Independent Party of Florida Regains Qualified Status

On April 20, the Florida Secretary of State acknowledged that the Independent Party is again a qualified party. On February 20, 2017, the Secretary of State had revoked the party’s status because of tiny technical flaws in its financial reports.

The party re-filed. It now has the same status that it did last year, except that because the party ceased to be recognized for a few months, the state changed the voter registration records of all the party’s members so that it doesn’t now have any members, except for a few individuals who re-registered into the party on April 20-21. Thanks to Ernie Bach for this news.


Comments

Independent Party of Florida Regains Qualified Status — 18 Comments

  1. What business is it of the government? No other state requires parties to have annual audits, or be thrown off the ballot.

  2. I always wonder with parties named “Independent” or some variant of that, how many of their members are actual members of the party and how many picked it thinking they were registering as independent (i.e. no party preference), like the stories about the American Independent Party in California.

  3. The purpose of political parties is to influence governemnt elections, they are included on official government publications, the state conducts their elections, maintains their membership records, and sends them money from filing fees.

  4. Anthony Downs’ famous book “An Economic Theory of Democracy” (1957) defined party as “a coalition of men seeking to control the governing apparatus by legal means”. It doesn’t seem evident that states have any right to interfere in the internal affairs of political parties, at least to the extent Florida did. Florida took it off the ballot because Florida didn’t like the credentials of the Certified Public Accountant who did the party’s annual audit.

  5. When the Progressive reform of state monopolization of ballot production took place it provided a rationale for regulating political parties as public utilities. That consumer (voter) protection argument transformed the two parties then dominant into a state-sponsored cartel who would in turn capture the regulatory authority. The state-sponsored two-party cartel could then use control of access to the ballot to suppress competition. Ballots became utility bills with discriminatory rates from zero for the incumbents to exorbitant for challengers.
    Judges accepted arguments that such discrimination was indispensable to keep elections orderly and the rationing of ballot space required arbitrary rules for a “modicum of support” and other such fabrications to restrict voter control of what had been their own private ballots.

  6. Richard, Two questions.

    One, What was the Independent Party’s most recent registration amount?
    Two, Did Florida’s Secretary of State’ Office OR All the various County
    Clerk Offices send postcards notifying those voters that the State had
    stripped them of membership in the Independent Party?

  7. The Independent Party of Florida had 262,599 registrants in October 2016, which is the most recent figure I have. I believe that each member of the party was contacted by election officials in February 2017 and told their party was being disqualified, and asked to fill out a new card, and I think that those who didn’t respond were converted automatically to independent voters.

  8. Factual update for those interested folks who take the time to learn, question and participate.
    Feel free to e-mail the Independent Party of Florida at FlaIndParty@gmail.com I won’t list our phone number because it is going to be busy later this week after our press conference informing Florida voters of our reinstatement. In response to questions: Richards number is correct. The last compiled number of 262,599 was reached in October 2016 making IND far and away the third largest party of voters in the state.
    Regarding what the Supervisor of Elections did. They mailed every one of the 262,599 registered voters a letter stating they were now automatically placed in NPA status, which was of course an involuntary action but had language in statute put in a few years ago to do just that in any similar circumstance. The actions of the SOE’s statewide was a wasteful and farcical act that cost taxpayers over $350,000 that we can account for with considerably thousands more utilized by three agencies fighting us on this for over two years, including department heads and attorneys in the General Counsels office (lot’s of $$$) Since this entire farce is not yet finished, we estimate conservatively that it will cost taxpayers between $750,000 to perhaps $1 Million dollars with the full impact of the joke being that after two years of battling and after just four months of being revoked, we are now back 😉
    Regarding the actual criteria used for the revocation, our appeals (this has gone on for two years) pointed out to the bureaucratic appointed citizens comprising the Florida Election Commission, we have had experts take our side and inform both the DOE and the FEC that their interpretation and conclusions were incorrect. Notwithstanding that, there was another part of the statutes that “directed” the FEC in its decision to consider this as a wrongful action, however they opted not to pay attention to that.
    On Thursday April 27 I will be holding a press conference in our Capitol Rotunda to inform Florida voters that they may once again register as Independents. Our goal is 150,000 by year end.
    Regarding the worn out argument that people registered in error I have written a short white paper on debunking that argument based on (a) the states Voter Registration Application (b) what it takes to register as Independent and (c) the numbers and growth of same over the years in not only the IND Party but with a study done on the other parties voter totals, which bear out our debunk as clear and concise. Much more to write about all this, no time now but will close with this: is it possible that (brought to our attention by members of the media), this may well have been more than a technical glitch in language and action directed as being perpetrated by those in power and due to the numbers of IND’s that over the past year have not only been becoming much more active, but we have run a number of candidates over the past couple years, including some who have won. We will be updating our web site in a couple of weeks after a short tour of the state to rally voters.

