Peace & Freedom Party Threatened

The California Secretary of State, Bruce McPherson, seems to be on the verge of reversing 75 years of precedent, and ruling that a party that first qualified in a presidential election year cannot be on the following gubernatorial election ballot two years later, unless it has registration equal to 1% of the last gubernatorial vote.

The California election code section defining political parties has not changed in structure since 1929. Always, in the past, a party that qualifies in a presidential year is assumed to remain qualified, until it fails either the vote test or the registration test. The registration test is only one-fifteenth of 1%, and the vote test is 2% for any statewide race in a gubernatorial election year.

Peace & Freedom qualified in 2004. Since it wasn’t on the ballot in 2002, obviously it didn’t poll 2% of the vote for any statewide race in 2002. Precedents from 1934 (the Liberty Party), 1950 (Independent Progressive Party), 1970 (Peace & Freedom Party), and 1998 (Natural Law Party), all agree that a party that first qualifies in a presidential year remains on the ballot until it fails either test. PFP has not failed either test. Yet, the Secretary of State is saying it must, in effect, re-qualify this year.

The Secretary of State’s office has been furnished with the historical information, and the final decision is still pending.

Peace & Freedom Party Threatened

The California Secretary of State, Bruce McPherson, seems to be on the verge of reversing 75 years of precedent, and ruling that a party that first qualified in a presidential election year cannot be on the following gubernatorial election ballot two years later, unless it has registration equal to 1% of the last gubernatorial vote.

The California election code section defining political parties has not changed in structure since 1929. Always, in the past, a party that qualifies in a presidential year is assumed to remain qualified, until it fails either the vote test or the registration test. The registration test is only one-fifteenth of 1%, and the vote test is 2% for any statewide race in a gubernatorial election year.

Peace & Freedom qualified in 2004. Since it wasn’t on the ballot in 2002, obviously it didn’t poll 2% of the vote for any statewide race in 2002. Precedents from 1934 (the Liberty Party), 1950 (Independent Progressive Party), 1970 (Peace & Freedom Party), and 1998 (Natural Law Party), all agree that a party that first qualifies in a presidential year remains on the ballot until it fails either test. PFP has not failed either test. Yet, the Secretary of State is saying it must, in effect, re-qualify this year.

The Secretary of State’s office has been furnished with the historical information, and the final decision is still pending.

Congressman Obey's Public Funding Bill Will Discriminate

Congressman David Obey’s public funding bill for congressional candidates will be introduced on February 1. The bill will be roughly similar to Connecticut’s new public funding bill for state office. If the candidate is the nominee of a party that had averaged 25% of the vote in the last two elections for that particular office, that candidate will receive full funding. Independent candidates will be treated like parties, so that Bernie Sanders would receive funding if he had averaged 25% in the last two elections. However, independents running for the first time, and new parties, and parties that had not polled very well in the past could only get full funding if they submitted a petition signed by 20% of the last vote cast for that office. A 10% petition would result in partial funding. The bill would outlaw private money for everyone, so minor parties which couldn’t qualify for public funding would not be able to spend any money at all.

Congressman Obey’s Public Funding Bill Will Discriminate

Congressman David Obey’s public funding bill for congressional candidates will be introduced on February 1. The bill will be roughly similar to Connecticut’s new public funding bill for state office. If the candidate is the nominee of a party that had averaged 25% of the vote in the last two elections for that particular office, that candidate will receive full funding. Independent candidates will be treated like parties, so that Bernie Sanders would receive funding if he had averaged 25% in the last two elections. However, independents running for the first time, and new parties, and parties that had not polled very well in the past could only get full funding if they submitted a petition signed by 20% of the last vote cast for that office. A 10% petition would result in partial funding. The bill would outlaw private money for everyone, so minor parties which couldn’t qualify for public funding would not be able to spend any money at all.

New Mexico Bill Makes Ballot Access Worse

House Bill 453 has been introduced in the New Mexico legislature. Among other things, it moves the petition deadline for minor party nominee-petitions from mid-July to early June. New Mexico legislators seem blissfully oblivous to the need to abolish nominee-petitions. New Mexico is the only state in the nation which requires one petition to qualify the party, and then additional petitions for each of that new party’s nominees. The same system was declared unconstitutional in Maryland in 2003. Minor party representatives presented this information last year to a commission organized to reform the election laws. But the information seems to have fallen on deaf ears.

Texas Ballot Access Victory

On January 27, the Texas Supreme Court ruled that minor technical problems with petitions should not keep candidates off the ballot. The Court ordered two candidates for Judge of the Criminal Appeals court onto the Republican primary ballot. In re Holcomb, 06-40, and In re Francis, 06-42. One candidate was 5 signatures short (he needed 700) and one candidate made a typographical error on his petition.