Libertarian Party of Maine Files Paperwork to Begin to Qualify as a “Political Party”

From Richard Winger at Ballot Access News:

The Maine Libertarian Party has become the first group to comply with the 2013 law that says if a group wants to qualify as a political party, it must notify the state in December of an even-numbered year. Such a group then has a year to obtain 5,000 registered members.

It is not clear if individuals who registered “Libertarian” long ago, when the party was ballot-qualified in the past, will count. The Libertarian Party was a qualified party in Maine during 1992, and chances are there are some voters who registered “Libertarian” back then, and who have never re-registered. Chances are, Maine election officials won’t go to the bother of finding such individuals, because they have been coded as independent voters in the computerized records. However, certain other states do “revive” such registrations when parties go off the ballot and then return, including Alaska, Arizona, California, Delaware, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, and West Virginia.

There were 1,048 registered Libertarians in Maine at the end of 1992.

If any other group also wishes to file this month, the deadline is December 30, not December 31; and the application requires the signatures of at least ten voters who are not registered members of any of the three qualified parties (Democratic, Republican, and Green). It seems likely that if the deadline for filing the notice of intent to qualify were challenged in court, it would be overturned; there seems to be no state interest in specifiying only one particular month for filing such a notice.

78 thoughts on “Libertarian Party of Maine Files Paperwork to Begin to Qualify as a “Political Party”

  1. George Phillies

    “…certain other states do “revive” such registrations when parties go off the ballot and then return, including … Massachusetts…”

    Ballot Access News discussions of Massachusetts are again in error. First, “Libertarian” has been an identifier for Massachusetts candidates continuously for something like four decades now. No matter whether Libertarian is a major or a minor party (Massachusetts actually uses different terms of art), Libertarians can in partisan elections run as Libertarians. Second, for the three decades that I have lived here, it has always been legal to register as a Libertarian by filling out the voter registration form correctly. Furthermore, because decades ago we completed the filing as a “Political Designation”, the Commonwealth has kept a count of how many registered (we use a different term of art) Libertarians there are.

  2. Richard Winger

    Ballot Access News is entirely accurate. There is no such thing in the Massachusetts election law as a “minor party.” Massachusetts only defines “political party”, and the Libertarian Party is not a political party in Massachusetts. Here is a link to the Massachusetts election law giving definitions: https://malegislature.gov/Laws/GeneralLaws/PartI/TitleVIII/Chapter50/Section1. One won’t find “major party” or “minor party” listed. One only finds “political party” and “political designation”. There are about 30 political designations in Massachusetts, which is a group that has asked that its registrations be tallied. The Libertarian Party is a political designation. As a result, when the party came into existence as a qualified party in November 2008, all the voters who were registered “Libertarian” were then considered members of a political party, and the party didn’t have to start from zero, with its registered members.

    The Libertarian Party was a ballot-qualified party in Massachusetts from November 1994 through November 1996. It was also a ballot-qualified party November 1998-November 2004. Finally, it was a ballot-qualified party November 2008-November 2010.

  3. George Phillies

    As I carefully said “Libertarian is a major or a minor party (Massachusetts actually uses different terms of art)”. However, almost no one outside of Massachusetts knows what these terms of art are, so after warning readers that there are also terms of art, I used the phrase ‘major and minor party’ which most readers other than Mr. Winger will understand.

    Winger then claims that we are not-currently a ‘ballot qualified party’ because we are a ‘Political Designation’ rather than a ‘Political Party”, invoking the exact terms of art.

    However, having complained that I used terms familiar to readers rather than the exact terms created by the Commonwealth’s Great and General Court, Winger then goes on to do exactly what he complains about, namely he uses the phrase ‘ballot qualified party’. We have no such thing here. No such phrase is found in the Massachusetts General Laws, or so a search says, with or without the hyphen. He is using a phrase is in fact a spelling replacement for ‘major party’.

    Furthermore, while Political Party and Political Designation statuses are not the same, if you get a ballot there is no difference. The last ballot will have included if I recall correctly

    Gary Johnson
    Libertarian

    Barack Obama
    Democrat

    Willard Romney
    Republican

    Jill Stein
    Green-Rainbow

    In any event, I can assure readers that “Libertarian” is ballot-qualified (as a statement of fact, there being no such legal status) right now, our enrolled (registered to the rest of you) voters can enroll as as Libertarian right now, and the statement that enrolled voters are counted is related to the permanent and irrevocable status of having filed as a Political Designation form (Democrats and Republics may have been grandfathered in) and is unrelated to whether we are a Political Party as well as having filed as a Political Designation.

  4. George Phillies

    Winger rants “There is no such thing in the Massachusetts election law as a “minor party.” ” There is also no such thing in the *Massachusetts General Laws* as a “ballot-qualified party”.

  5. Richard Winger

    Under George’s definition of a “qualified party”, all minor parties are on the ballot in all 50 states.

    George is a brilliant and accomplished person. In 1996, while the Massachusetts Libertarian Party was ballot-qualified, he sought the nomination of the party for U.S. Senate, which meant that he needed 10,000 signatures to get on the party’s primary ballot. The only people who could sign were registered Libertarians and registered independents. Even though party leaders supported him, he did not succeed in getting on the Libertarian primary ballot in 1996 for US Senate. This was very upsetting to all of, because he surely would have got 3% for U.S. Senate in November 1996 and kept the party on the ballot for 1998. And it must have been exceedingly upsetting to George personally, because it sank deeply into every layer of his brain that it is terrible for the Massachusetts Libertarian Party to be ballot-qualified, because it is then so hard for the party’s members to get on the party’s primary ballot (except for President).

    An alternate way of thinking to the tragedy of 1996 would have been that the primary ballot access laws for candidates ought to be changed. One would then rationally seek to change those bad laws. Right now is an excellent time to do that, because Massachusetts suffers from the embarrassment of being the only state in Nov. 2014 with a majority of the congressional races one-candidate affairs (6 of the 9 US House races had only a Dem on the ballot). So I implore George to turn his considerable skills to changing that terribly unjust law. George is, or at least was, on the board of the ACLU of Massachusetts. He is a distinguished professor (or maybe he is retired; I don’t know). He knows lots of influential people in Massachusetts. Not so long ago he had a conversation with Dan Winslow, who had been attorney for Americans Elect. George could be a key figure in improving the unjust primary ballot access laws and I wish he would.

  6. White Rebel

    Speaking of Massachusetts and the law, here’s the latest article I could find thru Google News about former Libertarian petitioner, and good buddy of Paul Frankel and Andy Jacobs, Gary Fincher.

    http://www.thesunchronicle.com/news/local_news/man-charged-in-veterans-fraud-in-mansfield-also-suspected-in/article_065f3a71-ed79-5bc1-84e0-5af71f6f560e.html

    Fincher was arrested in August for “fraudulently collecting thousands of dollars for veterans and keeping the money for himself” according to the article. It describes his daily accounts of how much money he conned suckers out of, such as “$531 at Shaw’s on July 22 and $792 on Aug. 2.” It says he had a bank account with a balance of $11,275 that the police have confiscated and a motel room while representing himself as a homeless veteran and an authorized agent of a non-existent charity to help fellow homeless veterans. Fincher served 29 days in the Army before washing out of basic training in 1980. The article says Fincher was due back in court on Dec. 18, but I could not find an additional account of the court events at that time.

    I guess this fully vindicates Sean Haugh, proving he was correct when he said Gary Fincher’s petition papers should have been burned by the Massachusetts LP in 2008. Sean Haugh was also by far the best political director the Libertarians ever had, and their best Senate candidate this year. What I don’t understand is why they are not falling all over themselves begging him to run for President for them right about now.

  7. Andy

    I agree with Richard Winger, in that if there is a good opportunity to lobby for better ballot access laws, it ought to be seized upon.

    BTW, I recall being in Massachusetts in 2007, and that the Libertarian Party had been taken off of the voter registration forms, because they had lost recognized party status in the state. A person could still register Libertarian, but they had to check other and write in Libertarian.

    I’m pretty sure the Libertarian Party was back on the Massachusetts voter registration form when I went back there in 2009, because their candidate for US Senate had received 2% or more of the vote.

  8. Andy

    “White Rebel

    December 29, 2014 at 4:12 pm

    Speaking of Massachusetts and the law, here’s the latest article I could find thru Google News about former Libertarian petitioner, and good buddy of Paul Frankel and Andy Jacobs, Gary Fincher.”

