In the entire history of government-printed ballots (which began in 1903 in Texas), no independent candidate for Governor or any other statewide state office has ever appeared on the ballot. However, this year, two prominent individuals are expected to run as independents for Governor. One is entertainer and writer Kinky Friedman; the other is Texas Comptroller Carole Strayhorn.
Texas has always had difficult requirements for independent candidates for statewide office. They have always needed a petition of 1% of the last gubernatorial vote (except that presidential independents, since 1977, have needed 1% of the last presidential vote). However, minor party ballot access in Texas was very easy before 1967. No petition was required for new or small parties before 1967, so potential independent candidates in Texas merely started their own parties and got on the ballot easily that way.
No independent candidates for congress, or for state executive or legislative posts, will be on the Illinois ballot in November 2006 (there may be minor party candidates in Illinois in 2006, but that hasn’t been determined yet). In Illinois, independent candidates must file in December of the year before the election (unless they are running for president, and of course 2006 is not a presidential election year). Although a handful of independent candidates turned in token petitions, all of them have been challenged.
Kentucky State Board of Elections has released the first-ever registration data for minor parties. The state totals as of Dec. 21, 2005, are 56 Libertarians, 20 Greens, 7 Constitution Party, 3 Reform Party, 533 independents. These figures are small because the regulation empowering the collection of this data only applies to registration forms filled out later than Nov. 15, 2005.
The Labor Party was formed in 1990 by Tony Mazzocchi, but until this year, it never attempted to qualify as a political party in any state. However, a few weeks ago, the Labor Party launched a petition drive to qualify itself for the South Carolina ballot. The election law says these signatures are due six months before the November 2006, which works out to May 7, 2006. However, the South Carolina Election Commission has told the Labor Party that it really ought to submit its petitions by January 31, 2006, so the party is attempting t0 meet that deadline. The party says it chose South Carolina because the vast majority of the state’s adult population are workers, and that neither major party in that state serves their interests.
A hearing will be held in US District Court in Utah on January 25, 2006, in International Assn. of United Workers Union v United Mine Workers of America. This is the case in which a company union is suing, among others, The Militant (newspaper of the Socialist Workers Party) for slander, concerning how The Militant reported a labor union dispute.
On December 20, the Reform Party appealed an order of the U.S. District Court in Florida that had ordered the party to repay $333,558 to the Federal Election Commission. FEC v Reform Party of USA.