2016 Ballot Access News - Edited by Richard Winger


Florida Election Officials Behave in an Unscrupulous Manner to Disqualify Three Minor Party Presidential Filings

Posted on September 7, 2016 by Richard Winger


During this week, Florida election officials have behaved unethically and violated due process, by eliminating three minor party presidential candidates from the November ballot.


The Party for Socialism and Liberation, and America’s Party, were already ballot-qualified parties in Florida, yet their presidential filings have been rejected because they are not recognized by the Federal Election Commission as national committees. But on September 1, 2011, the General Counsel to the Florida Secretary of State ruled that Florida cannot enforce the law that says only national committees may be on for president without submitting 119,316 valid signatures. First, the Secretary of State has no official knowledge of which parties are recognized by the FEC. Second, the law, if enforced, would be discriminatory because the FEC will not grant national committee status to new parties; only parties that have gone through a presidential and a congressional election can obtain it. Third, the FEC itself is not certain which parties are recognized as national committees. I talked to an FEC attorney about this on April 26, 2010. He said it is an "open question" as to whether the Natural Law Party, for example, is still a national committee.


The Socialist Party is recognized by the FEC as a national committee. But Florida won’t print its presidential candidate on the November ballot either. The Secretary of State said on September 6 that the party’s application for party status, filed on August 29, does not meet the requirements of the law. But the letter from the Secretary of State did not explain why. The Socialist Party had submitted the exact same documents in 2016 that it had filed in 2012. Thanks to Darcy Richardson for the news about the Florida Secretary of State’s flip-flop on national committee status.


UPDATE: two Florida officials kindly telephoned me on Thursday, September 8, and gave me reasons why the Socialist Party’s filing was rejected. The first reason is that the Socialist Party’s bylaws provide for dues for members. The state believes that it has the power to tell parties that they must not be organizations with requirements for members to pay dues. However, the First Amendment protects any political party’s right to establish itself as a dues-paying organization, and parties of the left in the United States and around the world have a very long tradition of requiring members to pay dues. The Socialist Party is not saying that persons cannot register into the party if they don’t pay dues. But it is saying that its dues-paying members are the only persons eligible to help choose party officers.



Comment by: Michael Steinberg, candidate for Vice-President






"SECTION 1. Regulation of elections.—All elections by the people shall be by direct and secret vote. General elections shall be determined by a plurality of votes cast. Registration and elections shall, and political party functions may, be regulated by law; however, the requirements for a candidate with no party affiliation or for a candidate of a minor party for placement of the candidate’s name on the ballot shall be no greater than the requirements for a candidate of the party having the largest number of registered voters.

History.—Am. proposed by Constitution Revision Commission, Revision No. 11, 1998, filed with the Secretary of State May 5, 1998; adopted 1998."


The above Amendment was adopted after the statute requiring the petition signatures. The statute is now unconstitutional and/or superseded by the Constitutional Amendment. This has never been challenged, but in my opinion a court could enter an immediate preliminary injunction requiring ballot placement as long as the excluded parties or independent candidates complied with the remaining provisions of the law applicable to the party having the largest number of registered voters. * This is not legal advice. Just my opinion.


Evan McMullin Will Not be on Florida Ballot

Posted on September 7, 2016 by Richard Winger


Florida has several ballot-qualified parties that have not nominated anyone for President. It had been thought plausible that either the Independent Party, or the Independence Party, might nominate him for President. But the Florida Secretary of State’s office said neither of those parties nominated anyone for President.


This Politico story says that in the states in which McMullin is on the ballot, it is now too late for him to replace his stand-in vice-presidential nominee with his actual vice-presidential nominee. The stand-in, Nathan Johnson, never wanted to actually run for vice-president. The reporter, Daniel Strauss, was unaware that there is case law from Florida, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Virginia, South Dakota, and Alaska which says independent presidential candidates (or independent candidates for Governor) have a right to replace their stand-in vice-presidential or lieutenant governor running mates with an actual candidate later. In 1980, John Anderson was permitted to replace his stand-in for vice-president, Milton Eisenhower, with former Wisconsin Governor Patrick Lucey, even though Lucey wasn’t chosen until August 27, 1980. Lucey’s name was on all ballots except South Dakota’s.


Seven Presidential Candidates File to have Write-ins Counted in Florida Posted on July 18, 2016 by Richard Winger


Florida is the only state in which the filing deadline to file as a write-in for president in the general election is earlier than the deadline for a new party to get on the ballot for President. The Florida write-in filing deadline was July 12. This year, six independent presidential candidates and one minor party candidate filed to have write-ins counted.


The minor party nominee is Zoltan Istvan of the Transhumanist Party. Istvan lives in Mill Valley, Califoria.


The six independents are: Laurence J. Kotlikoff of Brookline, Massachusetts, a prominent economist; Richard Duncan of Aurora, Ohio, who usually gets on the ballot in Ohio but no other state; Cherunda Fox of Detroit, Michigan; Samuel Tabor of Mobeetie, Texas; Tony Valdivia of San Antonio, Texas; and Andrew Basiago of Charlotte, North Carolina. Basiago claims to have traveled back in time; see this story.