    Neither Paul nor myself have been “buddies” with, or even associated with, Gary Fincher in years. You are only trying to tie him in with us as some kind of guilt by association smear, and the only reason you are even attacking any of us is due to our present or past (in regard to Gary) affiliation with the Libertarian Party. I heard that somebody who works as a petition circulator/coordinator recently was implicated in a veterans scam in Colorado, yet you are silent about this, and it is clear that the reason for your silence is because this person has never been affiliated with the Libertarian, and I am not aware of this individual ever having worked on a Libertarian Party drive anywhere.

    “I guess this fully vindicates Sean Haugh, proving he was correct when he said Gary Fincher’s petition papers should have been burned by the Massachusetts LP in 2008.”

    You are guessing wrong, because the validity on the signatures that Gary collected in Massachusetts was in fact very good, and the Libertarian Party did at the time need those signatures, and destroying those petition signatures, or even calling for them to be destroyed, was and still is a crime, and in Massachusetts, it even says that it is a crime on the petition. It does not matter if Gary had gone on to become a serial killer years after this, as all of the statements that I said would still be true.

    “Sean Haugh was also by far the best political director the Libertarians ever had, and their best Senate candidate this year. What I don’t understand is why they are not falling all over themselves begging him to run for President for them right about now.”

    These are truly laughable statements.

  9. Shawn Levasseur

    Hey! Enough about Mass.! This is supposed to be about Maine. We seceded from them in 1820.

    🙂

    (I know, thread drift is as old as the internet itself. Impossible to avoid.

  10. Betty

    I’ve heard Scott Kohlhaas will be in charge of the fundraising and hiring, and Eric Dondero is first in line to be called. Frankel and Jacobs must not be happy about this 🙂

  11. Mark Axinn

    All other comments aside, I do agree with White Rebel that Sean Haugh ran the best LP Senate campaign this year. He was in televised debates, got terrific vote totals for a Libertarian candidate after running a principled and well-articulated campaign, and may have influenced the final result.

    I don’t understand how a subsequent criminal charge against a former acquaintance amounts to a guilt-by-association claim against Andy and Paulie, except as part of a rather obvious, inelegant smear campaign. Hell, my wife went to high school with Jeffrey Dahmer, yet neither she nor any of the other 400 kids in that graduating class are serial killers.

    Now, to the main subject: Maine.

    Go Maine LP!!!

  12. Richard Winger

    Sean Haugh did a great job in 2014 in North Carolina. Why should anyone care about something from 2008? Sean got 3.75%. It only seems fair to also acknowledge the other Libertarian 2014 US Senate candidates who got above 3%…Alaska Mark Fish 3.74%, Illinois Sharon Hansen 3.76%, Kansas Randal Batson 4.33%, Kentucky David Patterson 3.08%, Oregon Mike Montchalin 3.09%.

  13. Mark Axinn

    Betty–

    Very interesting.

    As a result of reading the article, I still cannot hire Andy or Paulie to work in New York as neither is a registered voter here*, although I recognize that they each have been tremendous assets to other state LP’s.

    I also still think Sean Haugh ran the best Senate campaign in 2014, even if he has lots of enemies in the Party. Since he and I barely know each other, I’m not worried about a negative article from him. 🙂

    Oh, also as I never met Fincher, I don’t have to worry about hiring him.

    In fact, I hired about 15 paid petitioners this year and was very pleased with all of their work.

    *Yes Andy and others, I know it’s a stupid law that requires witnesses (you like to call them circulators) to New York petitions to be registered to vote here. I promised Bill Redpath we would challenge it one of these days, but my first priority the last five years has been getting on the ballot so we have not gotten to that challenge yet.

    Also, unlike some other states, I have not had to rely on people not registered in my state to collect sigs.

  14. Betty

    “Sean Haugh did a great job in 2014 in North Carolina. ”

    Absolutely!

    “Why should anyone care about something from 2008?”

    Because what he wrote then is still true now. I guess you could have said in 2008 why should anyone care about the Fincher incidents from 1999, but then you might have been surprised at the Fincher incidents in 2014. Those who ignore history may have to relive it. There’s something to be said for learning from history rather than the hard way. You may want to forget about what Frankel did in 2001 but then who will you have to blame the next time he has an “oopsie”? You know he is a drug addict who still uses drugs, so what will happen when he has his next major relapse with addiction, what will he do to support his habit and who will get hurt?
    For those who haven’t read the article at Liberty For All linked above you should read it right now. And if you read it a long time ago, read it again!

  15. George Phillies

    Mark, It appears that Congressman Grimm (Staten Island) may well be about to resign, in which case there will be a special election. Do you have a mechanism for getting a candidate on the ballot? Is there a candidate? (The last question is often the challenge. However, recall that for Congressional office the candidate only needs to live in New York State, not in the District.) I wish the LPNY the best of luck.

  16. Mark Axinn

    Thanks George.

    We have a small but active chapter in Staten Island (which comprises about 90% of Grimm’s district; the rest is in the Bay Ridge neighborhood of Brooklyn). The Staten Island LP has run candidates for NYC Council, NYS Assembly and US Congress in its five-year history.

    The problem of course is getting on the ballot. Congress requires 3500 valid sigs in the district in a very short petitioning period, so we may end up passing.

    I have a state committee meeting this weekend and will put it on my agenda. Thanks again for bringing it up.

    BTW, Congressman Grimm is a truly lovely fellow. Not only did he plead guilty to tax fraud, but he also threatened to throw a reporter off a hotel balcony when the guy pressed him for an explanation of the charges.

  17. Mark Axinn

    Betty–

    Maybe. Depends on many factors like price, quality of production, etc.

    My understanding is that both Andy and Paulie are both very accomplished petitioners. I know they both know their stuff (I did an LSLA seminar with Paulie in June on petitioning which you should watch), and am sure they each would do a good job here. They also know that I use a few particular petitioners regularly, who have worked out well for me in 2010, 2012, 2013 and 2014.

    But it ain’t legal for me to use non-NY registered witnesses and neither of them live near here, so the point is moot. Also, these fellas rely on petitioning for their livelihood, and I don’t want to cause them unnecessary expense. If I want to have a test-case with a non-resident petitioner, both Jim Lark and Bill Redpath have volunteered.

  18. Shawn

    To donate to the LPME via PayPal, just go to lpme.org/donate .

    We are currently organized as a state PAC. as we’ve only had individual donors to date, I’m not sure if federal PACs can contribute or not. Other state PACs can.

  19. Shawn Levasseur

    Scott Kohlhaas is under contract to do fundraising for, and operation of, the professional side of the registration drive. As the LPME treasurer, I an attest Scott’s doing a good job on fundraising. As to whom Scott hires: that has yet to be seen. As per contract, that’s his call. we may recommend some locals we’ve worked with before, but still, his call.

    The fact that this is even happening is in large thanks to the prodding and encouragement of Scott Kohlhaas and Richard Winger.

  20. Andy

    Betty said: “Because what he wrote then is still true now. I guess you could have said in 2008 why should anyone care about the Fincher incidents from 1999, but then you might have been surprised at the Fincher incidents in 2014. Those who ignore history may have to relive it. There’s something to be said for learning from history rather than the hard way.”

    Hey everybody, it looks like “Vernon” has become a drag queen.

    Bottom line here is that in spite of what Gary has done since his petition days (and I do not agree at all with the veterans BS), Gary was in fact a damn good petitioner, and at one time, he was a heck of a Libertarian Party activist. I have worked with lots of petitioners around the country, and if I did a rating, I would rank Gary as one of the best. Acting like Gary was not a good petitioner or party activist would be like saying that OJ Simpson was not a good football player.

    The Libertarian Party needed signatures in Massachusetts, Gary was working with the Libertarian Party of Massachusetts to get them, and he did a very good job of doing that, as his production was the highest of anyone who was working on the LP dive in Massachusetts during that time period, and his validity was high as well. It was illegal, irrational, and immoral for Sean Haugh to abuse his position as a paid employee at LP National to try to solicit somebody in the LP of Massachusetts to “burn – quite literally” the signature collected by Gary, “whether they had been paid for or not.” Sean Haugh issued this command to at least two members of the LP of Massachusetts, neither of whom were stupid enough to carry out this crime, so the signatures were never burned and Gary did get paid by the LP of Massachusetts, but under the law, Sean Haugh’s actions were in fact still criminal, because solicitation of a crime is a crime.

    It is a good thing that the signatures were not burned, because not only would that have been a crime, it would have been extremely stupid because the party did need the signatures at the time, and the validity rate on them was good (they were in the 70’s-80’s% range, which is considered to be good validity in the petition business).

