Mediocre North Carolina Ballot Access Bill Moves Forward

On July 19, the North Carolina Senate Judiciary Committee passed H.88. The bill does some good but some harm. It does not change the number of signatures needed for a new party to get on the ballot. It does lower the number of votes needed for a party to remain on the ballot, from 10% of the vote for governor or president, to 2%. That is a significant improvement.

Unfortunately, the bill makes some things worse. It imposes filing fees on candidates nominated by convention (currently, new parties always nominate by convention, and their nominees need not pay a filing fee; the original intent of filing fees was to help pay for the administrative cost of primaries, so it didn’t make sense to impose fees on candidates nominated by convention).
Also, it seems to require a party to poll 2% for both president and governor (no state has ever had a requirement that a party must meet the vote test in more than one race).

H.88 also lowers the number of signatures needed for a statewide independent from the old unconstitutional requirement (2% of the number of registered voters) to 2% of the last gubernatorial vote cast. 2% of the last gubernatorial vote is currently 69,734 signatures.

Maine Greens get more State Income "Check-Off" Contributions than Republicans

Maine is one of 13 states in which state income tax forms provide a “Check-off” for taxpayers who want to help any particular political party. The tax returns filed this year show that the Maine Greens received more money from this “tax-off” provision than the Maine Republicans did. The August 1 2006 Ballot Access News will contain the data for all parties, for all 13 states.

Maine Greens get more State Income “Check-Off” Contributions than Republicans

Maine is one of 13 states in which state income tax forms provide a “Check-off” for taxpayers who want to help any particular political party. The tax returns filed this year show that the Maine Greens received more money from this “tax-off” provision than the Maine Republicans did. The August 1 2006 Ballot Access News will contain the data for all parties, for all 13 states.

Maine Greens Discover Previously Unknown Power

Maine has an independent state agency called the Commission on Government Ethics and Election Practices. According to the law, the Commission is to have five members, and no more than two can be from the same political party. For some time, there have been only four commissioners, two Democrats and two Republicans.

The Green Party, which is ballot-qualified in Maine, recently learned that the law requires that all qualified parties must agree on the identity of each commissioner. This effectively gives the Green Party a veto over each commissioner, when their 3-year terms expire soon. The Green Party is not displeased with the incumbent commissioners, but since there has been an empty seat, the Greens naturally seek to name one of their own as a commissioner. The Green Party has submitted a candidate for that empty seat who is well-qualified by experience.

The Commission’s webpage, www.maine.gov/ethics, describes itself as a “bipartisan” organization.

Constitution Party

Ever since 2005, the Constitution Party has experienced internal dissention on the issue of how to handle state party leaders who do not completely agree with the national platform. The state chair of the Nevada branch of the party does not completely agree with the national party’s abortion plank. Some supporters of that plank then tried to expel the Nevada branch of the party, but that move was defeated at the last national party meeting.

Since then, two ballot-qualified state units of the party have expressed displeasure with that outcome, by leaving the national party. They are the Montana and Oregon state units. However, the Idaho and Michigan state affiliates recently rejected the idea of leaving the national party.

Since 2006 is not a presidential election year, the result of state parties disaffiliating from a national party has no practical consequences. However, that would not be true in a presidential election year.