The Reform Party went off the ballot in California in November 2002. When a party is off the ballot in California, but wishes to re-qualify, it must notify the Secretary of State to keep track of how many registrations it has. Once it gets a number of registrations equal to 1% of the last gubernatorial vote, it is back on the ballot. The Reform Party has just re-filed its request that the state keep track of its registrations. The next tally won’t be until September 2006. The Reform Party probably has about 35,000 registrants now, and it will probably need about 90,000 to get back on. The exact number won’t be known until the November 2006 election is held; the requirement is 1% of the number of people who vote in that election. The party would have until January 2008 to meet the requirement.
On June 28, the California State Senate Elections Committee passed AB 2948 by a vote of 3-1. It had already passed the Assembly. It seems likely that the California legislature will be the first legislature to pass the “National Popular Vote Plan”, which calls for a compact of states, each pledging to choose presidential electors pledged to vote for the presidential candidate who got the most votes in the nation. The compact would not go into effect until states containing a majority of electoral votes had joined.
A poll released on June 29 by Survey USA shows these figures for the Texas gubernatorial race: Republican Rick Perry 35%, Independent Kinky Friedman 21%, Democrat Chris Bell 20%, independent Carole Strayhorn 19%, other (including the Libertarian, James Werner) and undecided 5%.
On June 28, the U.S. Supreme Court said nothing in the U.S. Constitution prohibits states from redrawing congressional and legislative district boundaries in the middle of a decade. League of United Latin American Citizens v Perry, 05-204. The Court did say that one Texas district, the 23rd, must have its boundaries redrawn, because the redistricting violated the Voting Rights Act as to that one district. The 23rd district borders 5 other districts, so some of them will also have new boundaries. It seems the Texas legislature will be forced to return in a special session to redraw these lines, or perhaps the U.S. District Court in Austin will draw new lines. In that event, the March 2006 primary as to the changed districts is void. All of the districts with changed boundaries are in southwestern Texas. The only large city affected is San Antonio.
On June 27, the Massachusetts Secretary of State said that the “fusion” initiative now has enough signatures and will be on the November 2006 ballot. The initiative would legalize fusion (the ability of two parties to jointly nominate the same candidate). It would also make it far easier for a party to remain on the ballot. The Working Families Party sponsored this initiative.
On June 23, Governor Kathleen Blanco signed SB 18, to restore closed primaries in Louisiana for congressional elections. The bill takes effect next year. This year’s congressional elections will still use the “top-two” system, with the first round in November, and any needed run-off in December.