Ballot Access News reports:
On May 15, the Maine Libertarian Party held a party meeting, and voted to attempt a petition to qualify the party for the 2012 ballot. See this story.
The full party petition in Maine has only existed since 1976, and has only been used successfully once, by the Reform Party in late 1995. However, even if the petition drive fails, any group that tells the state that it intends to complete this petition gains the ability for voters to register as members of that group. The newspaper story says 27,544 signatures are required. However, that is not accurate. The 2012 requirement will be 5% of the number of people who vote for Governor in November 2010, and obviously no one knows what the number will be. But it is likely to be approximately 20,000 signatures. No state ever has higher turnout in midterm years than in presidential years. The 27,544 figure is what would have been required this year, and is based on the very high-turnout 2008 election.
Minor parties generally gain qualified status in Maine by running someone for Governor who then polls 5%. That is a far easier method, because the candidate petition for Governor is 4,000 signatures, and a party label is permitted for candidate petitions. Libertarians in Maine were free to have used that method this year, but did not do so. Such a petition is due May 27, 2010.
The news story mentions that the Maine Libertarian Party had qualified status in 1992. This is correct. The party got that status by yet a third way. Maine law lets a group become a qualified party if any independent candidate for Governor or President who got 5% assigns his or her votes to that group, up to a year after the election. The Libertarian Party got qualified status in Maine in 1991 because an independent candidate for Governor in 1990, Andrew Adams, “gave” his 5% vote total to the party after the election was over. Adams had not been listed on the ballot as a Libertarian, just as an independent. No other state has ever had such a method for creating a new ballot-qualified party. The Maine Libertarian Party qualified status only lasted a year because it was unable to poll 5% for President in 1992. The law is different now, as a result of several improvements in the last few years. If a party gets qualified status under the new laws, it keeps it as long as it has at least 10,000 registered members who actually turn out and vote in any general election. It doesn’t matter who they vote for, just that they go to the polls and vote.
Meanwhile, Green Party Watch reports,
Maine Greens grow membership, open office, elect new steering committee
Three bits of good news for the Maine Green Independent Party:
According to a story at Independent Political Report about changes in party registration numbers since 2008, the Maine Greens have seen substantial growth in the last 1.5 years:
…in Maine the only state-recognized minor party is the Green Party, which has seen an increase of 8,790 or 34.1% since the 2008 presidential election.
The Maine Greens’ website announces the opening of a new office in Portland, and the election of a new steering committee:
Progressive politics in Maine has a new home. The MGIP announces its new office located in the heart of downtown Portland’s Government district.
The Maine Green Independent Party elected three new members and a new chair to its Steering Committee at its annual state convention held Saturday at the Androscoggin Grange Hall in Greene. Former Chair Anna Trevorrow of Portland did not seek re-election to her position Saturday citing her run for the legislature in District 120 as the main reason. During Trevorrow’s tenure as Chair, from January 2009 to the May 2010 Convention, the party was able to increase its party enrollment, increase its county and local committee infrastructure, recruit 18 legislative candidates for 2010, and open a new party office in Portland. Trevorrow was re-elected to the Steering Committee and standing Steering Committee Member, Erin Cianchette was elected as Chair.
Jon Olsen, Jeremy Hammond, Erin Cianchette, Tony Zeli, Anna Trevorrow, Asher Platts (Nate Shea not pictured)
“I’m excited to continue working with a group whose skill set will undoubtedly launch the party forward, while focusing on my campaign for legislature,” said Trevorrow who is also an elected member of the Portland Charter Commission.
The new Chair, Erin Cianchette is a student at the Muskie School of Public Service, studying management in the non-profit sector. She is running for House of Representatives in district 108, Cumberland, part of North Yarmouth, Chebeague Island, and Long Island. Cianchette served as the secretary for the Green Party this past year, and also has managed several legislative campaigns.
“I am very excited about the new Steering Committee, and I look forward to filling my new role as Chair,” said Cianchette.
The newest members of the Steering Committee are Asher Platts of Gorham, Jeremy Keith Hammond of Auburn, and Nate Shea of Levant. Former Committee member David Frans was elected at the convention but stepped down due to time constraints. Shea was appointed by the new Steering Committee for the position left open by Frans.
Asher Platts is a current student at the University of Southern Maine. Platts has helped with internet outreach and campaign consulting for Green Party candidates Cindy Sheehan and Reverend Billy Talen. He has more recently been elected to serve on the Platform Committee of the United States Green Party and as a delegate to the National Committee from Maine.
“I look forward to using what I have learned with my past work to create a thriving and growing political force in the State of Maine over the next two years and into the future,” said Platts.
Jeremy Keith Hammond is a graduate of the University of Maine at Farmington with a degree in International Studies and is currently employed at Good Shepherd Food-Bank in Auburn. Hammond has also served as an AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer working jointly with Good Shepherd, Maine Commission for Community Service, and Maine Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster (MVOAD).
“I’d like to thank the Maine Green Independent Party for electing me to the Steering Committee. I’m confident the new Steering Committee will set the standard as we begin a new decade of Green politics in Maine,” said Hammond.
Nate Shea, a graduate from the University of Maine in Orono, has been a member of the Maine Green Independent Party Steering Committee before. Having served as a member from 2004 to 2006, Shea also brings the experience of being a Co-Chair of the Umaine Greens for many years and from working on past Green Independent legislative and gubernatorial campaigns such as Pat Lamarche’s.
“I am hopeful that with the amount of candidates running for legislature this year, the Steering Committee can give the Party direction that will produce many successes both at the ballot box and in the political arena,” said Shea.
Steering Committee members are elected to serve a term of two years and currently meet at least once a month.