Kentucky Minor Party Registration is Small, but Increasing

Only in the last year has Kentucky been keeping a tally of how many voters are registered as members of minor parties. Furthermore, when Kentucky started tallying this information, it excluded the voters who had always been registered in minor parties, and only started counting people who had registered in them after the policy started. Therefore, the numbers have been very small.

Nevertheless, they have risen this year. In May 2006, the numbers were: Libertarian 187, Green 102, Constitution 28, Reform 12, Socialist Workers 0.

Now they are: Libertarian 341, Green 173, Constitution 49, Reform 25, Socialist Workers 15.

Kentucky does this tally for any party that has been on the ballot in the last twenty years and is still in existence.

Romanelli Hearing in Commonwealth Court Set

On December 14, the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court will hold a hearing at 1:30 pm. The issue is whether Green Party candidate Carl Romanelli (who had tried to get on the ballot for U.S. Senate) should be required to pay almost $90,000 in court costs. In Pennsylvania, uniquely among the 50 states, when a candidate’s petition is challenged, only state court judges can determine whether the petition has enough valid signatures. The constitutionality of this concept is not being considered by the Commonwealth Court. However, Ralph Nader has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to rule that the whole idea violates the U.S. Constitution.

Green Outpolls Conservative in Ontario By-Election

On November 27, Canada held a special election to fill a vacant seat in Parliament. For the first time, a Green Party nominee placed second, outpolling two parties that regularly elect members to the Canadian Parliament. The election was in London-North-Centre, Ontario Province. The district has a large student population. The University of Western Ontario is in this district.

Seven candidates appeared on the ballot. The results were: Liberal 34.9%; Green 25.9%; Conservative 24.4%; New Democratic 14.1%. The other seven-tenths of 1% was split among the Progressive Canadian Party, the Canadian Action Party, and an independent candidate.

Ballot access in Canada, as well as in Great Britain, is equal for all candidates. A petition of 100 signatures plus a filing fee is required for everyone.

Democrats Win Control of Pennsylvania State House of Representatives

On November 28, elections officials in Pennsylvania finished two recounts for State House of Representatives. The results show that Democrats have the narrowest possible margin in the House. There will be 102 Democrats and 101 Republicans when the new State House convenes. This result is somewhat surprising, since the tallies on election night showed Republicans were more likely to control the house. The final result turned on the outcome in the 156th district, which Democrats won by 23 votes.

Representative Paul Clymer, a Republican, will no longer be chair of the House committee that handles ballot access. No one knows whom the new chair will be. Representative Clymer has been obstructing ballot access reform in Pennsylvania for the past several years, and he won’t be missed.

Workers World Newspaper Wins Defamation Lawsuit

On September 26, 2006, a New York Supreme Court Justice dismissed a defamation lawsuit that a large corporation had filed against Workers World Party and its newspaper, Workers World. Renco Group v Workers World Party, Manhatten, 102875-06. The party’s newspaper had written that the owners of WCI Steel were underfunding the workers’ pension funds. The decision said that the newspaper had “employed colorful rhetoric that is the hallmark of hyperbole”, and that its article was opinion, and therefore immune from any lawsuit alleging defamation or libel.

Why Didn't Greens or Libertarians Elect Any State Legislators?

The only nationally-organized minor party that elected any state legislators this month was the Constitution Party, in Montana. Greens and Libertarians had expected to elect some also.

Greens already had one state representative in Maine, John Eder of Portland. He was defeated for re-election in a 2-person race with 48.4% of the vote, in the 118th House district.

In Maine’s 119th House district, Green Matthew Reading polled 41.8% in a 3-party race, easily defeating his Republican opponent but losing to his Democratic opponent by about 150 votes.

In Maine’s 120th House district, Green Ben Meiklejohn, a member of the Portland School Board, polled 43.1% in a two-person race, losing to an incumbent Democrat.

Easing the sting for Maine Greens was the fact that they elected their first members to the Portland City Council. City council elections are non-partisan. Kevin Donaghue, 27, won his 3-person race with 47.4% of the vote. David Marshall, 28, won his 3-way race with 45.4% of the vote. No Portland Green member had ever before been elected to the Portland city council, which has nine members.

Portland’s School Committee continues to have four Greens, from a total membership of nine. One incumbent Green was defeated for re-election, but in another district, Greens gained a member.

Libertarians hoped for some legislative victories in Vermont, since five Libertarians had won the Republican primary, as well as the Libertarian convention nomination. However, all five were defeated in the general election. The closest showing was in the Rutland 5-1 House district, where Jeff Manney lost a two-person race with 43.6% of the vote. The second closest showing was in the Grand Isle-Chitten House district, where Hardy Machia lost a two-person race with 37.2% of the vote. The others polled 24.0%, 30.2%, and 28.9%.