Jim Gilchrist, American Independent (Constitution Party) nominee received 25.1% of the vote. The Republican, State Senator John Campbell, won with 44.7%; the Democrat is second with 28.0%. The Green polled 1.3% and the Libertarian polled .9%.
Gilchrist’s showing is the highest percentage received by a minor party for U.S. House (in a race with both major parties also in the race) since 1994, when A Connecticut Party polled 26.3% in the First District of Connecticut.
On November 1, the 6th circuit heard arguments in Nader v Land, over whether the Michigan Secretary of State should have put Ralph Nader on the ballot as the Reform Party nominee last year. Nader’s attorney, law professor Bruce Afran, based his argument on the US Supreme Court precedents from the 1970’s and 1980’s that protected major party presidential conventions from state election laws. Of course, those precedents only protected the national conventions from being told which delegates to seat. Afran hopes to persuade the 6th circuit that the logic of those cases means that when a national convention makes an undisputed presidential nomination, all states where that party is on the ballot must respect that decision.
In the case of the Michigan Reform Party, one faction of the state party wanted to nominate Nader, but the other faction wanted no presidential nominee. The Michigan Secretary of State refused to decide which set of state party officers were legitimate, and left all of the party’s nominees off the ballot.
Michigan argued that the case is moot, and that in any event Nader lacks standing to complain about the Reform Party nomination, since he got on the ballot as an independent last year anyway.
The Libertarian Party’s ballot access lawsuit in Oklahoma was to have had a pretrial conference on November 30, 2005, but at the request of the state, it has been delayed again, until March 22, 2006. It is conceivable that the State Board of Elections will be asking the legislature to ease the law early next year, thus making the lawsuit moot. However, this is just speculation.
Oklahoma was the only state in the union in 2004 in which it was impossible for voters to vote for anyone for president except Bush and Kerry. One must go all the way back to 1972 to find a similar instance when it was impossible for anyone to vote for president, except to vote for the Democratic or Republican nominee.
Effective November 15, 2005, Kentucky started tallying people who register as members of certain minor parties. Kentucky has always let people register in any group, since the voter registration form asking “party membership” has a blank line. But in the past, people who registered anything other than Republican or Democratic were coded as “other”. Now, a separate tally will be kept for “Independent status”, “Libertarian”, “Green”, “Constitution”, “Reform”, and “Socialist Workers”.
The new system only applies to voter registration forms filled out on or after November 15, 2005. So anyone who is already registered as a member of a minor party, and who wishes to be coded correctly, must re-register. It is likely that the number of registrants in each of these minor parties will be extremely small for some time to come.
The Massachusetts initiative to legalize fusion, and also to make it easier for a party to remain on the ballot, has enough valid signatures. Also, a bill to legalize fusion (House Bill 90) will be heard in a legislative committee on January 17, 2006.
Thank you, Ron Gunzberger and www.politics1.com, for naming Ballot Access News “site of the day” for December 5, 2005.