West Virginia State Senate passes bill cutting signature requirement in half

HB 2981 , which earlier passed the WV House, cuts the number of signatures from to 2% to 1% of the number of voters who voted for a given office in the previous election to get someone on the ballot for that office in an upcoming election.

The State Senate passed an equivalent bill today, and the legislative director of the Governor’s office assured Libertarian Party of West Virginia chair Matt Harris that the Governor will sign it into law.

Thanks to Matt Harris for the news.

-paulie

11 thoughts on “West Virginia State Senate passes bill cutting signature requirement in half

  1. mdh

    Thanks are also due to Bill Redpath, Tad Britch, and Rebeka Baird for participating in our legislative lobbying effort at the WV state capitol.

    Any help is of course appreciated! We’ll be starting petitioning as soon as the funds are available.

  2. mdh

    Ross,
    It depends which office you’re speaking of. It’s a percentage of the number of voters who voted for the given office in the immediately-prior election. The stats for how many voters voted are available on http://www.wvsos.com/

  3. paulie Post author

    @BAN

    http://www.ballot-access.org/2009/04/12/west-virginia-ballot-access-bill-passes/

    On April 11, the West Virginia Senate passed HB 2981, the bill to improve ballot access. It had already passed the House. The bill lowers the petition from 2% of the last vote cast, to 1%. It also moves the non-presidential petition deadline from May to August, so that it now matches the presidential petition deadline. Passage of this bill is certainly the most significant ballot access legislation that has passed any state legislature this year.

    Assuming the bill is signed into law, the only states that will have no procedure for a minor party or independent presidential candidate to get on the ballot, that is at or below 2% of last vote cast in a midterm year, will be North Carolina and Oklahoma.

  4. paulie Post author

    http://www.lp.org/news/press-releases/west-virginia-legislature-passes-major-ballot-access-reform


    Press Release

    For Immediate Release
    Monday, April 13, 2009
    West Virginia legislature passes major ballot access reform

    Bill cuts number of required signatures in half

    CHARLESTON, W.V. — With less than an hour to its midnight deadline, the West Virginia General Assembly passed legislation April 11 reducing the number of valid signatures needed on a candidate’s ballot access petition by half. The bill now awaits the signature of Gov. Joe Manchin.

    “Libertarians thank Del. Fleischauer and everyone who supported this bill for making elections much fairer to West Virginia,” said William Redpath, Libertarian National Committee Chair. Redpath, West Virginia Libertarian Party Chair Matt Harris and other Libertarian Party members made several trips to the State Capitol to meet with legislators to lobby for passage.

    HB 2981, sponsored by Del. Barbara Evans Fleischauer (D-Monongalia), reduces the number of valid signatures a third party candidate must collect on a ballot access petition from two percent of the total vote for that office in the previous election to just one percent.

    The “one percent” rule was West Virginia law from 1932 to 1999, when it was doubled. Since the “two percent rule” was adopted in 1999, only one third party succeeded in getting its gubernatorial candidate on the ballot through the petitioning process.

    According to Ballot Access News Editor Richard Winger, if the bill is signed into law the only states with third party ballot access petition signature requirements above two percent of last vote cast in a midterm year will be North Carolina and Oklahoma.

  5. paulie Post author

    Press release from Free and Equal


    ***For Immediate Release***

    Improved Ballot Access Bill Passes in West Virginia

    Free & Equal Applauds West Virginia Legislator,
    Urges Governor to Sign Into Law

    On April 11th, the West Virginia Senate passed an improved ballot access bill, lowering the signature requirements to place Independent and Third Party candidates on the ballot. The bill has already passed the House, and awaits the signature of Governor Joe Manchin.

    The Free & Equal Elections Foundation applauds the West Virginia Legislator for putting aside partisan struggles and passing a bill that significantly reduces the hurdles that Independent and Third Party candidates must jump through to place their names on the ballot. This bill is the most significant ballot access legislation that has passed any state legislature this year.

    WV HB 2981 lowers the petition signature requirement from 2% of the last vote cast, to 1%. In addition, the bill moves the non-presidential petition deadline from May to August, so that it now matches the presidential petition deadline.

    Free & Equal urges West Virginia Governor Manchin to sign HB 2981 into law as soon as possible.

    Assuming the bill is signed into law, the only states that will have no procedure for a minor party or independent presidential candidate to get on the ballot -that is at or below 2% of the last vote cast in a midterm year- will be North Carolina and Oklahoma.

    OK HB 1072 has advanced from the rules committee in Oklahoma, and Free & Equal will continue to monitor its progress. Free & Equal also plans to help introduce an appropriations-related ballot access bill in North Carolina for the 2010 legislative session.

    The Free and Equal Elections Foundation is a non partisan, non profit 501c(4) organization dedicated to eliminating restrictive ballot access laws that target Independent and Third-Party Candidates.

    Free & Equal will challenge these laws, through lobbying of state legislators, court challenges, and initiatives.
    ####

    For media inquiries please contact Christopher Thrasher at
    (336) 407-3968, or by e-mail at Christopher@freeandequal.org

    The Free & Equal Elections Foundation
    407 S. Dearborn Street
    Suite 1170
    Chicago, IL 60605

    Telephone: 312.264.8569
    Fax: 1.866.309.7803

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