  21. Andy

    Mark Axinn said: “But it ain’t legal for me to use non-NY registered witnesses and neither of them live near here, so the point is moot. Also, these fellas rely on petitioning for their livelihood, and I don’t want to cause them unnecessary expense.”

    What’s kind of funny about this, is that I know of multiple petitioners who have worked on LP drives (as well as for other groups) in New York who I know for a fact do not live there. They all had witnesses sign off on the declarations. I know that this has happened in recent years, since Mark Axinn has been Chair. I’d say that almost every time I’ve heard about petition drives in New York, whether it is for the LP or not, I’ve heard about out-of-state petitioners working there.

    I actually have petitioned in New York. It was not for the LP, it was for an independent candidate. I had a witness do the sign offs.

    Paul has petitioned in New York for candidates on two occasions of which I am aware. He had witnesses sign off on the declarations.

    “If I want to have a test-case with a non-resident petitioner, both Jim Lark and Bill Redpath have volunteered.”

    Out-of-state petition circulator bans have been thrown out in court for being unconstitutional in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Washington DC, Virginia, Nebraska, Arizona, and just about everywhere else they have been challenged. Somebody in New York really ought to challenge this ridiculous, unconstitutional impediment to ballot access.

  22. Andy

    “Shawn Levasseur

    December 29, 2014 at 10:44 pm

    Scott Kohlhaas is under contract to do fundraising for, and operation of, the professional side of the registration drive. As the LPME treasurer, I an attest Scott’s doing a good job on fundraising.”

    I don’t know why anybody in the LP still deals with Scott Kohlhaas, given all of the problems that he’s caused over the years, from lying, reneging on agreements, stealing money, to causing ballot access drives to fail (see Oklahoma 2012), etc…

    FYI, earlier this year “Mr. Libertarian” Scott Kohlhaas was the petition coordinator on a ballot initiative in Alaska to INCREAE the minimum wage (yes, you read that right).

    “As to whom Scott hires: that has yet to be seen. As per contract, that’s his call. we may recommend some locals we’ve worked with before, but still, his call.”

    He probably put that in there so he can screw people.

    Here’s a challenge: Do a check on whoever these people are and find out if any of them are actually Libertarians. AND DO NOT TAKE HIS WORD FOR IT, CHECK AND SEE IF THE PERSON IS AN LP MEMBER AND IF THEY HAVE A VERIFIABLE RECORD AS A LIBERTARIAN ACTIVIST, AND IF THEY CAN HAVE ANY OTHER LIBERTARIAN PARTY MEMBERS (BESIDES SCOTT KOHLHASS) VOUCH FOR THEM BEING AN ACCTUAL LIBERTARIAN PARTY ACTIVIST.

    There are only 4 or 5 people who are really any good at doing Libertarian Party voter registration. Libertarian Party voter registration is more difficult than getting people to sign petitions for the Libertarian Party, and it takes more care, especially to do it right.

    The only people who’d I’d say are any good at Libertarian Party vote registration (and I know, or know of, just about everybody in the world of ballot access), are myself, Jake, Paul, Al (although I’m pretty sure that Al has quit ballot access work, so he is likely not interested), and probably Bob (Bob is a great Libertarian activist/petitioner from Virginia, and he would probably be good at it, but I am not aware of Bob working a voter registration drive).

    THERE IS NOBODY ELSE IN THE COUNTRY WHO IS WORTH A DAMN AT LP REGISTRATIONS. I’m not saying that nobody else can do It, but you’d have to find an actual Libertarian Party member who has not done it before, and then get them to do it and see if they are any good at it.

    Given that Libertarian Party voter registration is more difficult than petitions, and given that it takes more finesse to do it properly, I am an EVEN MORE ADAMANT about not hiring non-libertarian mercenaries to do this work than I am about hiring non-libertarian mercenaries to work on Libertarian Party petitions. There are instances where I’d make concessions about hiring non-libertarian mercenaries to do petitions, but I would NOT make such a concession when it comes to LP voter registration.

    I know the types of people who tend to work on the Republican voter registration drives, and I know the type of people who tend to do voter registration drives for leftist groups like ACORN, and these kind of people should be kept far away from any Libertarian Party voter registration drives.

    It really disgusts me when the LP hires non-libertarian mercenaries who work on any scumbag cause that comes along, like Top Two Primary initiatives, or gun control initiatives, or initiatives to increase taxes, even more so for the ones who understand what it is and do not even acknowledge that these are not good causes, or the ones who think that these are good things, work on LP petition drives. Well, I am even more disgusted if I find out that any of these people get paid to do voter registration work for the Libertarian Party (although the LP generally does not have the money to do voter registration drives, so they do not happen very often, which actually makes it even more disgusting when the LP hires people like this).

    I will not be surprised to find out that whoever it is that Scott Kohlhaas refers will not be a Libertarian (and Eric Dondero does NOT count as a Libertarian). Check out their Libertarian credentials, and I bet that they will either be non-existent, or, they will appear to exist, but upon further examination will prove to be a lie (as in somebody who is claimed to be a libertarian, but is not really a libertarian), that is if anybody bothers to investigate beyond taking the word of Kohlhaas for it.

    Out of people who are currently working as petitioners, or who may be seeking petition work, the ONLY people who I would hire to do any Libertarian Party voter registration work anywhere in the country, would be (beyond myself): Jake, Paul, or Bob. I would add Al to the list if he wants to come back (which he probably does not). There may be one or two other people, like Marc or Milton, or another guy named Mark (but he’s got another job and is no longer actively seeking ballot access work), and this is it. I know two other guys that are Libertarians that could be good at it, but they have both dropped out of ballot access work and are not likely to be interested (as in they have other jobs where they live). Oh, there is also Roger, but he’s got another job and does not travel much anymore.

    Beyond the names I mentioned, you’d have to recruit new people out of the Libertarian activist pool to find new people, most of whom probably would not be any good since statistically speaking, most people do not make it in ballot access work (as in most people are not good at it, and/or do not like doing it), to find anyone who is worth a damn.

    The idea of having the scum that tends to gravitate to Republican voter registration drives, or to leftist groups who have done voter registrations like ACORN, doing voter registration for the Libertarian Party just makes me want to puke.

    People registering should KNOW what party it is they are registering for when they register Libertarian Party, as in they should know what the party actually stands for, and who the candidates are, and etc…, and there is nobody better to hear this stuff from than an actual Libertarian Party activist.

    “The fact that this is even happening is in large thanks to the prodding and encouragement of Scott Kohlhaas and Richard Winger.”

    I heard about the change in the law in Maine for ballot access when it happened a couple of years or so ago, and I’ve been saying that the LP should do ballot voter registration drive in Maine since then. I even posted about it right here at IPR, and I even mentioned it to somebody on the LNC a while back.

  23. Steve M

    I would like to thank George Phillies and Richard Winger for a demonstration on how to debate an issue.

    Thank you both.

  24. Richard Winger

    The Connecticut ACLU is planning to sue Connecticut next month over Connecticut’s ban on out-of-state circulators. Connecticut and New York are both in the 2nd circuit. If the ACLU wins the Connecticut case in US District Court, probably the state won’t appeal. But if the state does appeal to the 2nd circuit, and loses there also, then the New York ban on out-of-state circulators would be invalid virtually automatically. So progress, even if it is indirect, is being made against New York.

    I really appreciate the existence of IPR for making a means for us to all talk to each other.

  25. Andy

    http://www.adn.com/article/20140117/backers-vote-increase-minimum-wage-alaska-submit-petition-signatures

    “About 65 percent of the signatures came from paid signature-gatherers, Flanagan said. Scott Kohlhaas, a political consultant whose signature-gathering business worked for the campaign, and lawyer Ken Jacobus came to the elections office to watch the signatures being processed.”

    ——————————————————————————————————————————–

    MY COMMENT: Don’t be a bit surprised Kohlhaas will try to send mercenary petitioners and leftists who support the minimum wage, or other assorted jabronies, and try to get them to work LP registrations in Maine (assuming he actually raises the money), and then if questioned, he’ll try to pass them off as Libertarians and hope that nobody notices. This is one of the reasons that the LP petition drive in Oklahoma failed in 2012.

