Instant-Runoff Voting Makes Gains

On November 2, the voters of Ferndale, Michigan, voted to use Instant-Runoff voting in future city elections, as soon as voting equipment is available to do the job. And in Burlington, Vermont, voters passed an advisory question recommending that the city council implement IRV in mayoral elections. Both cities passed the measures overwhelmingly: 70% in Ferndale and 66% in Burlington.

Also, even more significantly, voters transferred control of the Vermont House of Representatives from the Republicans to the Democrats. The Democrats already controlled the State Senate. It is now more than likely that a bill to establish IRV in Vermont statewide elections will pass in 2005. It is not known if the Republican Governor will sign or veto the bill, should it reach his desk. During the period 2001-2004, IRV bills were repeatedly stopped by the Republican majority in the Vermont House.

Changes in “Qualified Status” for Minor Parties

Compared to November 8, 2000 (the day after that year’s presidential election), here are the changes in “qualified status” for each political party, as a result of election results, various voter registration drives, and various legislative changes since then:

  • Libertarian: was on in 25 states then, now on in 26. Gains since Nov. 8, 2000 are Hawaii, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan. Losses since then are Alabama, Massachusetts, and Washington.
  • Green: was on in 20 states then, now on in 16. Gains are Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, South Carolina, Vermont. Losses are Iowa, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, Rhode Island, Texas (not included in the above tally is the Connecticut status for president only, which existed after 2000 but no longer does).
  • Constitution: was on in 13 states then, now on in 15. Gains are Maryland, Michigan, South Dakota. Loss in Kansas.
  • Natural Law: was on in 11 states then, now on in 7. Gain in Michigan. Losses in Colorado, Montana, Nevada, South Carolina, Vermont.
  • Reform: was on in 12 states then, now on in 7. Gain in Louisiana. Losses in California, Colorado, Idaho, Michigan, Montana, Oregon, South Dakota.

Changes in the status of parties that only exist in a single state are:

  • California: Peace & Freedom Party was not on the ballot in 2000 but is now.
  • New York: Liberal and Right-to-Life Parties were on in 2000, but not now.
  • Rhode Island: Cool Moose Party no longer exists.
  • Vermont: Grassroots Party no longer exists, but a Marijuana Party has risen to take its place.

Changes in "Qualified Status" for Minor Parties

Compared to November 8, 2000 (the day after that year’s presidential election), here are the changes in “qualified status” for each political party, as a result of election results, various voter registration drives, and various legislative changes since then:

  • Libertarian: was on in 25 states then, now on in 26. Gains since Nov. 8, 2000 are Hawaii, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan. Losses since then are Alabama, Massachusetts, and Washington.
  • Green: was on in 20 states then, now on in 16. Gains are Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, South Carolina, Vermont. Losses are Iowa, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, Rhode Island, Texas (not included in the above tally is the Connecticut status for president only, which existed after 2000 but no longer does).
  • Constitution: was on in 13 states then, now on in 15. Gains are Maryland, Michigan, South Dakota. Loss in Kansas.
  • Natural Law: was on in 11 states then, now on in 7. Gain in Michigan. Losses in Colorado, Montana, Nevada, South Carolina, Vermont.
  • Reform: was on in 12 states then, now on in 7. Gain in Louisiana. Losses in California, Colorado, Idaho, Michigan, Montana, Oregon, South Dakota.

Changes in the status of parties that only exist in a single state are:

  • California: Peace & Freedom Party was not on the ballot in 2000 but is now.
  • New York: Liberal and Right-to-Life Parties were on in 2000, but not now.
  • Rhode Island: Cool Moose Party no longer exists.
  • Vermont: Grassroots Party no longer exists, but a Marijuana Party has risen to take its place.

At Least 8 Minor Party Candidates Elected to State Legislatures (updated)

On November 2, the Green Party of Maine, the Constitution Party of Montana, and the Vermont Progressive Party, all elected state legislators.

  • The Maine Greens re-elected John Eder, who had first been elected to the legislature as a Green in 2002. The result was a surprise, since in 2003 the legislature had redrawn the lines and abolished Eder’s district. Eder then moved, and walked precincts in his new district for the last several months, and won again in a 3-party race. Eder polled approximately 54%.
  • The Constitution Party appears to have elected Rick Jore to the Montana legislature, but one vote. There will surely be a recount, so his victory is not certain. This race was also a 3-person race.
  • The Vermont Progressive Party elected six members to the Vermont house. Previously the party had four members. The six winners on the Vermont Progressive Party ticket are Bob Kiss, David Zuckerman, Sarah Edwards, Sandy Haas, Winston Dowland, and Dexter Randall. When the Progressive Party first started winning legislative seats in Vermont, all their victories were in Burlington. Now, however, 4 of their legislators (all but Kiss and Zuckerman) are from other parts of Vermont. Haas and Dowland won in seats that usually elect Republicans.

There may be other minor party victories to state legislatures as well; any others discovered will be added. Let us know if you are aware of any additional wins.

Maine Green Legistator Reelected

John Eder, who was elected to the Maine legislature in 2002, was re-elected on November 2, 2004, even though the legislature had redistricted the state house boundaries in 2003 and virtually abolished Eder’s district. Eder won a 2-person race with 51%.

California Prop. 62 Loses in 52 Out of 58 Counties

California’s proposition 62, the “top two” method that put all candidates for congress and state office on the June primary ballot, and only permitted the top two vote-getters to be on the November ballot, only carried 6 counties (Butte, Nevada, Lassen, Kings, Imperial and Modoc). It lost in all the high-population counties, even though it had been endorsed by the Los Angeles Times, the San Jose Mercury News, the Sacramento-Fresno-Modesto Bees, and the San Francisco Chronicle.