On February 8, the California Secretary of State released this list of presidential candidates who will be on presidential primary ballots. The list has some surprises. Many states have laws saying election officials should list presidential candidates on primary ballots automatically if they are discussed in the news media. But most states with such laws have got into the habit of letting the state party say which candidates should go on the ballots. The Secretary of State of California has taken the California law literally, and has added some candidates not mentioned by the various parties. The Secretary of State has also deleted some candidates whom the parties had suggested.
The Secretary of State accepted the Libertarian Party’s list as suggested by the Libertarian Party. The twelve names on that ballot are the names on the national Libertarian Party’s webpage.
The Secretary of State added some names to the Green Party’s list. The state party had not listed Sedinam Curry-Moyowasifa, but the Secretary of State added her anyway. She is a declared candidate for the Green Party presidential nomination, and she is on the Massachusetts Green Party’s presidential primary ballot, and she participated in the presidential candidate debate held January 28 in Lake Charles, Louisiana.
The Secretary of State deleted one name from the Peace & Freedom list. He deleted Jill Stein, even though she wanted to be on that ballot. It may be that the Secretary of State removed her from the PFP ballot because he decided it is improper for anyone to be listed in the presidential primary of two different ballots. However, there is no law saying presidential candidates cannot be listed in two different presidential primary ballots. Or, maybe the Secretary of State deleted her because the news coverage of her campaign doesn’t talk about her seeking the nomination of any party except the Green Party.
The Secretary of State added Governor Jim Gilmore to the Republican list. Even though he had stopped getting his name on the Republican presidential primary ballots in other states, he has never said he is withdrawing or suspending his campaign. The Republican Party of California had not forwarded Gilmore’s name. The Secretary of State did delete the Republicans who were on the party’s suggested list, but who have withdrawn since the party sent in its list.
Perhaps most surprising is the Secretary of State’s list of Democrats. The Secretary of State listed Rocky De La Fuente, Henry Hewes, Keith Judd, Michael Steinberg, and Willie Wilson; of course the Secretary of State also listed Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. California is the first state to have put De La Fuente on the ballot, on the basis that he is mentioned in news media.
The Secretary of State only listed seven candidates on the American Independent Party ballot, even though the party had asked him to list fifteen. The Secretary of State did not list Donald Trump on the AIP ballot, even though the party had asked him to do that. The Secretary of State did list Jim Hedges, who is also the Prohibition Party’s presidential nominee. Presidential candidates not listed are free to submit a petition signed by 1% of a party’s registered members, and it is conceivable that the AIP will promote a petition to place Trump on its ballot.