Jay Fisher Drops Out of US House Race in Georgia

Jay Fisher, who had hoped to be the first US House candidate on the ballot in Georgia from a party other than Democratic or Republican since 1942, has dropped out. He had hoped to appear as the Libertarian nominee in the 6th district. The first blow to his campaign was when he learned that the signature requirement is not 15,000, but 19,377. Since past experience with U.S. House petitioning in Georgia shows that the invalidity rate of signatures is typically 50% (since so many registered voters who sign don’t live in the correct district), this would have meant collecting 40,000 signatures before mid-July. Another barrier was that his employer informed him that, even though there is no formal policy against state employees running for federal office, an informal policy frowns on it.

New York Independence Party Internal Dispute Goes to Court

On February 16, the New York Supreme Court in Brooklyn heard arguments in Fulani v McKay, 4444-2006. The issue is whether the state officers of a ballot-qualified party may dissolve the county organizations of a party. In this case, Frank McKay, state chair, and his state committee, dissolved the Brooklyn, Queens and Bronx units of their own party, since he has political disagreements with those county units of his own party.

Maryland IRV Hearing Goes Well

On February 16, the Maryland State Senate that handles election law bills heard testimony on SB 292, which would implement Instant-Runoff Voting for all partisan elections in the state. The lead sponsor is Senator Paul Pinsky, who authored the ballot access reform back in the 1990’s. All witnesses who appeared in person testified in favor. The Committee will vote sometime later this month.

A Better, Older Congressional Bill on Public Funding

One bill on public funding of congressional candidates is HR 3099, which was introduced June 28, 2005 by Congressman John Tierney (D-Mass.). HR 3099 is mildly discriminatory. Nominees of parties that polled 25% of the vote in the last 5 years for president, governor, or US House in that district receive public funding for US House if they collect $5 contributions from at least 1,500 residents of their district. Independent candidates who had run before and polled 25% would also need 1,500 contributors. All other candidates would need 2,250 contributors. HR 3099 is far fairer than HR 4694 (see post about HR 4694 below, Feb. 2).