Meeting in Kansas City on August 6-7, the Libertarian Party’s national committee altered the definition of “membership” in the national party. National membership will no longer be linked to the payment of national dues. Dues had been $25 per year for decades, and earlier this year they had been raised to $50. The Libertarian Party, along with the various parties that hold themselves out as socialist, had been the only nationally-organized parties in the U.S. in which dues were required for membership.
The New York city mayoral election this November will probably include six candidates on the ballot. The Working Families, Conservative, Libertarian and Socialist Workers Parties will each have their own nominee, in addition to the Republican and Democratic nominees. Incumbent mayor Michael Bloomberg, a Republican, is expected to win the Republican Party and also have the nomination of the Independence Party and the Liberal Party.
This will be the first important elected office for which the Working Families Party has not cross-endorsed the Democratic nominee (the Democratic nominee will be chosen in a September primary). The Working Families Party has already decided to run its own candidate, Kevin Finnegan. The Conservative Party has also decided to run its own candidate, Tom Ognibene.
On July 22, a lower state court in New Hampshire upheld the state’s ballot access laws for minor parties and independent candidates. Specifically, the court upheld the number of signatures for statewide candidates (3,000) and the definition of “party” (a group that polled 4% for either Governor or US Senator). Libertarian Party of N.H. v State, 05-E-4, Merrimack County. The Libertarian and Constitution Parties will appeal to the New Hampshire Supreme Court. The lower court said that the state constitution gives no greater protection to voting than the U.S. Constitution, even though the New Hampshire Constitution says, “Every inhabitant of the state, having the proper qualifications, has an equal right to be elected into office.” Members of qualified parties need not collect any signatures to be placed on a primary ballot.
The Green Party is just days away from being a qualified party in Louisiana for the first time, and re-qualifying in Utah. In Louisiana the party has its required 1,000 registered members, and will be a qualified party when it submits its $1,000 fee on August 8. In Utah the Green Party has been told it has enough valid signatures, and as soon as it turns a copy of its bylaws, it will be back on the ballot. There are two factions of the Green Party in Utah; the faction that qualified is the faction not recognized by the national Green Party.
On August 3, the US Court of Appeals, first circuit (which includes most New England states and Puerto Rico) ruled 5-2 that no international treaty requires the U.S. to let Puerto Rican resident-citizens vote for president.
On August 2, the 8th circuit struck down a Minnesota law making it illegal for a candidate for state judge, or a state judge running for re-election, to attend political party meetings. The entire court ruled en banc. The vote was 10-3. Republican Party of Minnesota v White, 99-4021.