Now is the Time to Seek Legislative Sponsors for Ballot Access Improvement Bills

This is the prime season for state legislators to decide what bills they will be introducing next year. In some states, legislators can only introduce a fairly small number of bills, and in some states all bills must be introduced in the next three months.

It is especially important that bills be introduced in the states where the ballot access laws are so restrictive that only the Democratic and Republican Parties are now qualified. These states are Alabama, Arkansas, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia, and Washington. Also, in Georgia, the Libertarian Party is qualified for statewide office only, not district or county office. And in Connecticut, several minor parties are ballot-qualified for some partisan offices but not others.

However, it should be noted that the Maryland Green Party will probably be ballot-qualified in a month or so, since it has almost finished its 2008 party petition; the same is true for the North Dakota Libertarian and Constitution Parties. Therefore, the list of “bad” states above will soon be 17 states, not 19. Also note that since the Arkansas and Ohio petition procedures were declared unconstitutional recently, state legislature in those states must address the question.

Wyoming Libertarians Qualify for Their Own Primary

The Wyoming Libertarian nominee for Secretary of State polled 18% in a two-way race on November 7. That qualifies the party for its own primary. The party had already been a qualified party, but since it had polled under 10% in 2004, it was only entitled to nominate by convention.

This is not the first time the Wyoming Libertarian Party has been entitled to its own primary. It also enjoyed that status in 2004, because in 2002 it had also polled over 10% for Secretary of State. Both times, Wyoming Democrats didn’t run anyone for that office, so it was easier for the Libertarians to poll a big vote.

New Minnesota Secretary of State Supports IRV

Minnesota’s Republican Secretary of State, Mary Kiffmeyer, was defeated on November 7 by the Democratic nominee for that office, Mark Ritchie. Kiffmeyer had not taken a position on alternate voting systems, but Ritchie supports experimenting with Instant-Runoff Voting. This outcome parallels the California Secretary of State race noted on an earlier posting. Thanks to Matt Spencer for this news.

Greens Elect Mayor of Richmond, California

Richmond, California voters elected a member of the Green Party to be Mayor, on November 7. Unlike many cities in California, the voters directly choose their Mayor by a direct election (the more normal California pattern is for the city council to choose one of its own to be Mayor). The election, like all city and county elections in California, is non-partisan. However, the winning Green is well-known for being a member of the Green Party. She has been on the city council since 2002. She is Gayle McLaughlin, who won a 3-person race with 37.2% of the vote. The defeated incumbent, Irma Anderson, polled 36.1%, and a third candidate, Gary Bell, received 26.1%. The remaining .6% was cast for write-in candidates.

Constitution Party Wins Contested Race for Nevada County Clerk-Treasurer

On November 7, Eureka County, Nevada voters elected Jackie Berg to be the new County Clerk-Treasurer. The vote was Berg (Constitution) 389; Karen LaBarry (Republican) 238; Elizabeth Smith (Libertarian) 92.

The Republican nominee had lived in Eureka County for approximately 30 years and had married into a prominent local ranching family. Berg, by contrast, had only lived in Eureka County since 2004. But, she was Deputy County Clerk-Treasurer, and she campaigned very hard. Berg has been a member of the Constitution Party since 2002. In Nevada, the Constitution Party is named the Independent American Party.

To a certain extent, LaBarry took victory for granted, since she was the only major party nominee in the race.