Ballot Access News is edited and published by Richard Winger, the nation's leading expert on ballot access legal issues.


Washington Post Article Highlights Absurdity of U.S. Policy of Denying Vote to Residents of Territories

This Washington Post story says thousands of Puerto Ricans have been moving to Florida lately, because the economy in Puerto Rice is bad. An accidental byproduct is that as soon as they have lived in Florida for a month, with the intention of remaining, they are free to register to vote. Then they can vote for President and Congress, whereas as long as they lived in Puerto Rico, they could not.

All of the other nations with overseas possessions, except Great Britain, lets residents of their overseas possessions vote in national elections. Those countries are France, Netherlands, Denmark, and Spain. Thanks to Michael Drucker for the link.


Ralph Nader Slams Huffington Post for Policy of Not Covering Donald Trump in its Political News

Ralph Nader has this op-ed in the New York Daily News. Nader’s general point is that mainstream news media do a terrible job of covering candidates. His column is specifically triggered by the Huffington Post’s policy of not covering Donald Trump in its political news, but instead in its entertainment news. Nader’s piece also criticizes the Commission on Presidential Debates.


Frank Fahrenkopf Says Commission on Presidential Debates Will Decide by October Whether to Expand Entry into Debates

On Saturday, July 25, Frank Fahrenkopf appeared on the Smerconish show on CNN. Fahrenkopf has been the most influential leader of the CPD since it was established in 1987. He said the Commission hasn’t decided yet whether to ease the 15% poll rule for entry into the general election presidential debates. He mentioned that the Annenberg Working Group on Presidential Campaign Debates had recently suggested that the first debate should have a 10% threshold. He said the Commission will decide by one year before the first debate. Because the first debate is usually in the first week of October of the election year, that means a decision by early October 2015. See this news story about some of the things Fahrenkopf said.


Oklahoma Democratic Party will Let Independents Vote in its Primaries

On July 25, the officers of the Oklahoma Democratic Party voted to let independents vote in Democratic primaries.


Tennessee Sixth Circuit Ballot Access Victory on How Parties Remain on Ballot Might Impact Kentucky

Both Kentucky and Tennessee are in the Sixth Circuit. As already noted, on July 2, 2015, the Sixth Circuit struck down Tennessee’s law on how a party remains on the ballot. The Tennessee law let an old party that met the 5% vote test remain on for four years. For example, if it met the vote test in 2010, then it would remain on automatically for both 2012 and 2014. No matter how poorly it did in 2012, it would be on in 2014.

That decision was Green Party of Tennessee v Hargett, 14-5435.

The decision could plausibly be applied to Kentucky. In Kentucky, when a party polls 2% for President, it is then safely on the ballot for four years. For example, John Anderson polled over 2% for President in 1980, under the label “Anderson Coalition.” The Anderson Coalition Party was then safely on the ballot in Kentucky for all elections in 1981 through 1984. The party was on the ballot for President again in November 1984, and since no petition was needed, Anderson appeared on the ballot in Kentucky in 1984 even though he wasn’t running in any other state. It didn’t matter that the Anderson Coalition Party (which had been allowed to re-name itself the National Unity Party) hadn’t even run anyone for any office during 1981, 1982, or 1983.

By contrast, the Libertarian Party got on the ballot for U.S. Senate in Kentucky, and polled 3.08%. The party spent a considerable amount of money on its 2014 petition for U.S. Senate. Once the 2014 election was over, the party was dumped off the ballot and not allowed to participate in 2015 (when Governor is up) or 2016, unless it did an entirely new statewide petition. The petition requirement is 5,000 signatures. It seems plausible that the Kentucky Libertarian Party can rely on the Sixth Circuit Tennessee decision to argue that it should be on the ballot automatically in 2015 and 2016, if not 2018 as well.

The other two states in the Sixth Circuit are Michigan and Ohio. Michigan requires all parties, new and old, to meet the vote test every two years, so there is no discrimination. Similarly, Ohio now allows all parties that qualify (whether by petition or by meeting the 3% vote test) to then be on for four more years. Because the Green Party met the Ohio vote test in 2014, it is on for both 2016 and 2018 (for 2014 only, the Ohio vote test was 2%, but in future elections it is 3%).


Jill Stein Says She has Almost Qualified for Primary Season Matching Funds

On July 24, the five individuals seeking the Green Party presidential nomination presented their ideas to the national meeting of the Green Party being held in St. Louis. Jill Stein mentioned that she is close to qualifying for primary season matching funds. That involves raising $5,000 in small donations from each of 20 states. Stein said she believes this is the earliest a minor party or independent presidential candidate has ever achieved that goal.

In mid-August 1991, Lenora Fulani, who was seeking the nomination of the New Alliance Party, met the matching funds requirement. She went on to receive more than $2,100,000 for her 1992 campaign.