Rhode Island Representative John G. Edwards (D-Portsmouth) has introduced HB 7509. It would expand the petitioning period for a petition to qualify a new party. It says such a petition may begin to circulate for a future election, on the day after the prior election. In other words, if this bill is enacted, a petition to create a party for the 2020 election could start to circulate on November 7, 2018.
Current law says the petition can’t circulate until January 1 of the election year it is intended for, but that law was declared unconstitutional several years ago in a case won by the Moderate Party.
On February 8, the Utah House defeated HB 68 by 34-37. It would have given parties the right to exclude anyone from running in their primaries who did not show substantial support at a party meeting. In other words, it would have let parties block candidates from getting on that party’s primary ballot by petition.
The Daily Oklahoman has this op-ed by Libertarian Party leader Chris Powell, describing how top-two systems work in practice.
The Daily Republic, daily newspaper for Fairfield, California, has this excellent story about Steve Poizner’s run for California Insurance Commissioner as an independent candidate this year. This is the first general circulation newspaper article to discuss how independent candidates are injured by the California law that won’t permit independent candidates for Congress or state office to use the ballot label “independent.” Instead, as the story says, they must be on the ballot as “Party Preference: None.”
The story quotes Dan Schnur, who ran as an independent for Secretary of State of California in 2014, saying that major party legislators are never going to change the law to permit the label “independent.” Schnur is also quoted as saying “It takes an unusually well-informed voter to even know what NPP means.” The reporter himself refers to NPP as a “deadly ballot designation.”
On February 16, eight candidates for federal and state office in Maine filed a lawsuit in state court, seeking a court order that the state use ranked choice voting in the June 2018 primary. The lawsuit should not be necessary, because the law in Maine requires ranked choice voting.
On February 16, the California Secretary of State released a new registration tally, the first since February 2017. The total number of registered voters declined since February 2017. The new percentages are: Democratic 44.63%; Republican 25.44%; no party preference 24.95%; American Independent 2.66%; Libertarian .74%; Green .48%; Peace & Freedom .40%; miscellaneous .61%; and a new category, “unknown” .11%. The “unknown” persons are those who were automatically registered to vote by the state because they had a California ID, and they have never filled out a form choosing party preference.
In February 2017, the percentages were: Democratic 44.77%; Republican 25.87%; no party preference 24.51%; American Independent 2.63%; Libertarian .73%; Green .49%; Peace & Freedom .39%; miscellaneous .62%.
The Constitution Party, the state’s largest political body, now has 321 registrants; a year ago it had 326. The March 1, 2018 printed Ballot Access News will have registration data for all states, for all parties.