitutional. The other instance was in 2007, when the Arizona Libertarian Party won a similar lawsuit. The Arizona Libertarians didn’t want independents voting in the Libertarian primary, because there are so many more independents than registered Libertarians, the voice of the registered Libertarian voters would have been drowned out. Semi-closed primaries are those in which independent voters may vote in any party’s primary, but registered members of parties can only vote in their own party’s primary.

Judge Nuffer upheld another Utah law, which lets someone who has little or no support at a party caucus still run in a primary, by submitting a petition. However, he construed that law to mean that only registered party members could sign such primary petitions.

The Republican Party still believes that it has a right to block candidates from running in its primary if they don’t have 35% or more support at a party meeting. The party will ask the Utah Supreme Court to settle that issue, which will require that the U.S. District Court certify the question to the State Supreme Court.


INITIATIVES FOR NON-PARTISAN ELECTIONS FOR CONGRESS IN TWO STATES

Voters in Arizona and South Dakota will probably vote in November 2016 on whether to make all elections other than presidential elections non-partisan. Organizers of the South Dakota initiative submitted approximately 40,000 signatures on November 9. The state says it won’t be done checking them for validity until spring 2016, but the petition is likely to be sufficient, because only 27,740 valid signatures are required.

The wording of the Arizona initiative for non-partisan elections is still not final, but it will be soon. After it is final, organizers will have until early July 2016 to get the signatures.

In the entire history of government-printed ballots, which began in 1888, no state has ever had non-partisan elections for Congress, if "non-partisan" is defined as a system in which no party labels appear on the ballot and parties don’t have nominees. California and Washington have systems in which parties don’t have nominees, but party labels still appear on the ballot. Polls have shown that voters want party labels on the ballot for elections for Congress. The only two states that have had non-partisan elections for legislature have been Minnesota 1914-1972 and Nebraska 1936-on.


KENTUCKY LIBERALIZES VOTING RIGHTS FOR EX-FELONS

On November 24, outgoing Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear issued an executive order, vastly easing the ability of most ex-felons to register to vote. Ex-felons in Kentucky cannot register to vote unless the Governor intervenes and awards them the ability to register. But under the new procedure, such approval will be automatic for most ex-felons, unless they were convicted of a violent crime, or bribery, or treason. The new Governor, who takes office in soon, supports the liberalization.


SLOW JUDGES

To an unusual degree, federal judges in many states are taking a long time to decide ballot access cases, even in the face of impending elections.

Alabama: the lawsuit Hall v Bennett was filed September 17, 2013. The issue is whether the state can require independent candidates in special elections to complete a petition of 3% of the last gubernatorial vote, given that such candidates typically only have two months between the announcement of the election and the petition deadline. There is still no decision. The case was transferred from Judge Mark Fuller to Judge Myron Thompson on August 20, 2014.

In the meantime, 5 special legislative elections have been held in Alabama, or are about to be, since the case was filed. No independent was able to qualify in any of them, but if the decision had come out earlier, and if it were favorable, there probably would have been such candidates on the ballot.

Arizona: all the briefs in Arizona Green Party v Bennett were filed in the Ninth Circuit by November 21, 2014, over a year ago. But the Ninth Circuit still hasn’t set a hearing date. The issue is Arizona’s February petition deadline for newly-qualifying parties.

Hawaii: all the briefs in Democratic Party of Hawaii v Nago were filed in the Ninth Circuit by July 10, 2014, but the Ninth Circuit still hasn’t set a hearing date. The issue is whether the Democratic Party may prevent members of other parties from voting in its primaries.

Illinois: on April 5, 2012, the lawsuit Libertarian Party of Illinois v State Board of Elections was filed. There is still no decision. The judge who has the case now, on ten different occasions, has said she will have the opinion out on a certain date, but all ten times, she did not. The issue is the law that says newly-qualifying parties (but not other parties) must run a full slate of candidates.

