Oregon May Legalize Fusion

On June 30, the Oregon House of Representatives passed HB 3021 by a vote of 49-2. It would let two parties jointly nominate the same candidate. A candidate who was the nominee of two different parties would be listed once on the November ballot, with the names of both parties adjacent to his or her name. For example, John Doe, Libertarian/Democrat. The bill exists because of lobbying by the Libertarian Party.

Independence Party Victory Survives

On June 27, the US Court of Appeals, 2nd circuit, refused to disturb the Independence Party’s victory last year, on the issue of whether the party had the right to let independent voters vote in its primary. One county unit of the Independence Party (Richmond County, which is Staten Island) had passed a resolution saying independents could vote in its primary for legislature. That 2004 primary was the first primary in New York state history in which independent voters could vote. The State Board of Elections had tried to persuade the 2nd circuit that the US District Court judge should not have issued the injunction that allowed independents to vote in the party’s primary. But on June 27, the 2nd circuit said the issue was moot. The state’s argument had been that only the full county committee, not just the county executive committee, had the right to make the rules change. The US District Court had said the executive committee had the power to make the rules change.

Indiana Ends Subsidy to Dems, Reps

On May 12, the Governor of Indiana signed SB 467, which ends a subsidy to political parties that polled more than 10% of the vote in the last Secretary of State’s election. The subsidy consisted of most of the state revenues from the sale of personalized auto license plates. The Libertarian Party had sued against this subsidy back in 1984, but the courts had upheld it. However, it is now gone.

1st Circuit Ruling on Initiative Subject Matter

On June 24, the First Circuit upheld a Massachusetts law that says the initiative process cannot be used to pass a new law pertaining to religious institutions. The same court also upheld a companion law, that the initiative process cannot be used to pass a new law mandating financial aid to private schools. The plaintiffs had wanted to circulate an initiative, providing for public funding for private schools. Wirzburger v Galvin, 04-1625.

Ohio Bill Delayed

Ohio’s Sub. HB 3, which (among other things) would provide that voters may register into particular parties on their voter registration forms, is likely to be tabled for the remainder of the summer.

Sub. HB 3 is an election law omnibus bill, but currently it has no ballot access improvements in it, even though three of Ohio’s ballot access laws are currently being litigated in the U.S. Court of Appeals, 6th circuit. Perhaps when the bill is taken up again in September or October, some of the ballot access problems can be addressed in the bill.

Florida Bill Signed

On June 20, Florida’s Governor signed HB1567, which (among other things) clarifies the definition of “national political party”. A “national political party” can place its presidential nominee on the general election ballot with no petition, but the law in the past did not define “national political party”. The new law says it is a party that is on the ballot in at least one state other than Florida.