  26. Andy Craig

    In our experience, I found Kolhaas to be perfectly reasonable and easy enough to work with, and he fulfilled his contract as promised, with the ultimate desired effect on our future ballot access. Unlike some, I don’t know the details and rumors about every LP petition drive ever attempted in the past two decades, and I frankly don’t quite grasp what the various complaints that those in the paid-gathering industry hurl at each other are all about. Maybe I’m being naive here, and I’m open to explanation, but it seems like a lot of personal sniping and exaggerated complaints to no real point. I don’t care if the guys getting us on the ballot are nice guys, I don’t care if they’re in it to make a living, I don’t care if they’re even “really” Libertarians or not, and I don’t care if they’ve worked for candidates or initiatives that I disagree with. I care that they get the job done to the satisfaction of the state’s election bureaucrats, so that the Libertarian nominee appears on the ballot for the office(s) in question, and that’s it.

    This is important work, crucial to the party, and if you don’t like the whole petition process (which I don’t) then the best thing to be done about it is pursue ballot access liberalization bills in the state legislature (and strategic litigation of the issue in the courts).

    Ballot access hurdles- whether they come in the form of nomination petitions, filing fees, or registration requirements- are nothing more than an obstacle to be dispatched as quickly and efficiently as possible so the actual work of campaigning and growing the party can proceed. The only answer to having to pay for less signatures, is to have a larger and more active group of local party members on the ground who can volunteer and do so effectively. But we can’t grow if we don’t have candidates on the ballot,

    For every dozen local party members, you’re lucky if one of them is any good at getting signatures in bulk. Even among good candidates who have strong personalities, who could campaign effectively as a candidate, signature-gathering is an unfamiliar and unpleasant process for most, who do not have any experience at doing it. And working with the state’s deadlines is a bad time to be on a learner’s curve.

    Petitioning is not campaigning, and I think conflating the two is deeply misguided. It buys into the whole notion that underlies these laws- that large petition requirements are about a show of support from voters, instead of just a filing fee imposed in man-hours instead of dollars, which is what they really are.

  27. George Phillies

    Me WInger rather than defending his false claim changes the topic to one of his hobby horses, His comments about sinking into my brain are an amusing sort of personal insult. Readers may wish to consider the Congressional campaign of Jim Frederickson as further evidence; he collected 6000+ signatures, not enough of which were valid to get on the ballot for Congress.

    Andy: Fincher’s validity rates even better than you recall; they were in the 80-90% range. There are some south shore towns that are womderful places to collect signatures. The details of who paid him were a bit complicated.

  28. NewFederalist

    I really don’t understand the apparent animosity between George Phillies and Richard Winger. For two people who have been around the libertarian movement as long as both of them have this seems quite distressing.

  29. Shawn Levasseur

    We’re under no impression that Kohlhaas is supposed to hire only libertarians. If he does, that’s good too (If Paulie were amongst the pros hired, I’d be glad to have him up here, probably make a point to see him and say “hi”.). But that’s not a requirement. We expect professionals to be hired. Ideology isn’t paramount, results are.

    Some of the better local pros that we worked with to get Gary Johnson on the ballot in 2012 in Maine were Green Party members. What some would call mercenary (and put in scare quotes), I call being a professional.

    None the less, we plan on overseeing Kohlhaas’ work, and work with him as much as we can, to understand where we are at any given point. Problems with others in the past taught us the value of that. Trust, but verify.

  30. paulie

    Thanks Shawn. However, Scott doesn’t hire me and I don’t work with him. If he has an exclusive deal with you, I won’t be up there.

  31. Andy

    Scott is not the one handling the money. If the money is in the LP of Maine’s bank account, the LP of Maine State Committee should decide how the money is spent. Shawn Lavasseur is the Treasurer for the LP of ME, so he is the one in charge of cutting the checks.

  32. Mark Axinn

    Andy–

    Agree regarding residnecy requirement to witness petitions.

    It used to be worse: wtness had to be elible to vote for the office so if a local race, petitioner had to live in the specific district.

    It’s on the to do list, but so are many other things too.

  33. Mark Axinn

    Shawn–

    I never give exclusives and all my paid petitioners know that.

    Scott may be terrific, but I prefer not to rely on just one person for anything.

  34. Andy

    “paulie

    December 30, 2014 at 3:37 pm

    He said their contract with Scott says that Scott is in charge of hiring. That means you and I will not be there.”

    1) I don’t know why anyone would even sign a contract like that. Not a good idea at all to agree to such a thing. I don’t see it would even be valid given that the money does not belong to Scott Kohlhaas, it would belong to the LP of Maine.

    2) I would not automatically assume that Scott Kohlhaas is actually going to come through with raising enough money to actually complete the project. He failed to do this with the LP of Connecticut in 2012, which is why LP National and the Gary Johnson campaign had to shell out a bunch of money to do a last minute save. He failed to do this with Oklahoma in 2012, which is one of the reasons that that drive failed, and why LP National had to step in and try to save it (which they failed to do). He also failed to do this with the LP of Nebraska in 2008, and had to be bailed out by LP National again (and whatever happened to that money that he undeservedly absconded with from that petition drive?). So just because there is a claim that he is going to raise enough money to get the LP of Maine on the ballot via voter registrations does not mean that it is actually going to happen.

    3) Hiring non-libertarian mercenaries to go out and misrepresent the Libertarian Party, or to just do a sub-optimal job in general, on a voter registration drive is such an unconscionable act that if this is what is going to be done in Maine, they might as well just cancel the entire thing right now. Remember, doing Libertarian Party voter registrations is more difficult than gathering Libertarian Party petition signatures, and it takes more finesse to do it properly. This is all the more reason why it should be a Libertarian only job. There are not that many actual Libertarians in this country who do this type of work, and Scott Kohlhaas has pretty much alienated every Libertarian who has done this type of work in the last decade. Apparently, he’s even pissed off some of the mercenary petitioners in Alaska. I ran into one recently who was working in the lower 48 who told me that they got ripped off by Scott Kohlhaas on some initiative drive in Alaska sometime within the last 2 or 3 years or so.

    4) Does the LP of Maine really want to risk failing to make the ballot, or getting on the ballot in a sub-optimal manner (by having a bunch of non-libertarian jabronies that Kohlhaas recruits do a half ass job), or do they want the job done in the best manner possible? Remember, the Libertarian Party failed to get on the ballot in Oklahoma in 2012, and Scott Kohlhaas was one of the main people who caused that drive to fail (the others being a certain LNC member, and the State Chair in Oklahoma). I offered to go to Oklahoma to gather signatures, and I even offered a lot of free valuable advice, plus I predicted what pitfalls could happen, and what the LP could to in Oklahoma to avoid those pitfalls, and I was never called in to work, and my advice was ignored, and the LP fell into all of the pitfalls which I predicted, and therefore the LP failed to make the ballot in Oklahoma. Paul also offered to work in Oklahoma on more than one occasion, and he was never called back either. I guarantee you that if Paul and/or I had been there that we would have been the difference makers in the LP making the ballot in Oklahoma in 2012.

    5) I don’t know if I would want to work on this thing in Maine or not. I would certainly be interested in working on it, but I’d have to see what else was going on in the country and compare it to what else was going on before I would say for sure whether or not I’d want to go. I actually have petitioned in Maine before. I did some casino gaming petitions there a few years ago. It was not the best place I’d ever petitioned, but I’ve been wanting to go back there anyway. There either hasn’t been anything good there, or, there has been something decent, but I had other commitments elsewhere and could not make it. Sure, I’d go back to Maine if the opportunity presented itself, and I don’t think that there is anyone in the country who does LP ballot access better than I do, but I do not go anywhere without first balancing against what else is going on across the country.

  35. Andy

    “Andy Craig

    December 30, 2014 at 7:01 am

    In our experience, I found Kolhaas to be perfectly reasonable and easy enough to work with, ”

    Lucky for you, but I can provide incidents where people had the opposite experience. If you do not believe me, read the LNC report from July of 2007 (scroll down the part about ballot access).

  36. Shawn Levasseur

    Okay, not having gone over the contract lately. I’m not sure that Kohlhaas has a contractual exclusive. If I worded it that way, I may have misspoken. That said, how we and Scott will be proceeding is not something I’m comfortable hashing out in a public forum.

    I will say that I have been pleased with his efforts on the fundraising, the only thing I can really judge him on so far. Our state chair will be working with Scott on the rest of his efforts, and I doubt he’ll be commenting here about such matters.

    Scott came to us. Gave us the kick in the seat of the pants to get this going. We’re dancing with the one who brung us. We aren’t being naive, we will keep our eyes on the Scott’s progress throughout. I myself had my concerns about Scott and his “Ballot Access in a box” pitch, being somewhat aware of prior controversies involving him. So I asked others I trust about him, did our due diligence and we chose to go forward with him.

  37. paulie

    It’s up to you guys. If you want to work exclusively with Scott that’s not my call, but I can’t be up there. If it’s not an exclusive, I am willing to try my hand at raising some money to bring myself in. Either way is fine.

