Mississippi Initiative Proponents are Gathering Signatures Even though Initiative Process Doesn’t Exist

Proponents of a Mississippi initiative are collecting signatures, even though currently Mississippi has no initiative procedure. The proponents have faith that in 2022 the legislature will pass a bill that restores the initiative process.

The subject of the initiative is to allow ten days of early voting. See this story.

Congressional Bills to Help States and Local Governments Pay for Ranked Choice Voting

Bills are pending in both houses of congress to award grants to states and local governments, to help them afford the transition to ranked choice voting. In the Senate, the bill is S2939, sponsored by Senator Michael Bennet (D-Colorado) and co-sponsored by Senator Angus King (I-Maine). In the house it is HR 5500, sponsored by Representative Dean Phillips (D-Minnesota). Both bills were introduced on October 5, 2021.

Puck Article Says Top-Five Supporters Hope to Raise $100,000,000 to Push Their Plan

This article in Puck says that backers of top-five systems hope to raise $100,000,000 soon to promote top-five systems. These systems deprive political parties of their ability to nominate candidates. No other country in the world has an election system in which party labels are on the ballot, but parties can’t nominate candidates. The article mentions these wealthy individuals and families as supporters: Reid Hoffman and the John Sobrato family, the billionaire real estate dynasty; Charles Munger, who backed top-two in California; Sol Lieberman; Katherine Gehl; Aaron Menenberg; Raj Kapoor; the Arillaga family; Kathryn Murdoch; and Andrew Yang.

The article quotes political scientist Jack Santucci as saying that the plan won’t achieve its objectives. In order to read the article, which is free, the reader must submit an e-mail address. Thanks to Fairvote for the link.

Texas Minor Party and Independent Candidates File Brief in Ballot Access Case

On October 19, the minor party and independent candidate plaintiffs filed this brief in their Texas ballot access case, Miller v Hughs, w.d., 1:19cv-700. The case was filed in 2019 and challenges all the Texas election laws that make it difficult or impossible for minor and new parties, and statewide independent candidates, to get on the ballot.

Law Professor Derek Muller Says Some States Print the Names of Unqualified Presidential Candidates on the Ballot

Law Professor Derek Muller has this essay, pointing out that just because a judicial determination is someday made that Donald Trump is ineligible to run for president in 2024 due to Section Three of the 14th amendment, it doesn’t follow that he will be kept off 2024 ballots.

Section Three of the 14th Amendment says, “No person shall…hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States…to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same.”

Some scholars have been saying that former President Trump may therefore not be eligible to be president again. But Professor Muller points out that just because someone is ineligible to be president, it doesn’t follow that he or she won’t be allowed on the ballot. In 1892, the Prohibition Party nominee for vice-president, James B. Cranfill, was under age 35, but every state except South Dakota printed his name on government-printed ballots (except for the states that didn’t yet have government-printed ballots). Everyone knew that Cranfill was under-age. He and the Prohibition Party made no secret of his age. But he wasn’t barred from the ballot in any state on those grounds, because back then everyone understood that the true candidates in November are the candidates for presidential elector.

His name was not on the ballot in South Dakota because the entire Prohibition Party ticket was absent from the South Dakota ballot in 1892, because the state officers of the party were sympathetic to Republican nominee Benjamin Harrison, so they didn’t file the paperwork for the Prohibition nominees to be on the ballot.

If Trump is the Republican nominee in 2024, but he has been ruled ineligible under the 14th amendment, section 3, it would be the job of Congress in January to reject the electoral votes for Trump on the grounds that Trump is not eligible. Congress refused to count the electoral votes for Horace Greeley in 1872 on grounds that he was ineligible (because he had died after the November election but before the electors met in December).