On October 6, U.S. District Court Judge Norman Moon refused to require the University of Virginia Center for Politics to invite independent Virginia gubernatorial candidate Russell Potts into its gubernatorial debate. Since the debate sponsor is a branch of the state government, Potts should have won the case. The US Supreme Court said in Arkansas Educational TV Foundation v Forbes, 523 US 666 (1998), that government-owned entities must include all candidates with a real campaign, when they hold debates. Potts has a very substancial campaign and a large campaign budget, and has his own TV ads.
The debate will now include only the Democratic and Republican nominees, and will be held October 9.
On October 7, the European Court of Human Rights ruled 12-5 that prisoners must be allowed to vote. The European charter guarantees the “right to free elections”, and the court construed that to mean that prisoners do not lose voting rights. The case had been brought by a British prisoner serving a term for manslaughter (the crime was committed in 1980).
New York city elects its 3 citywide partisan officers on November 8. In the Mayor’s race, eight candidates will be on the ballot. They are the nominees of the Republican, Democratic, Conservative, Socialist Workers, Libertarian and Green Parties, as well as two independent candidates. The Working Families Party has no nominee for Mayor, and the Independence Party cross-endorsed the Republican nominee.
For the two lesser citywide posts, no Republicans were able to qualify. The Comptroller’s race has nominees of the Democratic, Conservative, Working Families, Socialist Workers and Libertarian Parties. The Public Advocate’s race has nominees of only the Democratic, Conservative and Libertarian Parties, plus one independent candidate.
The bill in the Georgia legislature to reduce the number of signatures needed for district office (US House, state legislature) and county office, from 5% of the registered voters, to 2% of the last vote cast, is gaining. There are now 10 members of the House who say they will co-sponsor it next year, when the legislature reconvenes. The bill is HB 527.
The Georgia petition requirement for US House, which has existed since 1943, is easily the most onerous ballot access law in the nation, since no party has been able to comply with it, in the 62 years it has existed. It is a scandal that the federal judges in Georgia have never been willing to invalidate it.
On October 5, California held a special election for US House, 48th district. Since no one got 50%, there will be a run-off (featuring the top vote-getter from each of 5 parties) on December 6.
The unofficial October 5 results are: the 9 Republicans, together, polled 67.3% of all the votes cast. The 4 Democrats together polled 16.6% of the vote. The Constitution Party nominee, Jim Gilchrist, polled 16.1% (in California, the Constitution Party is called the American Independent Party). The Green nominee polled .9% and the Libertarian nominee polled .8%.
On October 1, the California Democratic Party passed a resolution in support of letting general law cities and counties use Instant-Runoff Voting or Ranked Choice Voting. The resolution will help to pass SB 596 next year, a bill to give all cities and counties the freedom to experiment.