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A Tale of Two Petitions

in From Me To You, Liberator Online by Brett Bittner Comments are off

A Tale of Two Petitions

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Here in Indiana, election laws require candidates for statewide office to submit signature petitions from 500 registered voters from each of the state’s nine Congressional districts before they can appear on primary ballots.

Recently, Rep. Todd Young, a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, saw his petition signatures challenged by the Indiana Democratic Party and his GOP competitor. The challenge centered on one district, where Rep. Young submitted a number of signatures perilously close to the minimum. An independent effort by the Indianapolis Star found only 497 valid signatures, despite the campaign’s claims of 501 valid ones and improper rejections.

As the challenge progressed, many Republicans across the state endorsed Young, while simultaneously speaking in favor of “their guy” in comments aimed at the Indiana Election Commission.

As many expected, a 4-member panel deadlocked at 2-2 along party lines, preventing any action by the commission.

The challenge prompted a bill from Young’s party, who enjoys supermajority status in both chambers of the state legislature, to reduce the hurdle from 500 to 200.

OKLP Petition Turn InRoughly 750 miles away, the Libertarian Party of Oklahoma submitted 42,000 signatures to the state Election Board in an effort to be recognized as a political party and have candidates appear on the general election ballot this November.

Rather than risk a close call akin to Rep. Young’s, the Libertarians submitted almost double the number of the 24,745 signatures necessary to survive signature any challenges during validation.

Having been a part of ballot access petitioning in the past, I find that the latter method is preferable to the first. Doing so eliminates many angles of attack used by those in power to prevent competition in the marketplace of politics. Without friendly members of the board, it’s unlikely that things would have a rosy outcome for the Libertarian Party of Oklahoma, had they not turned in far more signatures than necessary.

While the validation in Oklahoma remains, do you expect an outcome similar to Rep. Young’s, had the Libertarians taken the riskier action with their petition turn-in?

I guess it pays to have friends in high places.

Gallup: Support for GOP, Democrats Hits New Low: Both Parties “Floundering,” Favored by Less Than 40%

in Liberator Online by James W. Harris Comments are off

(From the Activist Ammunition section in Volume 20, No. 11 of the Liberator Online. Subscribe here!)

A new Gallup poll shows America’s two largest and oldest political parties both falling to a Gallup poll shows GOP and Dems "Floundering"new low in favor among the public.

Only 37% of Americans now view the Republican Party favorably; only 39% view the Democratic Party favorably. This is a significant drop for the GOP — fully five points — from the midterm elections this past fall in which the Republicans won control of both the U.S. House and Senate. And it’s a near-record low for the Democrats — their lowest score was 36%, after the 2014 midterm elections.

This is the lowest favorability rating for both parties together since Gallup began tracking this way (i.e., asking about both parties in one poll) in 1992.

It is also the first time that neither party has achieved at least 40% favorability in this comparison poll. And, according to Gallup, it marks a clear downward trend.

Says Gallup: “The descent to sub-40% ratings for both parties marks a new low in an already inauspicious trend. … Except for a brief spike to 51% for the Democrats after Obama was re-elected in 2012, both parties’ ratings have registered below 50% since 2010.

“Bottom line: For some time, numerous Gallup trends have been showing Americans largely displeased with government’s performance and leadership. Through it all, at least one political party was reviewed well, but now — perhaps because of the constant brinksmanship going on between Obama and the Republican Congress, but maybe for other reasons — both parties are floundering.”

Adds Richard Winger, America’s leading expert on ballot access laws: “If the United States had nondiscriminatory election laws and practices relating to ballot access, debates, and campaign finance, it is obvious that new parties would arise and gain substantial support, just as they have in Great Britain and Canada.”

Libertarian Party Voter Registration Increases 11% As Republicans, Democrats Wane

in Elections and Politics, Liberator Online, Libertarian Party by James W. Harris Comments are off

(From the Intellectual Ammunition section in Volume 19, No. 7 of the Liberator Online. Subscribe here!)

Voter registration in the Republican and Democratic parties has decreased significantly in recent years.

Libertarian Party LogoHowever, according to American’s leading ballot access expert Richard Winger, Libertarian Party voter registration in the U.S. is growing — by a whopping 11.4% since late 2012.

According to Winger, the most recent figures available from state governments show 368,561 registered Libertarians in March of 2014, compared to 330,811 in November of 2012.

That’s from the 30 states that, along with the District of Columbia, allow voters to include a party affiliation with their voter registration.

Libertarian Party Chair Geoffrey Neale was, naturally enough, pleased. “I think it’s great that Libertarian registration is increasing throughout America, while the Democrats and Republicans have been shrinking,” he said in a media release. “Maybe it’s our across-the-board message of ‘more freedom, less government.’”

The states with the largest percent increases were Idaho (161% increase), Wyoming (68% increase), Nebraska (55% increase), and Louisiana (33% increase).

The surge comes after the 2012 election season in which Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson won a record 1.276 million votes, double the 2008 vote. In total, 2012 Libertarian Party candidates received nearly 16 million votes nationwide, and set new records in several categories.