On May 10, U.S. District Court Judge Lee Yeakel ruled against Texas independent gubernatorial candidate Carole Strayhorn. Yeakel said nothing in the U.S. Constitution requires the state to use random sampling, instead of checking all the signatures. Strayhorn v Williams, A-06-CA-205. Strayhorn had sued because the Secretary of State had initially said the job of checking all her signatures might take him until July or August. Strayhorn had argued that her campaign would be hurt if she weren’t officially on the ballot until then.
After the decision came out, Strayhorn claimed a moral victory, because now the Secretary of State says, even without random sampling, he will finish verifying the signatures in 4 or 5 weeks.
The court decision didn’t address the separate issue of whether it is constitutional for the state to forbid turning in additional signatures, after the first batch has been turned in.
The Reform Party has qualified for the Nevada ballot in one U.S. House race this year. Bruce Westcott is running in the 1st district in Las Vegas. This is the only successful Reform Party petition this year so far, for any congressional or statewide race.
Carole Strayhorn is currently suing Texas over a regulation that won’t permit multiple turn-ins of signatures. Although she turned in 223,000 signatures on May 9, she turned in another 6,000 on May 11, the deadline. The state accepted the 2nd batch even though it says they won’t count. Strayhorn’s action keeps that aspect of her lawsuit from being declared moot.
Among the signers in the 2nd batch were the signatures of a woman who signed on her hospital bed shortly before she died, plus the nurse in attendance.
On May 12, the Missouri legislature adjourned, without passing SB 726, the bill which gives more flexibility to newly-qualifying parties to decide whom to run for president.
However, the legislature passed SB 1014, which eliminates the straight-ticket voting device. Generally, straight-ticket devices injure minor parties and independent candidates.
On May 12, State Senator James Meeks of Illinois announced that he will unveil a slate of statewide candidates (presumably, under the party label “Honesty and Integrity”) on May 20. He didn’t say if he will be the gubernatorial candidate of his new party, but it is likely.
It had been looking as though Alabama was going to be the only state with a statewide ballot access monopoly for Democrats and Republicans in November 2006. It had seemed as though every other state with a statewide partisan race on the ballot would have at least one minor party or independent candidate on the statewide ballot.
But now, there is even hope that Alabama will have a third choice in a statewide race this year. The Libertarian Party is energized and working very hard to obtain the 41,012 valid signatures needed to get on the ballot. This energy comes from the party’s gubernatorial candidate, Loretta Nall, who is a natural campaigner with great appeal. The deadline is June 6.
A lawsuit is pending against that deadline. U.S. District Court Judge Myron Thompson received all the briefs in late 2004, and we have been waiting for his opinion ever since.