Kentucky: on September 28, 2014, the lawsuit Libertarian National Committee v Holiday was filed. The issue was the standards used by public television for inclusion in the U.S. Senate debate of October 2014. Although injunctive relief was denied on October 11, 2014, there is still no decision, or even a hearing date set yet, for determining whether the debate standards violated federal campaign finance law.

There are other cases still pending that were filed in 2012, 2013 or 2014, but they have moved along expeditiously. These are from Arkansas, Georgia, Illinois, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Virginia. They concern ballot access, or order of candidates on ballots.


TOP-TWO NEWS

California: On November 11, Californians to Defend the Open Primary filed a Declaration in U.S. District Court which says, "There continue to be rumors of a potential effort to repeal Proposition 14 in the near future, potentially in 2018." The filing does not give further details.

The Declaration was filed in the lawsuit Soltysik v Padilla, in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles. The lawsuit does not concern the validity of California’s top-two system. It instead challenges the California law that says only some candidates may have a party preference listed on the ballot. Californians to Defend the Open Primary is composed of the California Chamber of Commerce and the Business Roundtable. They are seeking to intervene in the lawsuit, because they say the California Secretary of State won’t defend against the lawsuit forcefully. Californians to Defend the Open Primary say that if the labels provision is declared unconstitutional, that the opponents of the top-two system would then gain a public relations victory against the entire top-two law. A hearing will be held in December to determine if the group should be allowed to intervene.

Florida: on November 13, the proponents of a top-two system said they will not attempt to get their initiative on the ballot for 2016, but they said they will try for 2018.


NINTH CIRCUIT STRIKES DOWN TUCSON’S CITY COUNCIL ELECTIONS

Tucson is the only city in Arizona that uses partisan elections for city council. On November 10, the Ninth Circuit issued an opinion in Public Integrity Alliance v City of Tucson, 15-16142. The decision strikes down the aspect that says parties nominate in primaries held within city wards, but in the general election, the election is at-large. The decision is 2-1 and the majority says this system violates Equal Protection. The city has asked for a rehearing.

The majority opinion is flawed, because it says, "Because a candidate must win a primary in order to compete in the general election, the right to choose a representative is in fact controlled by the primary." Actually, Tucson lets independent candidates petition directly onto the general election ballot. Apparently the judges didn’t know that. The dissent didn’t notice that problem either.


PETITION RULES FOR INDEPENDENT PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES

The chart below has details about those petitions. The column "Start Date" has the start date, if a state has a start date (most states don’t care how early the petition begins to circulate). "V-P?" tells if the petition must list a vice-presidential nominee. "Electors?" tells whether candidates for presidential elector must be on the petition. "Pres Substitution?" tells whether a stand-in presidential candidate can be used on the petition. "V-P Substitution?" tells whether a stand-in vice-presidential candidate can be used. For states in which no vice-presidential candidate must be listed, that column is blank.

State
Start Date?
V-P?
Electors?
Pres. Substitution?
V-P Substitution?

Ala.

No

Yes

No

No

Yes

Alas.

No

No

No

No

– –

Ariz.

No

No

Yes

No

– –

Ark.

No

Yes

No

No

Undetermined

Cal.

April 29, 2016

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

Ct.

Jan. 4, 2016

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Del

No

No

No

No

– –

D.C.

March 25, 2016

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Fla.

No

Yes

No

Yes

Yes

Ga.

April 12, 2015

No

Yes

No

– –

Hi.

No

Yes

No

No

No

Ida

No

Yes

No

No

Yes

Ill.

March 29, 2016

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Ind.

No

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

Iowa

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Kan.

No

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

Ky.

Nov. 4, 2015

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Maine

Jan. 1, 2016

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

Md.

No

No

No

No

– –

Mass.

Feb. 16, 2016

No

Yes

No

No

Mich.

No

No

No

No

– –

Minn.

June 24, 2016

Yes

Yes

No

Undetermined

Miss.

No

Yes

No

No

– –

Mo.

