Constitution Party Maintains Montana Win After Provisional Ballots Counted, Recount Expected

After the counting of provisional ballots Constitution Party candidate Rick Jore has been declared the winner for Montana House of Representatives with a two-vote margin in a three-way race. The losing candidate may still demand a recount, but must wait until the official canvass is completed on Nov. 22, and within five days after that date. The candidate’s representative has indicated she will demand a recount.

All eyes are on the race, since the outcome will determine control of the state legislature. The state house is now split. If Jore wins, Republicans will control the House. If Jore loses, the House would have a 50-50 split and the newly-elected Democratic Governor would name a House Speaker.

This is the first legislative win ever for the Constitution Party nationwide. He is also the first third party legislator in Montana since 1929. Jore is a former Republican legislator.

Calif. Green Party Takes Control of 2 City Councils

The Green Party of California elected at least 15 candidates to local office and now control two city councils. All such local offices in California are elected as non-partisan.

The Greens elected two to the Arcata (Humboldt County) City Council, gaining a majority. The party retained control of the Sebastopol (Sonoma County) City Council by winning two open spots.

In San Francisco, longtime Green campaign consultant Ross Mirkarimi won the District 5 race for County Supervisor, a seat vacated by popular Green Matt Gonzalez, who chose not to seek re-election.

Montana Constitution Party Legislative Win Looks at 25 Provisional Votes; Control of State House Depends on Outcome

The determination of 25 provisional ballots will likely decide the fate of Montana Constitution Party legislative candidate Rick Jore. The count of regular ballots put Jore in the lead by one single vote. After these provisional ballots are ruled on and counted, it is likely a full recount will occur.

The leaderhip of Montana’s House of Representatives hangs in the balance. If Jore loses, the House would be have a 50-50 split and the newly-elected Democratic Governor would name a House Speaker. If Jore wins, Republicans will control the House.

In an unusual case where a single challenged provisional ballot received publicity, election judges challenged the vote by a mentally-handicapped man whose ballot was signed by a shelter case manager since he was uable to sign it himself.

Election officials plan to review provisional ballots over the next few days at which point either candidate could ask for a recount. Given the closeness of the votes, a recount is likely.

Write-in Candidate Appears to Have Been Elected Mayor of San Diego

City Councilwoman Donna Frye appears to have won election for Mayor of California’s second largest city as a write-in candidate. The city, like all cities in California, uses non-partisan elections. San Diego held a first round in March, at which no one got a majority. A run-off was scheduled for November 2, with the top two candidates names printed on the ballot.

However, after the first round in March, it became public knowledge that both candidates in the November run-off were objectionable. In September, Frye entered the mayoral race as a write-in candidate, and she appears to have won. Frey is already leading the vote over incumbent Mayor Dck Murphy. Since more write-in votes have yet to be counted, it is expected that Frey will easily be elected.

Instant-Runoff Voting Makes Gains

On November 2, the voters of Ferndale, Michigan, voted to use Instant-Runoff voting in future city elections, as soon as voting equipment is available to do the job. And in Burlington, Vermont, voters passed an advisory question recommending that the city council implement IRV in mayoral elections. Both cities passed the measures overwhelmingly: 70% in Ferndale and 66% in Burlington.

Also, even more significantly, voters transferred control of the Vermont House of Representatives from the Republicans to the Democrats. The Democrats already controlled the State Senate. It is now more than likely that a bill to establish IRV in Vermont statewide elections will pass in 2005. It is not known if the Republican Governor will sign or veto the bill, should it reach his desk. During the period 2001-2004, IRV bills were repeatedly stopped by the Republican majority in the Vermont House.

Changes in “Qualified Status” for Minor Parties

Compared to November 8, 2000 (the day after that year’s presidential election), here are the changes in “qualified status” for each political party, as a result of election results, various voter registration drives, and various legislative changes since then:

  • Libertarian: was on in 25 states then, now on in 26. Gains since Nov. 8, 2000 are Hawaii, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan. Losses since then are Alabama, Massachusetts, and Washington.
  • Green: was on in 20 states then, now on in 16. Gains are Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, South Carolina, Vermont. Losses are Iowa, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, Rhode Island, Texas (not included in the above tally is the Connecticut status for president only, which existed after 2000 but no longer does).
  • Constitution: was on in 13 states then, now on in 15. Gains are Maryland, Michigan, South Dakota. Loss in Kansas.
  • Natural Law: was on in 11 states then, now on in 7. Gain in Michigan. Losses in Colorado, Montana, Nevada, South Carolina, Vermont.
  • Reform: was on in 12 states then, now on in 7. Gain in Louisiana. Losses in California, Colorado, Idaho, Michigan, Montana, Oregon, South Dakota.

Changes in the status of parties that only exist in a single state are:

  • California: Peace & Freedom Party was not on the ballot in 2000 but is now.
  • New York: Liberal and Right-to-Life Parties were on in 2000, but not now.
  • Rhode Island: Cool Moose Party no longer exists.
  • Vermont: Grassroots Party no longer exists, but a Marijuana Party has risen to take its place.