  38. Andy

    OK, EXACTLY what I predicted would happen in Maine is already starting to happen. This morning a person I know who works as a petitioner, got a phone call about the Libertarian Party voter registration drive in Maine. This person is actually a Libertarian from New York, and this may sound like a good thing, however, it is actually not a good thing, Why? Because the person who called him was not a Libertarian, but rather a Maine based mercenary petition coordinator. Why is this a bad thing? Because this means that somebody who is not a Libertarian is planning to have a deal on the voter registration drive, where they will farm it out to any non-libertarian mercenary petition circulator in the country, so this means that you will have a bunch of people who are NOT Libertarians, some of whom can’t even spell the word Libertarian, and many of whom support anti-libertarian issues, such as government mandated minimum wages, government run healthcare, banning gay marriage, gun control, etc…. This also means that instead of contracting with actual Libertarians, you know, the people who would actually do the job better than anyone else, that a non-libertarian mercenary will make a bunch of money off of this, and the quality of the work will be less than it would have been if actual Libertarians were to do the job. So actual Libertarians are being punished here, while non-libertarian mercenaries are being rewarded, and I’d say that this is to the detriment of the party.

    THIS IS YET ANOTHER EXAMPLE OF WHY THE LIBERTARIAN PARTY IS NOT MORE SUCCSEFUL. I am absolutely disgusted by this situation.

  39. Martin Passoli

    Andy, it doesn’t sound like the people in the thread above agree with you that non-libertarians can’t do as good of a job on Libertarian petitions or voter registration drives. Can you explain succinctly why you think they can’t?

  40. Andy

    “Martin Passoli

    January 3, 2015 at 2:43 pm

    Andy, it doesn’t sound like the people in the thread above agree with you that non-libertarians can’t do as good of a job on Libertarian petitions or voter registration drives. Can you explain succinctly why you think they can’t?”

    I have already explained this multiple times on multiple threads on this site over the years. The Libertarian Party has been doing ballot access drives since the early 1970’s, and what I am saying is proven by history on ballot access drives around the country.

    I really feel like I should not even have to explain this yet again, especially since nobody in the Libertarian Party has ever refuted me on this, and the only feedback that I’ve ever gotten from fellow Libertarian Party members about this (out of the few who responded) is that they agree with me (although few have ever done anything to implement what I have said as a policy).

    The reasons are as follows:

    1) Actual Libertarians have consistently gotten higher average validity rates on ballot access drives than non-libertarians.

    2) Actual Libertarians do a better job of disseminating the Libertarian message to the public than non-libertarians, and some of the more unscrupulous non-libertarians have engaged in misrepresenting the Libertarian Party to the public (as in lying to get people to sign). Actual Libertarians go the extra mile to try to build the party, while non-libertarian mercenaries do the bare minimum to get people to sign, as in Libertarians can and do engage in outreach while getting people to sign, while non-libertarians do not do any outreach, so no party building takes place beyond the bare minimum it takes to get the signatures.

    3) Libertarian Party activists should be rewarded for being Libertarian Party activists. Rewarding non-libertarian mercenaries sends out the wrong message, and provides a perverse set of incentives, because hiring non-libertarian mercenaries (when there is no legitimate reason to do so) financially rewards people who do not really give a rat’s behind about the Libertarian Party, or libertarianism in general, and who are just as happy to work for an anti-liberty cause (like increasing the minimum wage, increasing taxes, banning gay marriage, gun control, etc…) as they are to work a pro-liberty cause just as long as they are getting paid. Why reward mercenaries like this, and why incentivize this type of behavior?

    I really do not see why these things are not self evident. Petition circulators (or people working on voter registration drives) are the public face of the party. They are the people who go out in public and talk to people about the Libertarian Party. Why in the hell would you want to send people out to talk about the party and philosophy with the public who do not really believe in or support the party and philosophy, especially when there are Libertarians who could do this job? If anyone out there thinks that it does not matter who goes out in public to talk to people about the party and philosophy, then why not take it a step further by saying that it does not matter if the candidates who go out and talk about the party and the philosophy with the public do not need to be Libertarians. Just hand the candidates a script and recruit any Democrat or Republican or unphilosophical mercenary to go out as a candidate. Hey, who cares about principles, right?

    We talk talking about 5,000 voter registrations in Maine. This is not really that big a job. There is no reason why this should not be a 100% Libertarian job. A non-libertarian mercenary should NOT get paid one penny for this.

  41. Andy

    If people think that it does not matter who goes out and represents the party to the public on ballot access drives, then how about get rid of actual Libertarian candidates, and just run anybody for office, and lay off all of the actual Libertarian Party office staff, and just replace them with Democrats, Republicans, and unphilosophical mercenaries?

  42. NewFederalist

    Andy- Do you ever work for parties other than the LP? Do you ever petition for causes that are not libertarian such as ballot measures that expand government control? I seem to remember that you petitioned for Virgil Goode and got stiffed.

  43. Andy

    I could see if the Libertarian Party was some tiny party and you could not find anyone else to do the work, but the Libertarian Party is actually pretty big for a minor party, and there are more than enough Libertarians who are ready, willing, and able to do the work, so it makes zero sense to hire outside the Libertarian activist base.

  44. Andy

    “NewFederalist

    January 3, 2015 at 7:43 pm

    Andy- Do you ever work for parties other than the LP? Do you ever petition for causes that are not libertarian such as ballot measures that expand government control? I seem to remember that you petitioned for Virgil Goode and got stiffed.”

    First off, this thread is NOT about petitions, it is about VOTER REGISTRATIONS. Getting people to register to vote under a party banner is more difficult than getting them to sign a petition. Doing a voter registration drive right takes more care than doing a petition drive.

    Second of all, the first few years I did this type of work, I only did Libertarian Party. I did start gathering signatures on petition for other minor parties and independents, however, I do believe that the Democrats and Republicans are so screwed up that almost anyone is better than they are, so I’d generally prefer say a Green or a Constitution Party member or most independents to be elected to office than a typical Democrat or Republican, and most of the time the minor party or independent is not going to win anyway.

    It should be pointed out that the Libertarian Party is larger than the other minor parties in this country. A larger party means more members, which means more activists to draw from to do various jobs that the party needs to be done, whether it is ballot access drives, office work, etc….

    If you or anyone else has followed my posts on this subject, I have already said that there are two instances where I could see hiring non-libertarian mercenaries on petitions (NOT on voter registrations). These would be:

    1) If you tried to find Libertarians to do the job, and you could not find any, or you could not find enough of them to get the job done on time; or…

    2) You were going to piggyback the Libertarian Party petition off of one or more petitions that were already going on and already had petitioners on the ground in a state (but even in these cases, I’d still attempt to do it by utilizing at least some Libertarians, and I would keep a careful eye on the non-libertarians to make sure they don’t screw it up).

    A couple of other factors to consider here when it comes to other parties and independents:

    1) Some of these states have limited places where people can gather signatures without being run out by the police, security guards, store managers, and government bureaucrats, so, if you have multiple petition crews with different petitions popping up at the same locations in a state, it can cause problems at said locations. This is why in these situations it can be a better situation to consolidate petition crews, so you do not have separate people popping up at the same locations with different petitions (which creates voter confusion, and also leads to more complaints).

    2) The Libertarian Party does not always have the money to pay a rate which is competitive with what ballot initiative and referendum drives can pay. So even if one is a Libertarian petitioner, they may be enticed to work a more lucrative initiative or referendum drive, assuming that the issues are libertarian, or libertarian leaning, and therefore not work on a Libertarian Party ballot access drive. Here is an example: there was a state where the was a Casino Gaming initiative paying $4 per signature, plus motel and travel, plus a Medical Marijuana petition paying $2 at the same time. That is $6 if people signed both of the petitions, plus round trip travel and motel paid for by the campaign (note that these were street rates offered to petition circulators, so the petition coordinators were getting paid more than that). The Libertarian Party had a petition in another state during the same time that was paying $2.50 per signature. This would have been a less lucrative petition drive to work on than the Casino Gaming and Medical Marijuana petitions, if not for the fact that the Green Party and the Constitution happened to be paying for signatures at the same time. If it had not been for the Green Party and the Constitution Party paying at the same time, the Libertarian Party would have probably had to shell out more money or else the party would have lost its petition crew to the Casino petition and the Medical Marijuana petition in another state.

  45. Robert Capozzi

    pf: I thought [Liechtenstein] was part of the European Union

    me: Not on the lists and research I see.