  9. Sorry, Ernie, but your party’s name is at best an unethical ploy to get people to register under it. Since your party actually advocates for structured platform points, you cannot, ever, in good conscience state that you’re “independent”. Any party that uses that word, is at best, using an unethical ploy, to get registered voters. In reality it’s just down right deceitful.

    The point of the word “independent” is to facilitate a term for individuals that do not fit into the confines or structure of a party. You platform comes across as a wing of the Democrats…. hardly independent.

    You also have zero likes, and zero engagement on your Facebook page.

  10. @Ernie Bach
    Thanks for taking the time to post here. I went to your website to find out more about your party and looked at the platform. I am curious about if there are any positions in which you are opposed to the democrats, all of the stated beliefs seem to align with them pretty well.

  11. I sincerely believe that many voters want to be members of a party named the Independent Party. I came to this conclusion because, about 10 years ago in California, the voter registration form was re-designed to make it very clear that the American Independent Party is a party, not a category for independents. First the California card asked voters if they wish to register into a party. If they said “No”, they were told to skip the next question. The next question listed all the ballot-qualified parties with their own checkbox. The AIP continued to attract many thousands of applicants. Just because some Californians are confused doesn’t prove that all of them are confused.

  12. @Richard
    Ideally I would like to see a survey of members of “independent” parties from different states and see if certain forms are more easily confused than others. A side bonus we would see what the parties’ actual support is.

  13. Jim Riley, you say “The purpose of political parties is to influence governemnt elections, they are included on official government publications, the state conducts their elections, maintains their membership records, and sends them money from filing fees.”
    I agree as to the purpose of political parties, but fail to see an absolute necessity for any of the rest. In fact, while it is reasonable that printed ballots include candidate’s party affiliation general elections could certainly be carried out without this and parties can, and in some places do, nominate by caucus or convention rather than by state primary. It’s also true that not every state has partisan registration, nor is registration the same as membership in a party. I am also confused about your statement regarding filing fees. Are there states that return some portion of candidate or other filing fees to party organizations? If so, it can’t be a large amount and it seems a really strange thing to do.

  14. Chris Powell,

    I did not say that it was necessary that Florida recognize political parties.

    But Florida does recognize political parties, in particular their manifestation as a collection of voters registered with the parties. Once Florida made that decision, it can apply reasonable regulation. It may ensure that the 262,000 registered members of the Independent Party of Florida have the opportunity to participate in the election of the leadership of the party, and to see that the party spends its monies responsibly (e.g. no spending on condos in the Bahamas, or a vehicle for money laundering, etc.). Florida does not have the right to dictate the platform of the parties, or who they choose as leaders, or how active they are, and Florida does not attempt to do so.

    Florida permits parties to assess a fee in addition to the filing fee. The party assessment along with 85% of the filing fee is sent to the party. In 2016, the Republican Party received about $0.5 million. The Libertarian Party received about $16,000, which it disbursed back to its candidates.

  15. Between 2008 and 2016, the ratio of Independent Party of Florida voters (IPF) to No Party Affiliation (NPA) voters decreased from 12.0% to 8.5% (the year 2008 was chosen because that is the earliest with registration in a spreadsheet format on the SOS website). During this time, the number of NPA voters increased from 2 million to 3 million, while the number of IPF registrants was constant.

    It appears that counties have become more careful and consistent in checking whether someone who scribbles “independent” is really wanting to be registered with the IPF. Counties which had a low percentage of IPF registrants such as Broward and Miami-Dade did see an increase, while counties which had a large percentage have seen that share drop.

    Registrations made years ago may be too difficult to check, and were left alone even if they were in error.

    Florida should require parties to hold a biennial state convention, and require a quorum at the convention or preliminary local or county conventions. Perhaps 1% of the registrants with the party. A party with 262,000 would only need 2620 delegates.

  16. Interesting idea, Jim.

    However, following your idea of 1% membership of party registrations, out here in California while the Republican Party could meet in Dodger Stadium or a few other stadiums of similar capacity the only places that the Democratic Party could meet would be either the Rose Bowl or L. A. Memorial Coliseum!! This issue would also improve if the legitimate press (Print & Broadcast) stopped referring to people wishing to not be a member of one of the two Major Parties as Independent and not Unaffiliated or some similar designation. After all, they have absolutely NO PROBLEM with referring to Constitution(al)ists, Greens, Libertarians or any of the plethora of political parties with Socialist in their name as such.

  17. There could be subordinate conventions. For example, the Democrats could hold county conventions in smaller counties (less than 200,000 Democrats); supervisor district conventions in larger counties (Alameda, Contra Costa, Orange, Riverside, Sacramento, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara) and assembly district conventions in Los Angeles.

    Assuming uniform participation, the larger conventions would have 1000 to 2000 delegates, which could be held in a high school on a weekend.

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