FL election bill would increase signatures needed for new party presidential candidate from zero to over 335,000

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On April 18, the Florida Secretary of State’s omnibus election law bill was amended to require new political parties who wish to place a presidential nominee on the ballot to submit a petition signed by a number of voters, equal to 4% of the last presidential vote. For 2012, this would be 335,630 valid signatures. The 4% standard would need to be met in each of half the congressional districts in the state. The party would need to pay to have its petition checked. Under existing law, no signatures are needed for minor party presidential candidates.

The bill exempts parties that are recognized by the Federal Election Commission as national committees. However, the FEC will not grant national committee status to a new political party. The status is reserved for parties that have already organized, run a presidential candidate and congressional candidates in several states. This is why the Reform Party did not get recognized by the FEC as a national committee until after the 1996 election, and why the Green Party did not get FEC recognition until after the 2000 election.

The bill, if enacted, would violate the 11th circuit decision Bergland v Harris, 767 F.2d 1551 (1985), which suggested that Georgia’s former petition requirement of 2.5% (of the number of registered voters) for presidential candidates was probably unconstitutional. That decision is based on Anderson v Celebrezze, which said that states must have easier ballot access for president than for other office. The Florida bill, if enacted, would probably also violate the Florida Constitution, which says “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.”

HB 1355 was also amended on April 18 to provide that no group may be qualified as a minor party in Florida unless it has a chair, vice chair, secretary, treasurer, all of whom are registered members of that party. This is a common-sense re-definition of “qualified political party”. Last year, one particular individual, for reasons known only to himself, filed paperwork for 40 new qualified parties, and under the existing definition of “qualified political party”, the state had no choice but to accept this paperwork, even though these were all parties with no registered members and only one officer. This amendment is retroactive, so all the existing qualified parties would be required to file new paperwork, showing that they have four specified officers, all of whom must be registered in that party. Parties would have six months to complete the new paperwork. UPDATE: the same provisions have now also been amended into SB 2086, except that SB 2086 requires a petition of 2% of the last presidential vote, not 4%.

5 thoughts on “FL election bill would increase signatures needed for new party presidential candidate from zero to over 335,000

  1. Paul Grant Truesdell

    The nation, many states and municipalities, along with a large segment of the population of the nation is facing large debt obligations.

    What should we do about government debt?

    The first question to ask is this: Is past and current debt an obligation that must be met?

    If you answered no, then selective default or overall bankruptcy is an option.

    If you answered yes, then we have only three choices. We must make more, spend less, adjust our expectations, or use a combination of all three.

    To generate more tax revenue, we have to produce goods or services that others want. We can tax the production, the sale, the increase in value, the usage, the gross business and/or personal income, or the net business and/or personal income.

    This is where the rub begins.

    In order to reward those who have helped those who have been elected to office, we permit representatives to amend laws, rules and regulations with riders to primary bills of legislation with complex and qualifying language. This amounts to nothing more than insider trading, as more-often-than not, once the general public realizes that an opportunity exists, those who were on the inside, have already run the race and have moved on to the winners circle to collect a handsome payoff.

    The Warlords

    We live in a world of warlords. Warlords fight and control through the threat and use of force. Various video games increased the awareness of the word warlord, but rarely is the term used in politics; but it should.

    The myth of Mr. Smith being able to go to Washington and possibly, one day becoming the common man’s President has been bought hook, line, and sinker as a result of nationalism, patriotism, and myopic rose colored glassed as a result of heavily manipulated public education of revisionist history. The truth of the matter is that we were born from, in, and remain in a state of conflict at home and abroad. Conflict has always existed, and it always will. In order to survive and prosper, humans gather in groups akin to dogs, wolves, bears, fish, and birds, who pack, school, and flock. A leader (warlord) emerges from natural selection, more often due to the luck of genetic configuration while in the womb and external circumstances we merely know of as luck. When there are two or more lucky genetic winners, conflict arises. The members of the pack must decide to stay loyal to the existing warlord, change allegiance to the challenger, or declare neutrality and risk offending everyone and being pushed around. The fourth option is the creation of a third group.

    The Fourth Option: The Thirds

    The fourth option is often the option of last resort. The members are not fond of the current or challenging warlord. The spoils system enjoyed by the warlords and their minions, have left the Thirds in a position of constant turmoil. When not fighting the forces outside the pack, the Thirds are forced to witness and engage in the fighting within the pack. The Thirds are the workers of the pack. They gather, hunt, and provide for themselves and those who are physically, emotionally, and intellectually unable to fully take care of themselves. The Thirds do this naturally, without the expectation of reward for it is the right thing to do in order to ensure the survival and growth of the pack. The developing leader of the Thirds is not as superior and gifted as the incumbent and challenging warlord, and so he relies upon the law of large numbers, the strength of many as opposed to that of the individual. Others within the Thirds begin to fill in the gaps, work as a unit, and grow in strength. And then, one day it happens.


    The warlords, leader and challenger, go at it again. The spoils of the days hunt have been nearly consumed by the two and the last remaining fleshed bone remains. They fight one another while the Thirds grow hungry, watch, simmer, and begin to boil in anger and disgust. The fight begins to subside as fatigue sets.

    Without warning, without a word said, the Thirds react as one and pounce on the two warlords. The first couple of Thirds are quickly tossed aside, but they do not stop. The two warlords are overwhelmed and to the surprise of everyone, are quickly defeated.

    The Thirds restrain and control the two warlords and now must make the decision to either kill them off or banish them from the pack. A mature and wise member of the Thirds steps forward to say that the pack is strong with the defeated warlords, for outside forces remain that require the full strength of the pack; however, there are terms and conditions that the defeated warlords must not violate. The warlords have no choice; they capitulate.

    The consensus of the pack is that the ways of the pack will change. Each member is responsible for his welfare and what he has gathered in excess will be shared with those-in-need and saved when the drought arrives; which it does every year. The pack divides into three, generally equal social groups. The spoils system of rewarding the fittest remains, but those in need due to injury while gathering and hunting are taken care of as never before by those who know them best, their family within the larger pack. At times, families struggle and the pack respond appropriately, not out of a moral basis but out of the realization that the survival of the pack requires nothing less.

    The Founding Whigs of the United States in the 1700s understood the trilogy of balanced needs between We the People, the States, and the Nation, by creating a trilogy of governance, where equality existed between the executive, judicial, and legislative branches. The formalization of three equal political groupings was never considered as natural selection, of and by the people, cannot and must not be regulated.

    The incumbent and challenging warlords, the Modern Tories that carry the banners of the Democratic and Republican Parties, have effectively blocked the efforts of the Thirds; and they continue. The “True” Thirds are those who are more than lip service tea drinkers of the Republican Party. The “True” Thirds of the nation are growing hungry, watching with disgust, simmering, and beginning to boil-over in anger.

    Warlords Beware: The True Thirds Are Lying In Wait No More.

    Telling The Truth

    Spend Less, Make More, Adjust Expectations

    The Fourth Option: The Trilogy

    It’s Just That Simple

  2. Don Lake, FYI, not necessarily a unilateral endorsement


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