  46. Andy

    I recently worked on a petition drive in Nevada where there was a Marijuana Legalization petition and a Gun Control petition. The Gun Control petition was financed by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the organization he started, Mayors Against Illegal Guns. Each petition was paying $5 per signature, so it was $10 people signed both of the petitions. I REF– USED to carry the Gun Control petition out of principle (as I am a strong supporter of the right to keep and bear arms), so I only worked on the Marijuana Legalization petition. I may have been the only paid petitioner in the state who refused to work on the Gun Control petition.

    Now $5 a signature may sound like a lot, but Nevada is a difficult state, as only 52% of Nevadans are registered to vote, and a lot of people there move frequently (so a lot of them do not know what address they are registered at), plus there are a lot of tourists there. There is also a requirement in Nevada that was passed a few years ago that says that petition pages have to be separated not only by county, but also by Congressional District, and Clark County, the most populated part of the state which is where I was, has 3 Congressional Districts that run through it, and most people do not know in which Congressional District they are registered. There are not that many good locations where you can get signatures in Nevada without being run out, and there were lots of petitioners in the state, so it was crowded relative to the number of good locations.

    So given these facts, and given that I refused to gather any signatures on the pro-gun control petition, I did not make as much money in Nevada as I would have otherwise.

    So tell me, what is my reward for upholding Libertarian principles by refusing to work on the pro-gun control petition?

    Are mercenaries who work on anti-liberty petitions penalized in any way by the Libertarian Party, or does the Libertarian Party perpetuate a perverse set of incentives that rewards unprincipled mercenaries and screws over actual Libertarian activists?

  47. Andy Craig

    Where do party status petitions fit on this dichotomy between candidate petitions and registration drives?

  48. Andy

    Getting people to sign a petition for a minor party to be on the ballot is easier than getting them to register to vote under a minor party label.

  49. Andy

    Those of you who are Libertarians who think that it does not matter if people gathering petition signatures or voter registrations for LP ballot access are Libertarians or not, here are some things to consider:

    The next time that the LP national, or a state LP, or a county LP, or an LP candidate gets to do a media interview, how about send a Democrat or a Republican or an unphilosophical mercenary to do the interview? After all, you don’t think that it is important to have actual Libertarians communicating with the public on ballot access drives, so what difference does it make if the people doing media interviews are actually Libertarians? If you are really concerned about what they say, you can just hand them a script to read and hope that they stick to it?

    If Libertarians working on petition and voter registration drives is not important, then how about replacing everyone who works at the LP national office with Democrats, Republicans, and unphilosophical mercenaries?

    If Libertarians working on petition and voter registration drives is not important, then how about replacing every LNC member and every state and county LP committee with Democrats, Republicans, and unphilosophical mercenaries?

    If Libertarians working on petition and voter registration drives is not important, then how about replacing every Libertarian Party candidate with Democrats, Republicans, and unphilosophical mercenaries?

  50. Rob Banks

    Andy Craig replied to that question on December 30 at 7:01 am:

    “Petitioning is not campaigning, and I think conflating the two is deeply misguided. It buys into the whole notion that underlies these laws- that large petition requirements are about a show of support from voters, instead of just a filing fee imposed in man-hours instead of dollars, which is what they really are.”

    How do you counter that?

  51. paulie

    Andy- Do you ever work for parties other than the LP? Do you ever petition for causes that are not libertarian such as ballot measures that expand government control? I seem to remember that you petitioned for Virgil Goode and got stiffed.

    Andy is very good about not working on ballot measures he disagrees with, and influenced me to stop working on those also.

    We do work for ballot access for other parties, which I believe is the right thing to do, not just a way to make money (they *should* be allowed to compete, even though I don’t agree with them).

    I don’t think Andy has done voter registration drives for other parties besides the LP (and a one-day job we did for the BTP…one hour, more like it), but I have, and I was good at it. But this was back when I was working on ballot measures I didn’t agree with also. I’m not sure how I would feel about working registration drives for other alt parties now, but I know I don’t want to do them for Ds and Rs anymore. And I’m not too wild about doing them for other alt parties anymore either. Registering with a party is making a commitment to at least some extent, even if it’s only on paper, not just allowing another choice to be on the ballot.

  52. paulie

    “Petitioning is not campaigning, and I think conflating the two is deeply misguided. It buys into the whole notion that underlies these laws- that large petition requirements are about a show of support from voters, instead of just a filing fee imposed in man-hours instead of dollars, which is what they really are.”

    How do you counter that?

    On the one hand that’s true. On the other it’s a big wasted opportunity, in that having libertarians do this work creates outreach opportunities that don’t exist otherwise.

    I have heard suggestions made, seriously, that LPHQ and state exec director jobs don’t really have to go to libertarians, just to whoever is competent at doing them. I’ve heard the suggestion seriously made – not as a rhetorical point – that LNC members are just board members, and we should select whoever has experience and competence at serving on corporate or other boards regardless of their ideology (no, I am not kidding – more than one active LP member told me this). What about candidates? Well, since they almost certainly won’t win (for higher level office), why don’t we just hire some good actors to play the role? That kind of thinking can in fact be extended to more than just petitioning, and I have heard people make these suggestions, apparently seriously.

    On the other hand, in many places petitioners are the only representatives of the LP (as far as the general public is concerned) that they get to meet personally. So while non-libertarians can petition competently, it’s nice if we can get libertarians to do it when it doesn’t cost too much. And I would agree that this goes double for voter registration drives.

  53. Andy

    “Rob Banks

    January 5, 2015 at 4:28 am

    Andy Craig replied to that question on December 30 at 7:01 am:

    ‘Petitioning is not campaigning, and I think conflating the two is deeply misguided. It buys into the whole notion that underlies these laws- that large petition requirements are about a show of support from voters, instead of just a filing fee imposed in man-hours instead of dollars, which is what they really are.’

    How do you counter that?”

    Wow, I am astounded at the lack of understanding of political strategy, and the ballot access process, that some people have in the Libertarian Party. Reading this statement clearly illustrates who the Libertarian Party is not more successful.

    Perhaps you’ve never heard of the concept of field outreach, that is going out in the public and talking to them about political issues. Ballot access petitioners can do a hell of a lot more than just asking people for signatures. Anyone out there who believes that a ballot access drive is, “Just asking people to sign petitions,” should be barred from holding any position in the Libertarian Party, and I would even go far as to say that they should not be nominated to run for any office.

    If ballot access petitioning was, “Just about asking people to sign petitions,” I would have quit doing it years ago. This is the stupid view of ballot access drives.

    The far more intelligent point of view, is that ballot access drives gives an organization a chance to send FIELD REPRESENTATIVES out to disseminate their message to the public, and to identify and recruit like minded individuals to their cause.

    I do not see myself as a petitioner, I am a FIELD REPRESETATIVE who also gathers signatures on petitions, and yes, there is a big difference, and if anyone is too stupid to understand the difference they should be barred from holding office in the Libertarian Party, or being a candidate for the Libertarian Party.

    I personally do not have much interest in petitioners. Most of them are apolitical mercenaries who would not know a principle if it hit them on the head. I have far more interest in pro-liberty FIELD REPRESENTATIVES who can also gather petition signatures. Unfortunately, there are very few people who fit this category.

    Frankly, a lot of people in the petition business disgust me. Some of them are outright scoundrels (most of you people would not know any of the people that I am talking about, since most reading this are completely clueless about the petition business; and I am talking about a some of the coordinators (ie-managers) as well as some of the petitioners), Even some of the better ones still lack a true understanding of, or belief in, the philosophy of liberty. There are some non-libertarian mercenaries who I like and get along with personally, and who may even do a decent job at collecting signatures, but they still do not understand libertarian philosophy, and they lack a true passion for liberty, and therefore cannot be relied on to do anything for to expand individual freedom, except for when they are getting paid to work on something that is pro-liberty, and even then they will only do the bare minimum to get the signatures.

    Sure, I like to make money as well, but if making money was my only goal, I’d have a lot more of it right now. I have turned down a lot of money over the years by turning down work that violated my principles. Heck, if it were not for wanting to be involved in the “animating contest for liberty,” I’d have probably quit petitioning a long time ago, and I may have never even tried it.

