In a NOTICE TO THE PUBLIC published last week in the Federal Register, the Federal Election Commission is seeking comments on a Petition to revise its regulations to include one more candidate in the presidential and vice presidential debates.
The INTRODUCTION to the Petition states:
“It has been 22 years since the American public heard from someone other than the Democratic and Republican candidates during the presidential debates, even though a majority of Americans are eager for a candidate who presents an alternative to the two major parties. . . . The Commission on Presidential Debates (“CPD”) is preventing the American people from hearing the independent candidate they desire. The CPD denies voters the opportunity to hear an alternative to the Democratic and Republican nominees . . .” Petition for Rulemaking re: Sponsorship of Candidate Debates, page 1.
The Petition proposes the following New Rule for inclusion of only one additional candidate in the Presidential (and Vice-Presidential) Debates:
“On April 30 of an election year, any candidate, party, or nominating process with ballot access in states that collectively have at least 270 Electoral College votes would notify the CPD of that access. If there is more than one, then whoever has gathered the most signatures as part of the ballot access process will participate in the debates with the Democratic and Republican nominees.” Petition for Rulemaking re: Sponsorship of Candidate Debates, pages 23 and 24.
However, the Petition concludes with the following request:
“. . . The FEC should amend its debate sponsorship regulation, 11 C.F.R. § 110. 13, to:
“(A) preclude sponsors of general election presidential and vice-presidential debates from requiring that a candidate meet a polling threshold in order to be admitted to the debates; and
“(B) require that any sponsor of general election presidential and vice-presidential debates have a set of objective, unbiased criteria for debate admission that do not require candidates to satisfy a polling threshold to participate in debates.”
Petition for Rulemaking re: Sponsorship of Candidate Debates, page 26.
This would seem to allow the inclusion of every candidate who meets whatever “objective, unbiased criteria” one not based on a “polling threshold” that the FEC might choose to impose on the CPD.
The deadline for public comment is 15 December 2014.
IPR readers who wish to comment on this Petition may do so HERE and/or may choose to cut and paste the following URL for comments to share with others who may likewise wish to provide comment.
Additionally, while electronic comments are prefered, landmailed comments may be sent to:
Robert M. Knop, Assistant General Counsel
The Federal Election Commission
999 E Street NW.,
Washington, DC 20463.
Comments must include the full name and postal service address of the commenter, and of each commenter if filed jointly, or they will not be considered.
The full 281 page Petition for Rulemaking re: Sponsorship of Candidate Debates can be found HERE.
The Petition includes three “Expert Reports.” The first, Exhibit 3, is a 38-page research study by Dr. Clifford Young, President of Ipsos’ Public Affairs, the second, Exhibit 11, is a 29-page report by Douglas Schoen, a “political analyst, pollster, and author,” former “founding partner of Penn, Schoen, Berland,” and currently of “Schoen Consulting.” The third, Exhibit 28, is a 10-page report by Michael Arno, founder of Arno Political Consultants.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION FROM THE FEC CONTACT:
Mr. Robert M. Knop, Assistant General Counsel, or Ms. Jessica Selinkoff, Attorney, at the address above, or by phone at: (202) 694-1650 or (800) 424-9530.
“Level the Playing Field” does not appear to have a website, nor any otherwise immediately accessible information other than the contact information for its legal counsel provided in the cover letter to the petition: