Virginia Bill to Ease Ballot Access

Virginia State Senator Nicholas Cote (D-Alexandria) has introduced SB 1236, which cuts the statewide petition requirement from 10,000 to 5,000, for independent candidates and for the nominees of unqualified parties. President is already 5,000, but all the other statewide offices are currently 10,000.

The bill also cuts the requirement for statewide candidates seeking to get on a primary ballot.

The bill has a hearing in the Senate Privileges & Elections Committee on Tuesday, January 17. Thanks to Nicholas Cote for this news.

All Five of the New York “Fusion” Parties Had at Least One Nominee Who Was Not the Nominee of Any Other Party

New York has five ballot-qualified parties which typically do not run their own nominees, but who cross-nominate a Democrat or a Republican. They are the Conservative Party (ballot-qualified since 1962); the Independence Party (ballot-qualified since 1994); the Working Families Party (since 1998); the Reform Party (since 2014); and the Women’s Equality Party (since 2014).

All five of them had at least one nominee in 2016 for Congress or legislature who was not the nominee of any other party. It is not quite fair to characterize these parties as “always” cross-nominating a Democrat or a Republican.

The Working Families and Women’s Equality Party virtually always cross-nominate a Democrat; the Reform Party virtually always cross-nominates a Republican and the Conservative Party generally cross-nominates a Republican.

The Independence Party splits its cross-nominations between the two major parties, although in 2016 it leaned Republican. Of its 144 nominees for Congress and state legislature in 2016, 92 were Republicans, 51 were Democrats, and one was solely the nominee of the Independence Party. The Independence Party has never cross-nominated a Democrat for president, but once it cross-nominated a Republican (John McCain in 2008).

In 2016, the Conservative Party’s nominees for Congress and state legislature were 128 Republicans, 6 Democrats, and 30 who were not nominees of either the Democratic or Republican Party. In 2016, the Working Families nominees for Congress and state legislature were 140 Democrats and one who was not the nominee of any other party. Also in 2016, the Women’s Equality nominees for Congress and state legislature were 76 Democrats, two Republians, and three who were not the nominee of any other party. Finally, in 2016 the Reform nominees for Congress and state legislature were 120 Republicans, three Democrats, three Conservatives, and three who were not the nominees of any other party.

Colorado Bill to Outlaw Agreements Between Two Voters to Swap Votes

Colorado representatives Paul Rosenthal (D-Denver) and Dave Williams (R-Colorado Springs) have introduced HB 1014, which would make it illegal for two voters to agree to swap votes. Although the bill applies to votes for all office and all ballot measures, clearly it is designed to stop “vote trading” in presidential elections between two voters living in different states. Here is the text. The bill also repeals the law against “selfies”, i.e., taking a picture of one’s voted ballot and showing it to anyone else.

The part of the bill outlawing vote-swapping arguably violates the First Amendment. Federal courts in California in the last decade struck down the Secretary of State’s determination that vote-swapping for president between two voters in different states is illegal. Thanks to Sam Husseini for the news about the Colorado bill.

Law Professor Ned B. Foley Identifies Instant Runoff Voting for President as the Most Needed Electoral Reform

Election law professor Ned B. Foley has written this column, saying that not only is instant runoff voting desirable in presidential elections, it is the single most important election law reform that should be made. He discusses the 2016 presidential election at length, with reference to Jill Stein and Gary Johnson. Foley is at Moritz College of Law in Ohio, which has a special emphasis on election law. Thanks to Rick Hasen for the link.