    A petitioner just goes out and collects signatures. A Libertarian FIELD REPRESENTATIVE who also petitions also collects signatures, but while doing it they disseminate the Libertarian message of freedom to the public, by doing things like answering questions about the party and philosophy and issue stances, handing out pamphlets, fliers, DVD’s, bumper stickers, etc…., signing people who are interested up for the Libertarian Party’s announcement list, letting people know where local meetings are held, telling people who the candidates are, informing people about the right of juries to nullify anti-freedom laws, turning people on to good pro-liberty books, films, etc… Just putting people out in the field who are passionate, and who put a good face on the Libertarian Party, or whatever the issue is, is good public relations, and helps gain more supporters and more votes. A good FIELD REPRESENATIVE who petitions can actually get good media attention for the party or cause. I have personally gotten the Libertarian Party positive newspaper articles in Arkansas, and I’ve gotten positive coverage for the party on television in Pennsylvania, just by being out in the field gathering petition signatures. Another important thing that FIELD REPRESENTATIVES who petition can do is to help start, or expand libertarian clubs on college campuses, and to encourage the members of libertarian clubs on college campuses who are not already Libertarian Party members, to join the Libertarian Party. I have helped start, and expand, libertarian clubs on numerous colleges throughout this country, in places like Pennsylvania, Alabama, Kentucky, Illinois, Arkansas, etc… FIELD REPRESENTATIVES who also petition can even recruit people to become candidates. I have done this. Last year, Paul was petitioning for the Libertarian Party in Alabama, and he recruited a guy at a gun show who joined the party, attended the LP National Convention as a delegate, and then went on to run for Sheriff as a Libertarian Party candidate.

    I consider a FIELD REPRESENTATIVE who also petitions to be far more valuable and desirable than somebody who just petitions.

    Once again, my main interest is in pro-liberty FIELD REPRESTATIVES who also petition, NOT petitioners in general.

    What I’d really like to do, is to build up an army of pro-liberty FIELD REPRESENTATIVES who also gather signatures on petitions and register people to vote, and to keep them busy all year getting Libertarian Party candidates on the ballot, registering people to vote under the Libertarian Party banner, gathering contacts (of people who are interested in the Libertarian message), building up college campus libertarian clubs, handing out jury nullification information, doing door-to-door canvasing, or working on pro-liberty ballot initiatives (and I’d prefer more hardcore libertarian initiatives over ones that are too watered down). This is something that would be highly beneficial to the Libertarian Party and movement in this country.

    There was just a big petition drive in Nevada for a Marijuana Legalization initiative as I mentioned above. This would have been an excellent opportunity for the Libertarian Party of Nevada to disseminate information to the public, sign up new Libertarians, register more people to vote under the Libertarian Party label, expand college campus libertarian clubs, and to door-to-door for Libertarian Party candidates, but instead, the petition drive was run by mercenaries and Democrats who don’t give a rat’s ass about freedom, and the LP of Nevada did little or nothing, Almost all of the petitioners carried a gun control petition along with the marijuana petition, so any pro-freedom message that may have gotten out with the marijuana petition was countered by an anti-freedom message with the gun control petition.

  54. Rob Banks

    Andy, who want to do you think wants to read book-length IPR comments? Answer in 50 words or less if you want anyone to read your comment. 50 words is probably even too much.

  55. Andy

    Also, even if the Libertarian Party did not have to collect any petition signatures to get candidates on the ballot, there would still be good reasons to send people out to gather petition signatures and to register people to vote. There are plebiscite petitions which are not legally binding (as in they do not place anything on the ballot), but they are done to draw attention to a cause, and to hopefully sway the politicians who are in office to take certain actions. Even if the politicians in office ignore these petitions, there is still value in doing them because they can draw attention to a cause, be it stopping NSA spying, to stopping the a war, to stopping the CIA from torturing people, to stop locking people up for victimless crimes, etc…. Petitions are a great way to get people to stop and to talk about a political issue. There is also great value in Libertarians filing initiative, referendum, and recall petitions in the states that have them. These petitions are legally binding, and if they pass they can move society in a more libertarian direction, and if a Libertarian is the one who files the petition, they can bring publicity to the party.

    The Libertarian Party should most definitely have people interacting with the public, in the form of gathering petition signatures, registering people to vote, gathering contact information from people who are interested in the party, building college campus clubs, doing door-to-door canvasing and Get Out The Vote drives, gathering signatures on pro-liberty ballot initiatives, referendums, and recalls, disseminating jury nullification information, etc…., even if the party magically did not have to gather petition signatures to place candidates on the ballot anymore.

  56. Andy

    “illustrates who the Libertarian Party is not more successful”

    Should read, “illustrates why the Libertarian Party is not more successful…”

  57. Andy

    “I have heard suggestions made, seriously, that LPHQ and state exec director jobs don’t really have to go to libertarians, just to whoever is competent at doing them. I’ve heard the suggestion seriously made – not as a rhetorical point – that LNC members are just board members, and we should select whoever has experience and competence at serving on corporate or other boards regardless of their ideology (no, I am not kidding – more than one active LP member told me this).”

    Any Libertarian Party member who says these things should be removed from holding any office in the party (if they hold one), and should be prohibited from ever being nominated to run for political office.

    Whoever says things like this is either politically stupid, or a government plant. Either way, they should be barred from holding internal party office, and never be nominated to run for political office.

  58. Martin Passoli

    You make some good points, but you hurt your presentation with overly long comments, condescending statements about other people here (e.g. “Wow, I am astounded at the lack of understanding of political strategy, and the ballot access process, that some people have in the Libertarian Party”), and allegations that people are likely to be government plants without any solid evidence. This undercuts your message and your good points get lost in the process. You should learn to explain yourself better here. Apply the skills you have presumably learned in speaking to the general public to speaking with other libertarians and you will do a lot better.

  59. Andy

    Paul said: “I don’t think Andy has done voter registration drives for other parties besides the LP (and a one-day job we did for the BTP…one hour, more like it),”

    Paul and I gathered some voter registrations for the Boston Tea Party in Florida. They needed a small number of them to be able to have ballot access in Florida. The Boston Tea Party was a small “l” libertarian party.

    “but I have, and I was good at it. But this was back when I was working on ballot measures I didn’t agree with also. I’m not sure how I would feel about working registration drives for other alt parties now, but I know I don’t want to do them for Ds and Rs anymore.”

    I have gotten paid on Republican voter registrations in California, but I never really pushed it. I have only done it in conjunction with petitions, and it obviously works best if you are doing it with petitions that appeal to Republicans and conservatives. You can registered people to vote in California and have them sign petitions to places issues or candidates on the ballot the same day. So if I am working on petitions, and somebody stops and wants to register to vote, and they happen to check the Republican box without me encouraging them to do it, I am happy to turn that voter registration in and get paid for it. Sometimes the Republicans will target a certain area and they will pay more in that area. Like I remember back in 2003, the Republicans were paying $5-$6 for registrations around San Fernando Valley and Simi Valley, but they were paying $9 for registrations an area known as the South Bay, which is the Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach, Redondo Beach area. So I drove there several times just so I could get paid the $9 per card if anyone checked the Republican box. I was working on a couple of referendum petitions that appealed to Republicans, and I had heard that the were a lot of Republicans in that area. I remember one day I made around $135 without even trying off of Republican registrations in that area, plus I had two statewide referendum petitions, one was l$2.50 a signature and the other one was $1 a signature. The last time I got paid on Republican registrations in California was in San Diego County in 2010. It was $10 a card for any Republican registration in San Diego County. Note that the prices I am quoting here are all through mercenary petition coordinators, as in I never had a direct deal with the Republican Party, so the mercenary coordinators that I got paid through were taking a cut of the money, which means that the Republicans paid out more money for the registrations that I turned in than what I got paid.

    I got paid on Republican registrations on several California petition drives, but I could never stomach pushing it, so I never worked it on its own. The way I looked at it was that if I am gathering signatures on petitions and registering people to vote (so those who were not registered could sign the petitions), a certain percentage of the people are going to register Republican anyway, without me saying anything to prompt them to do it, so if the Republicans were paying, why not turn them in for money? I looked at it as the Republicans were paying for my gas and some of my food money every week. If the Democrats had been paying for voter registrations, I’d have approached it the same way, but the Democrats rarely pay for voter registrations in California, and when Democrats do pay for voter registrations, they typically farm the work out to some group like ACORN or FIeldworks that pays people an hourly rate and basically screws them over.

    A lot of petitioners in California have gotten paid on Republican voter registrations, but only a small handful of them really go out and push it. Some of the ones who do push it are real scumbags that the Libertarian Party would do best to avoid. The same goes with some of the trash that get hired by Democrats, or their front groups like ACORN or Fieldworks or etc…

  60. paulie

    By working voter registration drives, I specifically meant pushing a party, not just happening to get paid on people that check that box in conjunction with registering to vote to be eligible to sign petitions without getting pushed to check a particular party box.

