West Virginia’s only ballot-qualified party, other than the Republican and Democratic Parties, is the Mountain Party. On May 9, it announced its nominees for public office this November. They include the party’s first nominee for U.S. Senate (the party has been on the ballot starting in 2000), Jesse Johnson. He will be the first minor party or independent candidate on the ballot for U.S. Senate from West Virginia since 2000, when a Libertarian ran for U.S. Senate.
On May 9, gubernatorial candidate Carole Strayhorn turned in 223,000 signatures to meet the Texas independent petition requirement. She needed 45,253 valid signatures. She appears to have collected more signatures than any previous independent gubernatorial candidate in history.
The previous record (for independent gubernatorial candidates) was the 202,000 signatures in California collected for Mel Mason, Socialist Workers Party candidate for Governor in 1982, who was using the independent petition method. He needed 113,617 valid, but after California elections officials checked the petition, he was told he didn’t have enough valid.
On March 8, Ohio filed a brief with the U.S. Supreme Court, arguing that that court should not accept the Ohio independent petition deadline case (for candidates for Congress). Lawrence v Blackwell, 05-1089. The brief argues that the U.S. Constitution requires that states treat all candidates equally, and that it would be unfair to Democrats and Republicans (who nominate for all office in March, in presidential years) if independents were permitted to submit their petitions later. Of course, the principle that all candidates must be treated equally is completely forgotten when Ohio decides how many signatures each candidate needs. Republicans and Democrats running for US House in Ohio each need 50 signatures, but independents need approximately 2,500 this year, and new parties need 56,280 signatures this year.
The US Supreme Court will probably decide whether to hear Lawrence v Blackwell in late June.
The two Texas independent candidates for Governor are about to turn in their petitions. It is believed that Carole Strayhorn will turn hers in on May 9, and that Kinky Friedman will turn his in on May 11. The deadline is May 11 for independents, but minor parties have until May 30. The very fact that the minor party petition deadline is 19 days later than the independent candidate deadline shows how irrational the Texas ballot access laws are.
On May 2, a Colorado House of Representatives Committee killed SB 06-223. That bill was one of the bills in 5 states that proposed an interstate compact. States agreeing to the compact would only appoint presidential electors who promised to vote for whichever presidential candidate polled the most popular votes nationwide. The Colorado bill had passed the Colorado Senate last month.
Late last year, the Ohio legislature passed a new method to invalidate signatures on petitions. The law requires that circulators, if paid, specify who employed them to circulate the petition. On May 5, a state court construed the new law strictly, and said that 44,000 signatures on an initiative petition are invalid because the circulators filled out that question incorrectly. In re Protest of Evans, 06-ms-0133, Franklin Co. Common Pleas Court. The petition was initiated by the American Cancer Society, to propose to the voters an anti-smoking law. The circulators listed the American Cancer Society as their employer, but the court said the true circulator is the paid petition firm that contracted with the American Cancer Society, and that the circulators should have filled in “Arno”, the name of that professional circulation contracter.