New Mexico Ballot Access Bill Introduced

On January 22, New Mexico State Representative Brian K. Moore introduced HB 331. It eliminates the need for qualified minor parties to submit a petition for each person its nominates at its conventions.

New Mexico is the only state that requires a new or minor party to submit one petition to qualify itself…lets that new party nominate by convention…and then expects that new qualified party to submit another petition for each person nominated. The logical equivalent would be a state law requiring a person nominated in a party primary to then submit a petition to get himself or herself on the November ballot. Such a law would be laughed at.

Or consider another analogy: can one imagine a state requiring President Bush to submit a petition to get himself on the November ballot after he has won the Republican presidential nomination at the party’s national convention? Yet that is what New Mexico does, to qualified parties that do not nominate by primary.

Canadians Consider Expanding Debates

Canada traditionally holds “premiership” debates between the leaders of four parties, prior to national parliamentary elections. One could consider these the Canadian equivalent of U.S. presidential debates. By tradition, any party that runs candidates for Parliament in a substantial number of Canadian districts, and which has at least one member of Parliament, is included in these debates. Recently, this has meant that the leaders of the Liberal, Conservative, Bloc Quebecois and New Democratic Parties debate.

The Canadian Green Party is pressing to be included in future debates. The Greens ran candidates in all Canadian districts in the last election, but have not yet elected anyone to Parliament. A poll announced on January 22 says that 77% of Canadians want the Greens included, 9% are opposed, and 14% have no opinion. The survey included 1,500 Canadians and was paid for by the Green Party. Note: this item has been amended to take account of information provided by a commenter.

Vermont Secretary of State Will Propose IRV for One or Two Offices

Vermont Secretary of State Deb Markowitz is asking the Vermont legislature to pass a bill that would let Vermont use Instant-Runoff Voting for one or two particular state offices in the future. The legislature will decide which offices. Markowitz then plans to use a hand-count for whichever offices are chosen. She feels this is the only practical solution, since each Vermont town decides for itself which vote-counting technology to use.