No

No

Yes

No

– –

Mt.

No

Yes

No

No

Yes

Neb.

No

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

Nev.

No

No

No

No

– –

N.H.

Jan. 4, 2016

No

No

No

– –

N.J.

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

N.M.

March 1, 2016

No

No

No

– –

N.Y.

July 12, 2016

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

No.C.

No

No

No

No

– –

No.D.

No

No

No

No

– –

Ohio

No

Yes

No

Yes

Yes

Okla.

No

No

No

No

– –

Ore.

No

No

Yes

No

– –

Pa.

Feb. 17, 2016

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

R.I..

June 29, 2016

No

Yes

No

– –

So.C.

No

No

No

No

– –

So.D.

Jan. 1, 2016

Yes

Yes

No

No

Tenn.

No

No

Yes

No

– –

Tex.

March 2, 2016

No

No

No

– –

Utah

No

Yes

No

No

Yes

Vt.

No

No

Yes

No

– –

Va.

Jan. 4, 2016

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Wash.

May 7, 2016

Yes

No

No

Yes

W.Va.

No

No

No

Yes

– –

Wis.

July 1, 2016

Yes

No

No

Yes

Wyo.

No

No

No

No

– –

"V-P?" tells whether the petition form must list a vice-presidential candidate.
"Electors?" tells whether candidates for presidential elector must be on the form.


PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY CANDIDATES ALREADY ON BALLOT

The chart below lists candidates for the Democratic and Republican nomination who have qualified for presidential primary ballots in the five states for which that information is available.

DEMOCRATS

ARKANSAS

FLORIDA

MICHIGAN

NEW HAMP.

