On March 20, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear Igartua v U.S., the case over whether international treaties that the U.S. has signed (promising to treat all citizens equally for voting rights purposes) force the U.S. to let residents of Puerto Rico have representation in the Electoral College. 05-650.
The Idaho Natural Law Party has 3 candidates for state and federal office this year, so it will continue to be qualified for 2006 and 2008. Although the Natural Law Party nationally has disbanded, the Idaho unit has allied itself with a new party (organized only in Idaho) called the United Party. The United Party webpage is www.unitedparty.net. The party was founded by Andy Hedden-Nicely, who once owned the Boise Weekly newspaper.
At the end of 2005, the Connecticut legislature passed “Clean Elections”, public funding for state elections. But the bill severely discriminated against candidates who are not Democrats and Republicans. Although all candidates need to raise a considerable amount of private donations to qualify for public funding, extra hurdles were placed on non-major party members. These included submitting petitions signed by 20% of the number of voters who voted for the office at the last election (for full funding, for independent candidates or new parties). Parties that had polled 10% at the last election were eligible for one-third of funding.
Now, bills have been introduced to ease the discrimination somewhat. SB 83 and HB 5572 would provide equal funding for parties that had polled 10% at the last election.
HB 5052 and HB 5610 would lower the petition, to either 5% of the number of registered voters (for full funding), 4% (for two-thirds funding) and 3% (for one-third funding). They would also lower the vote thresholds to 5% (for full funding), 4% (for two-thirds funding) and 3% (for one-third funding).
SB 625 deletes petitioning at all, so that (if this bill were enacted) new parties and independent candidates couldn’t participate at all.
All of these bills had a hearing on March 13, but no action has been taken yet.
There is no rational reason to build any discrimination into the public funding law. The “Clean Elections” of Maine and Arizona are refreshing in their simplicity and fairness; every candidate is treated the same, regardless of party. Candidates who raise enough private money qualify for public funding, period, regardless of party.
The Ohio Secretary of State has finally published the booklet “Election Statistics” for the November 2004 election. The booklet does not include the labels that were printed on the ballot for the few minor party and independent candidates who ran in that election. Of course, Republican and Democratic nominees are labeled as such in the book.
An independent candidate won a lawsuit in the 6th circuit, forcing the state to begin printing labels for independents. Previous to that, independent candidates on the Ohio ballot had no partisan label whatsoever. Even after the 1992 lawsuit was won, the Ohio legislature refused to amend the law to authorize labels until 2003, when it grudgingly passed a bill to print either “no-party candidate” or “other-party candidate” on the ballots. In 2004, Michael Badnarik (Libertarian presidential nominee) and Michael Peroutka (Constitution Party presidential nominee) each had “other-party candidate” printed next to their names on the ballot. These are silly labels, but better than no label at all. However, even these labels are missing from the printed election return book.
The Natural Law Party was organized in the United States in the spring of 1992, but its founders disbanded it in 2004. Nevertheless, it remains on the ballot in a few states. In California, it will be removed from the ballot in November 2006, since the law requires a party to poll 2% for at least one statewide nominee, and no one filed in its primary.
In Hawaii, the law is ambiguous. Since it was on the ballot for 3 elections in a row (1996-2000), it is entitled to be on automatically for another 5 elections, or through the 2010 election. However, it is possible Hawaii’s Elections Departments will still consider it disqualified since no one filed in its primary in 2004. The filing period for 2006 ends in July.
In Idaho and Michigan, it is possible that individuals who have not been associated with the party in the past will obtain the party’s nomination. In Idaho, a party remains on the ballot as long as it has at least 3 nominees for state or federal office. In Idaho, where the party nominates by primary, filing ends March 17. The Michigan deadline for a party to submit nominees (chosen by convention) is not until July.
The party is also qualified in Florida and Mississippi, states in which any party that submits a list of state party officers is considered qualified.
On March 11, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge David Yaffee ordered the city of Vernon to put three candidates for City Council on the ballot. The city clerk had said they couldn’t run because they were registered at a converted commercial space, and they had been evicted from that address. The judge said that just because the city evicted them doesn’t mean they aren’t bona fide residents. “Maybe they’re living on the streets, or in their cars”, he said. Eskndarian v City of Vernon, bc-346114.