On April 19, Alabama Governor Kay Ivey called a special U.S. Senate election for December 12, 2017. The previous Governor, who was in office until earlier this month, had refused to call such an election until November 2018. See this story. Thanks to Mike Drucker for this news.
If any independent candidate, or any unqualified party, wishes to participate in this election, 35,413 valid signatures must be submitted by August 15. It would be possible to argue that the state should reduce the number of signatures, given that less than four months remains to gather these signatures, whereas normally a petition may take as long as the circulating group wishes. However, the state is not at this time voluntarily reducing the number of signatures.
On April 18, United Kingdom prime minister Theresa May announced that the country will hold a general parliamentary election on June 8, 2017. The decision is a surprise. The contrast between the United States and the United Kingdom could hardly be more pronounced, in the variable of advance knowledge of election dates. In the United States, if there were a general election set for June 8, 2017, federal law would require that ballots be sent to overseas absentee voters no later than April 24, which is only six days away. Obviously the U.S. needs months and months more preparation than the United Kingdom.
British parties already have chosen their national leaders some time ago, so that makes a snap election somewhat easier. But the British parties still need to choose their parliamentary candidates. British ballot access is so simple and uncomplicated, that helps also. Candidates for House of Commons need 10 signatures and a filing fee. All candidates are treated equally, relative to ballot access.
On the evening of April 17, the Ninth Circuit refused to put any more candidates on the Montana ballot, in the May 25 special U.S. House election. The Court order does not contain any explanation of why. The Green Party candidate, Thomas Breck, had gathered over 400 valid signatures on Sunday, April 9, in response to the District Court’s order of April 8 setting 400 as the threshold. But the District Court in effect created a retroactive requirement, because it hadn’t changed the deadline, which was before the court order had come down.
Terry Hayes, the appointed State Treasurer of Maine and an independent, has said she will run for Governor of Maine as an independent in 2018.
On Saturday, April 15, the Alaska top-two bill, HB 200, passed the House Judiciary Committee 4-3. But it must now go to the State Affairs Committee. The bill’s sponsor, Representative Gabrielle Ledoux, is a member of the House Judiciary Committee.
All the testimony taken on the bill on Friday, April 14, was opposed to the bill.
The Alaska legislature’s regular session ended April 15, but the legislature is now in special session and bills from the regular session can be considered. However, most of the attention in the special session will be on the state budget, not on ordinary bills.
On April 12, California Secretary of State Alex Padilla and State Senator Bill Monning (D-Carmel), the Majority Leader, spoke at Cal Poly Students in San Luis Obispo. They were asked about the top-two system that has been in effect in California starting in January 2011.
Senator Monning said, “It has eroded the voice of minority parties and when you look at some other democratic systems that have parliamentary representation, you see we have narrowed our choices by the top-two system. Most often it has limited the general election ballot to Democrats and Republicans. It has silenced the voice in general elections of that broader spectrum of political viewpoints.”
Secretary Padilla said little about the effect on minor parties, but he said the chief reason the legislature functions better now than in the past is because term limits for legislators were relaxed in 2012. He also said top-two may have injured voter turnout, yet inexplicably he also said, “It’s working OK.”
One can hear the entire hour at this link. The question about Prop. 14 came at the very end, near the 53 minute mark (the entire you tube is 55 minutes). Thanks to Andrew Harris for the link.