Plainfield, New Jersey, Mayor Must Be a Write-in Candidate

A decision of New Jersey state courts is forcing the Mayor of Plainfield, New Jersey, to run for re-election on Nov. 8 as a write-in candidate. The Mayor, Albert T. McWilliams, had served two terms as a Democrat, but he lost the Democratic primary in June 2005. The Republican nominee then dropped out, giving the Republicans a chance to choose a new nominee by committee, and the Republican committee chose Mayor McWilliams. However, a State Court of Appeals ruled on October 17 that the “sore loser” law prohibits the Republicans from choosing McWilliams. On October 20, the State Supreme Court refused to hear the appeal. The Republicans are left with no nominee on the ballot, and will support the Mayor’s write-in campaign.

New York Libertarians Win a Better Line on Ballot

On October 21, a lower New York state court ruled that the Libertarian nominees, not the Socialist Workers Party nominees, should have the sixth line on the New York city ballot next month. The law provides that the qualified parties get the left-hand columns. New York has five qualified parties, so they fill up the 5 left-most columns.

The unqualified parties get the remaining columns, in the order in which they turn in their petitions. The Libertarians had turned in a petition for one nominee (for an office covering just part of New York city), earlier than any other unqualified party had turned in any petitions.

The Socialist Workers Party had filed next, for all of its nominees. Then, the Libertarians had turned in their remaining petitions, including the petition for the city-wide nominees. The City Board of Elections gave the sixth column to the Socialist Workers Party and the seventh column to the Libertarian Party. But the court reversed the decision. The law says the parties are listed in the order in which “the first candidate” of a group filed, not “the first candidate for Mayor”. The court applied these words literally.

New Mexico Libertarians Finish Petition

The Libertarian Party of New Mexico has collected 6,800 signatures on its petition to get back on the ballot. Since 3,872 are required, this is probably enough. This is the first petition drive the Libertarian Party has completed anywhere in the U.S. in a year. By contrast, the Green Party has completed two during the last year (Louisiana and Utah).