Texas Sponsor Found for Bill to Repeal Primary Screen-Out

Texas State Representative Mark Strama (D-Pflugerville) will soon introduce a bill to repeal the law that makes it illegal for primary voters to sign a petition for an independent candidate or a new party. Strama was elected to the legislature in 2004. He has long had a special interest in the electoral process. He was Director of Programs for Rock the Vote between 1995 and 1997, and he was CEO of NewVoter.com between 1998 and 2000. He hopes to find a Republican co-sponsor for the bill before he introduces it.

US Justice Department Approves Louisiana's New Semi-Closed Primary System for Congressional Elections

On January 23, the Louisiana Attorney General revealed that he had received a letter from the Voting Rights Section of the U.S. Justice Department, saying that Louisiana’s new semi-closed primary for Congressional Elections does not violate the Voting Rights Act. Therefore, in 2008, Louisiana will hold the same kind of congressional elections that other states do; parties will nominate candidates for Congress. During the years 1978-2006, parties in Louisiana did not nominate candidates for Congress. All individuals seeking to run for congress appeared on the same ballot, and all voters (regardless of registration) voted on that ballot. If someone got 50%, that person was elected; otherwise a run-off was held.

Under the new system, each party decides for itself if independents can vote in its congressional primaries. Louisiana has 5 qualified parties (Democratic, Republican, Libertarian, Green and Reform), and they all nominate by primary (for congress).

Louisiana elections for state office will continue to be “top-two”, in which parties don’t nominate candidates, and all voters get the same ballot.

US Justice Department Approves Louisiana’s New Semi-Closed Primary System for Congressional Elections

On January 23, the Louisiana Attorney General revealed that he had received a letter from the Voting Rights Section of the U.S. Justice Department, saying that Louisiana’s new semi-closed primary for Congressional Elections does not violate the Voting Rights Act. Therefore, in 2008, Louisiana will hold the same kind of congressional elections that other states do; parties will nominate candidates for Congress. During the years 1978-2006, parties in Louisiana did not nominate candidates for Congress. All individuals seeking to run for congress appeared on the same ballot, and all voters (regardless of registration) voted on that ballot. If someone got 50%, that person was elected; otherwise a run-off was held.

Under the new system, each party decides for itself if independents can vote in its congressional primaries. Louisiana has 5 qualified parties (Democratic, Republican, Libertarian, Green and Reform), and they all nominate by primary (for congress).

Louisiana elections for state office will continue to be “top-two”, in which parties don’t nominate candidates, and all voters get the same ballot.

National Popular Vote Plan Passes Colorado Senate

On January 22, the National Popular Vote plan (for presidential elections), SB 46, passed the Colorado State Senate on second reading; and on January 24 it passed on third reading. The bill now goes to the House. The vote appears to have been strictly partisan, with all Democrats voting “yes” and all Republicans voting “no”. The bill passed 20-15. A Republican motion to provide that the plan only go into effect if the voters pass it in 2008 was defeated by the same 20-15 margin. Democrats also have a majority in the state House of Representatives.

Republican National Committee Amicus Brief in New York Judicial Election Lawsuit

On January 12, the Republican National Committee filed an amicus curiae brief in the New York primary ballot access for Delegate to Party Judicial Nominating Conventions. The Republican brief pours scorn on the 2nd circuit’s conclusion that collecting 12,000 valid signatures of party members in only 37 days is a severe burden.

The record shows that the only slates of Delegate candidates who succeed in getting on primary ballots are slates supported by the Democratic and Republican machines. Nevertheless, the Republican brief says the idea that the ballot access burden is severe is “frivolous.” It says the petition requirement is “modest.”
It says the state has a prerogative to set the petition barriers as high as it does.

The U.S. Supreme Court will probably decide whether to take this case in early March.