Alaska Ban on Out-of-State Circulators is Enjoined

On September 19, 2017, professional petitioner Darryl Bonner and Alaska Libertarian activist Scott Kohlhaas filed a federal lawsuit against the Alaska law that bans out-of-state circulators for initiative petitions. Bonner v Bahnke, 3:17cv-202. On October 20, the state said it would not attempt to defend the ban, and so a stipulated judgment and order was issued. Out-of-state circulators can now circulate initiative petitions in Alaska, and they are permitted to cross out language on the petition saying they are Alaska residents.

Alaska never had a ban on out-of-state circulators for candidate petitions.

An earlier lawsuit against the Alaska ban, Raymond v Fenumiai, filed in 2012, failed on procedural grounds. The out-of-state circulator-plaintiff in that case, Robert Raymond of Wisconsin, did not allege any particular initiative petitions he wanted to work on, so he was deemed not to have standing by both the U.S. District Court and the Ninth Circuit. But in the newer case, Bonner specified four particular initiatives he wanted to circulate, so he did have standing. Thanks to Ken Jacobus for this news.

Florida Prisons Have Banned Nine Issues of The Militant So Far This Year

The Socialist Workers Party is the only party in the United States that publishes a weekly print newspaper. According to this story in the party’s newspaper, The Militant, Florida prison officials have banned nine weekly issues so far this year. The prisons say the stories in the banned issue motivate readers to protest. If the prison officials don’t relent, it seems likely that a lawsuit will be filed.

Ontario’s Smaller Political Parties Announce Court Challenge to Several Election Laws that Injure Them

A group of smaller political parties in Ontario here announces plans to sue over various election laws that injure them. They want more inclusive debates, and also an end to polls that don’t list all the candidates that are on the ballot, and many other points. Scroll down to the bottom of the press release for the details. The Libertarian Party is part of the effort.

Detroit News Opinion Editor Kaitlyn Buss Says Both Major Parties are Corrupt

The Detroit News has this column by Kaitlyn Buss, opinion editor for the Detroit News. She writes that both the Republican Party and the Democratic Party are corrupt. As an example of Democratic Party corruption, she mentions Congressman John Conyers. In 2012 the Detroit News endorsed Gary Johnson for president. Thanks to Thomas Jones for the link.

California Likely to Have a Very Crowded Gubernatorial Ballot in June 2018

According to the list compiled by Around the Capitol, a California politics news blog, 51 individuals have already either notified the state campaign finance office that they are intending to run for Governor in the June 2018 primary, or have otherwise indicated an intention. Here is the list. Not all of them will actually run, of course. Filing must be complete in March 2018. But probably most of them will get on the ballot. If they pay the filing fee, they only need 65 signatures.

One of the little-discussed disadvantages of the top-two system in California is that it has a general election ballot with far too few choices, but a primary ballot that, for important office like Governor and U.S. Senator, has too many candidates. In the June 2016 primary there were 34 candidates on the ballot for U.S. Senate. This is because all the candidates from all six qualified parties, plus independent candidates, must all appear on the same ballot.