President Trump Attacks Debt Relief for Puerto Rico; Could Influence Upcoming June 11 Vote on Independence or Statehood

On April 27, President Donald Trump tweeted opposition to bailing out Puerto Rico from its financial crisis. See this story. The story does not mention that on June 11, Puerto Rico voters will be asked to choose between independence (or virtual independence), or statehood. The option for the status quo is not on the ballot. It is difficult to predict how Trump’s statements might affect the vote.

North Carolina Senate Passes Bill Easing Ballot Access

On Wednesday, April 26, the North Carolina Senate unanimously passed SB 656, by Senator Andrew Brock. It lowers the number of signatures from 2% of the last gubernatorial vote to exactly 10,000. It also lowers the statewide independent petition to 5,000. See this story.

Bills have to pass in their house of origin by April 27, in order to remain alive. Thanks to Kevin Hayes for this news.

Oklahoma Ballot Access Improvement Bills Delayed Until 2018

April 27 is the deadline for Oklahoma bills that have passed the house of origin to also have passed the other house. Neither of the two bills that improve ballot access will be brought up in the House on April 27. Both bills had passed the Senate and all House committees with almost no opposition, but they can’t pass in 2017. Oklahoma has two-year legislative sessions, so both bills will be alive during 2018.

SB 145 eliminates mandatory petitions for independent presidential candidates and the presidential nominees of unqualified parties. SB 350 makes it easier for a party to remain on the ballot.

Texas Legislative Committee Takes Testimony on Ballot Access Bill

On the evening of April 24, Monday, the Texas House Elections Committee heard testimony on HB 3068, which improves ballot access for minor parties and independent candidates. Supporting the bill were representatives of America’s Party, the Green Party, and the Libertarian Party. The committee will vote some time later on whether to pass the bill. Thanks to Jim Riley for this news.

Colorado Newspaper Story on Continuing Saga of the 2016 “Disobedient” Presidential Electors

The Colorado Independent has this interesting story about the presidential electors in 2016 who struggled to assert their right to vote for any qualified presidential candidate in the electoral college. The story says that the one elector who refused to vote for Hillary Clinton may yet be indicted, even though he was expelled as a elector at the meeting of the electoral college. The story also summarizes the current court proceedings. Thanks to Rick Hasen for the link.