Why Unity08 Strategy Is Flawed

The organizers of Unity08 say they will choose an independent presidential candidate in the spring of 2008, using internet voting. The organizers say they will not start a formal new party.

This strategy seems not to have taken Texas ballot access laws into account. Texas requires independent presidential candidates to file 74,108 valid signatures, to get on the ballot in 2008, by early May. Signers must not have voted in the March presidential primary. Independent presidential candidates’ petitions are 1% of the last presidential vote, so the 2008 figure can be known today; the comment below that says the number is not yet known is inaccurate.

Texas has the earliest petition deadline of any state, for independent presidential candidates. There wouldn’t be time for a candidate chosen in April to successfully petition in Texas as an independent. No other state has a deadline earlier than mid-June, but the Texas deadline was upheld in 2004, in Nader v Connor, and the US Supreme Court refused to hear Nader’s appeal.

The way out is for Unity08 to create a new party. A new party could circulate its petition in Texas between the March primary and the end of May, and substantially fewer signatures would be required. The party petition could be circulated before the group had chosen its presidential candidate.

Massachusetts Democratic State Senator Off the Ballot

Massachusetts State Senator Dianne Wilkerson failed to qualify for the Democratic September 2006 primary ballot, in her quest to be re-elected. She can still be a write-in in the primary, though. She needed 300 valid signatures, but elections officials said she only had 291. To receive the nomination in the primary, she will need 300 write-ins. Thanks to MassVOTE for this news.

Colorado Republican Ballot Access Woes

One of the two Colorado Republicans running for Governor this year was eliminated from the primary because his petition was ruled insufficient. Marc Holtzman, former president of the University of Colorado, needed 10,500 valid signatures to get on the Republican primary ballot, since he didn’t get as much as 30% support at the state convention. The law requires 1,500 signatures from each of the seven U.S. House districts. Holtzman submitted 20,000 signatures, but he lacked as many as 1,500 in the First and Seventh districts. However, there are 4,200 signatures on his petition that are from unknown districts. Holtzman may contest the Secretary of State’s ruling.

D.C. Voting Bill Passes First Hurdle

On May 18, HR 5388 passed the US House of Representatives Committee on Government Reform, by a vote of 29-4. It is now pending in the House Judiciary Committee. HR 5388 gives the District of Columbia a voting member in the U.S. House, and also gives Utah another seat. The bill has 40 co-sponsors.