SO. CAROLINA

Jon Adams, New York

X

Steve Burke, New York

X

Hillary Clinton, New York

X

X

X

X

X

Rocky De La Fuente, California

X

X

Eric Elbot, Massachusetts

X

William D. French, Pennsylvania

X

Mark Greenstein, Connecticut

X

Henry Hewes, New York

X

Brock C. Hutton, Maryland

X

Keith Judd, Texas

X

Lloyd Kelso, North Carolina

X

Steven Lipscomb, New Mexico

X

Star Locke, Texas

X

Robert Lovitt, Kentucky

X

William McGaughey, Minnesota

X

Raymond Moroz, New York

X

Edward O’Donnell, Pennsylvania

X

Martin J. O’Malley, Maryland

X

X

X

X

X

Bernie Sanders, Vermont

X

X

X

X

X

Graham Schwass, Massachusetts

X

Sam Sloan, New York

X

Edward Sonnino, New York

X

Michael A. Steinberg, Florida

X

Vermin Supreme, Massachusetts

X

David John Thistle, New Hampshire

X

James Valentine, Florida

X

X

Richard Weil, Colorado

X

Willie Wilson, Illinois

X

John Wolfe, Tennessee

X

X

REPUBLICANS

Jeb Bush, Florida

X

X

X

X

X

Ben Carson, Florida

X

X

X

X

X

Chris Christie, New Jersey

X

X

X

X

X

Stephen B. Comley, Massachusetts

X

Tim Cook, North Carolina

X

Ted Cruz, Texas

X

X

X

X

X

Brooks A. Cullison, Illinois

X

Matt Drozd, Pennsylvania

X

J. Daniel Dyas, Alabama

X

Carly Fiorina, Virginia

X

X

X

X

X

Jim Gilmore, Virginia

X

X

X

Lindsey Graham, South Carolina

X

X

X

X

X

Mike Huckabee, Florida

X

X

X

X

X

Kevin Glenn Huey, Colorado

X

Walter N. Iwachiw, New York

X

Bobby Jindal, Louisiana

X

X

X

John R. Kasich, Ohio

X

X

X

X

X

Frank Lynch, Florida

X

Stephen John McCarthy, Ohio

X

Rpbert Mann, Indiana

X

Andy Martin, New Hampshire

X

Peter Messina, Florida

X

George Pataki, New York

X

X

X

Rand Paul, Kentucky

X

X

X

X

X

Chomi Prag, Wisconsin

X

Joe Robinson, Massachusetts

X

Marco Rubio, Florida

X

X

X

X

X

Rick Santorum, Virginia

X

X

X

X

X

Donald Trump, New York

X

X

X

X

X

Richard P. H. Witz, Massachusetts

X


SOCIALIST ALTERNATIVE RE-ELECTS ITS SEATTLE CITY COUNCILMEMBER

On November 3, 2015, Seattle voters re-elected Kshama Sawant to the city council. The election is non-partisan, but it is well-known that she is a leader of Socialist Alternative Party. She received 53% against her lone opponent.


MINOR PARTIES WIN 14 PARTISAN ELECTIONS ON NOVEMBER 3, 2015

Green Party: elected five nominees in partisan elections in Connecticut. They are two Constables in New Canaan, Hector Lopez and John Amarilios; a Constable in Redding, Leif Smith; Mirna Martinez to the New London Board of Education; and Joshua Kelly to the Zoning Appeals Board in Waterford.

Libertarian Party: elected eight nominees to partisan office. The five Pennsylvanians are: Charles Broust, Auditor of Upper Frankford Township; William Dickerson, Constable of Valley Township; James Foose, Constable of North Manheim Township; Daniel Noll, Tremont Borough Council; and Nelson Reppert, Cressona Borough Council.

Also three in Indiana: Larry Walters, Dublin Town Council; Susan Bell, Town Judge in Hagerstown; and Dennis Denney, Shirley Town Council.

Veterans Party: Katie Lakes, Tax Collector of Montoursville, Pennsylvania.


RALPH NADER GETS SOME RELIEF FROM PENNSYLVANIA COURT COSTS

During the last week of October 2015, Ralph Nader received some relief from the costs assessed against himin 2004 by the people who had challenged his Pennsylvania petition. Pennsylvania state courts had awarded the challengers $81,102 under the unique Pennsylvania system that says if a petition doesn’t have enough valid signatures, the petitioning candidate or group must pay large court costs. Peter Camejo, Nader’s vice-presidential nominee in 2004, had then paid $20,000. Nader had $30,000 seized from one of his bank accounts and another $30,000, in another bank, had been frozen ever since.

After the Pennsylvania scheme was held unconstitutional on July 24, 2015, Nader’s attorney notified the 2004 challengers that the basis for the award against Nader no longer exists. While there was no legal requirement that the challengers do anything about that, they did release the remaining $30,000.


SEVERAL PARTIES NOMINATE FOR NATIONAL OFFICE LAST MONTH

The Cyber Party, which is running John McAfee for President, said its vice-presidential nominee is Ken Rutkowsi of California. Rutkowski is host of the radio program Business Rockstars.

The Workers World Party said its presidential nominee will be Monica Moorehead and its vice-presidential nominee will be Lamont Lilly.

The American Freedom Party, which had already announced its presidential nominee, said its vice-presidential nominee will be Tom Bowie.

The Independent American Party said its presidential nominee will be Farley Anderson; no v-p has been announced yet.


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Comments

December 2015 Ballot Access News Print Edition — 2 Comments

  1. In the Presidential Primary Candidates Already on Ballot section, there are supposed to be five states listed. But it looks like the fifth column got cut off in this format.

    I’ve viewed this post on two different computers using different browsers, and haven’t been able to see the fifth column either time. All I can see is part of one letter of the state name in the header — maybe the “C” in South Carolina?

    Also, in the Petition Rules for Independent Presidential Candidates section, Colorado and Louisiana are not mentioned.

  2. I didn’t list Colorado and Louisiana because they don’t have mandatory petitions for president in the general election.

    Thanks for pointing out the problem with format. That was also a problem with the Nov 1 2015 issue. I will ask my webmaster if anything can be done.

    Have you considered becoming a subscriber so that you can get the print issues in the postal mail?

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