Massachusetts Democratic State Senator Off the Ballot

Massachusetts State Senator Dianne Wilkerson failed to qualify for the Democratic September 2006 primary ballot, in her quest to be re-elected. She can still be a write-in in the primary, though. She needed 300 valid signatures, but elections officials said she only had 291. To receive the nomination in the primary, she will need 300 write-ins. Thanks to MassVOTE for this news.

Colorado Republican Ballot Access Woes

One of the two Colorado Republicans running for Governor this year was eliminated from the primary because his petition was ruled insufficient. Marc Holtzman, former president of the University of Colorado, needed 10,500 valid signatures to get on the Republican primary ballot, since he didn’t get as much as 30% support at the state convention. The law requires 1,500 signatures from each of the seven U.S. House districts. Holtzman submitted 20,000 signatures, but he lacked as many as 1,500 in the First and Seventh districts. However, there are 4,200 signatures on his petition that are from unknown districts. Holtzman may contest the Secretary of State’s ruling.

D.C. Voting Bill Passes First Hurdle

On May 18, HR 5388 passed the US House of Representatives Committee on Government Reform, by a vote of 29-4. It is now pending in the House Judiciary Committee. HR 5388 gives the District of Columbia a voting member in the U.S. House, and also gives Utah another seat. The bill has 40 co-sponsors.

2nd Circuit Wants Speedy Consideration of Vote Dilution Case

On June 1, the 2nd circuit directed a lower US District Court in New York state to decide whether New York violates the 14th amendment by disenfranchising prisoners, and simultaneously counting prisoners as residents of prison communities, instead of counting them as residents of their home before they were imprisoned. Hayden v Pataki, 04-3886.

The great bulk of felons in New York state are imprisoned in rural communities in upstate New York, yet a majority of felons consider their home to be in New York city and other urban areas of New York state. For purposes of drawing congressional and legislative districts, this practice results in giving extra voting power to rural upstate areas, relative to large cities. The 2nd circuit wants the lower court to consider whether the state’s redistricting logic is faulty.

Unity08 Gets Publicity

On May 28, a group called Unity08 announced plans to choose an independent presidential candidate over the internet, and petition to get him or her on the November 2008 ballots. On May 31 the group was featured in the Washington Post and on the PBS News show Lehrer News Hour. The publicity was due to the fact that Unity08 is being organized by experienced and well-known Democratic and Republican political organizers. The spokesmen on the Lehrer News Hour were Doug Bailey and Hamilton Jordan. They believe that the Democratic and Republican presidential selection process (depending on Iowa caucus attendees and New Hampshire voters) is too exclusionary. They also believe that the two major parties cannot tackle the pressing issues of the day, because the base of each of these parties is fixated on issues that are not as pressing. Finally, they believe that the two major parties are so hostile to each other, and so dedicated to winning at any price, that public discourse and government policy suffer.

For more information, see www.unity08.com.