  61. Andy

    “Martin Passoli

    January 5, 2015 at 8:30 am

    You make some good points, but you hurt your presentation with overly long comments, condescending statements about other people here (e.g. “Wow, I am astounded at the lack of understanding of political strategy, and the ballot access process, that some people have in the Libertarian Party”), and allegations that people are likely to be government plants without any solid evidence.”

    I have been at this for a long time, and I have posted most of these points in the comments on other threads on multiple occasions on this site. Sorry if I get frustrated from having to repeat points which I think ought to be self evident over and over again, and sorry if I am long winded, but I have a lot to say.

    Perhaps you would share my frustration if you knew what it was like to witness the Libertarian Party screwing up over and over again, or to turn down getting paid for working anti-liberty issues, like that Gun Control initiative in Nevada, only to have some fellow Libertarian call up some non-libertarian mercenary jackass who does an inferior job and who would happily work against liberty if somebody paid them, the next time the Libertarian Party needs ballot access work.

    There are four or five experienced Libertarian ballot access warriors who are out of work right now (I just became out of work a few days ago), and are capable of doing a better job than anyone else who is active in ballot access work in the country right now on Libertarian Party voter registrations in Maine, but instead of calling any of us, they call a mercenary petition coordinator who had never done anything for the Libertarian Party, and who has acted as a coordinator for some anti-liberty ballot initiatives (such as an anti-gay marriage petition), and who will simply farm the voter registrations out to every non-libertarian mercenary and jabronie that they can find, and will pocket a bunch of Libertarian Party donor’s money in the process.

    Libertarian petitioners like myself, Paul, Jake, Bob, and the few others are like the Rodney Dangerfield’s of the Libertarian Party and movement. “No respect, no respect I tell ya.”

  62. Andy

    “paulie

    January 5, 2015 at 9:11 am

    By working voter registration drives, I specifically meant pushing a party, not just happening to get paid on people that check that box in conjunction with registering to vote to be eligible to sign petitions without getting pushed to check a particular party box.”

    I got paid so I am including this as having worked on those voter registration drives. You can add an asterisk to it if you want, but I consider myself to have worked on those drives.

  63. Seymour Results

    Here’s a short comment for you, Martin: The Libertarian Party doesn’t value its workers, and doesn’t do anything that could possibly lead to elected libertarians. Andy is right, but the people on IPR are too strategically dumb to take his localized feedback seriously. This has led to the total failure of the LP for over 40 years, since Andy’s not the only street-level activist who’s been fired, conspired against, ignored and marginalized. This means that the LP is too dumb to live, and that it basically serves the enemy it claims to fight against.

    Here’s an even shorter comment for you, Martin: The LP is too strategically and tactically stupid to live, has repeatedly made the same mistakes 30 years, and that’s one reason we have zero freedom.

    I’m not sure I can shorten it up much more than that. Sorry.

    PS: Yes, I think that people who stand to lose trillions of dollars would find it worth derailing the LP in a way that wasn’t immediately identifiable as obvious sabotage to Martin Passoli. I also think they’d do so in a way that made it look like simple strategic ineptitude, since, as you’ve demonstrated, there’s more than enough of that to go around in the LP.

    I’d hate to tax your concentration powers by adding supporting details to this message, so I’ll call if off for now.

  64. Martin Passoli

    Thanks Seymour. That’s marginally better in the brevity department. Unfortunately, it still suffers from the other problems I mentioned, so it’s not likely to make you friends or influence people if you tell them that this is what you think of them. Do you find this kind of approach useful when you deal with the general public? If not, it probably won’t work any better when you are dealing with LP activists who read these comments, either.

  65. Andy

    “Martin Passoli

    January 5, 2015 at 12:37 pm

    Thanks Seymour. That’s marginally better in the brevity department. Unfortunately, it still suffers from the other problems I mentioned, so it’s not likely to make you friends or influence people if you tell them that this is what you think of them. Do you find this kind of approach useful when you deal with the general public? If not, it probably won’t work any better when you are dealing with LP activists who read these comments, either.”

    This guy may sound angry and condescending, but I see it as another Libertarian who has been “in the trenches” for years and watched the party make strategic blunder after strategic blunder, some of the same ones over and over again, sometimes made by the same people, with the end result being that the Libertarian Party does not become more successful, and this person is now feeling extremely frustrated. Years of failure leads to a high level of frustration, particularly when some of the failures were avoidable.

  66. Andy

    Nobody has answered the question as to why a non-Libertarian mercenary petition coordinator (who is just going to sit back and hire a bunch of non-Libertarian mercenary jabronies and pocket overrides off of them) is even being talked to about this Libertarian Party voter registration drive in Maine, when there are currently 6 or 7 actual Libertarians who are experienced in ballot access drives all over this country who are currently out of work, and are actively seeking ballot access work?

    5,000 voter registrations is not that big of a job. I could do the entire thing by myself in several months. Give me two or 3 good Libertarians and we could knock it out quicker.

    So Libertarian voter registration work is available in Maine, yet instead of calling any of the Libertarians who are experienced in this type of work, somebody in the Libertarian Party calls a non-Libertarian mercenary who will turn this into an ACORN style petition drive, complete with a bunch of economic illiterates who have a hard time spelling the word Libertarian, much less knowing anything about the party, running around in Maine, with a non-libertarian mercenary collecting a bunch of money (for not doing anything, other than doing an inferior job compared to what real Libertarians could do) in the process.

    If non-libertarians are to work on a Libertarian Party ballot access drive, I’d rather see non-libertarian mercenaries work on Libertarian Party petitions than on Libertarian Party voter registrations. Why? Because voter registrations require more care than petitions, as in they are more difficult to get, and it is more important that the people registering have at least a basic idea of what the party is about since they will be on the voter rolls as registered Libertarians, as opposed to them just signing a ballot access petition.

    I would NEVER call a non-libertarian to do a Libertarian job, at least not before I already tried to fill the positions with actual Libertarians first. If I could not find enough Libertarians to get a job finished, only then would I resort to calling non-libertarians, but there is NO WAY IN HELL my first call would be any non-libertarians.

    It is my educated opinion that the Libertarian Party and movement in this country is large enough to where the majority of LP ballot access work in this country could be done by actual Libertarians.

  67. Andy

    Here is a review of my work doing Libertarian Party voter registrations in Arizona a few years ago.

    “Jim March

    To
    deuchner
    CC
    dfn

    Mar 7, 2009

    Andy absolutely kicks ass at this.

    I watched him take at least 20+ of these and I can tell you this is a
    very high-grade pile – existing voters who are already politically
    aware. I would be surprised if the failure rate crosses 20% and I
    suspect it will be much less…this is a grade-A primo stack of paper.

    Let me make a suggestion here: if it’s OK with him, I’d say pay him
    up-front for at least 2/3rds of these, and then when we get the
    “success rate feedback” forms from Pima’s Recorder, we then settle up
    accounts for any more. Upshot is, he won’t have to wait until the
    Recorder finishes for most of the money, BUT he’ll still in the end
    only be paid for those that are successful.

    I gave him eight sheets worth of the “voter name turn-in sheet” forms
    I developed for the Pima recorder’s office, and am also giving him the
    .PDF of the form and a dozen more such sheets tomorrow AM. Since I’m
    CCing him here I’ll include that as an attachment. (Note that it can
    be printed in B&W and still work.)

    I’m also doing him a one-page flyer on “Election Observation and the
    Pima LP”, I’m drafting it now.

    Look, this guy is SO much better at this than me it ain’t even funny.
    By far the most effective thing I can do is just make sure Andy is
    able to operate full-tilt, helping handle logistics, housing,
    documents, etc. If he needed me to walk his dang dog I’d do that :).

    This ONE guy just working the gun shows can net us all the
    registrations we need both Pima and *statewide*. It’s like watching
    Michaelangelo paint the Sistine Chapel :). Or more seriously, the
    dude could give the “Shamwow” guy on TV a run for his money :D.

    Jim”

  68. Andy

    Here is another review of my work from the same Libertarian Party voter registration drive in Arizona from a few years ago as mentioned above.

    “deuchner

    To
    me

    CC
    1.jim.march

    Apr 23, 2009

    The Recorder’s office notified me yesterday that your latest batch of regs had been completed. 57 out of 61 were good. Of the other four, two did not provide proof of citizenship, one gave a business address & wrong tel #, and one was out of county. Still, 57 out of 61 is remarkable!

    How shall I get a check to you for $342.00, are you in town now or shall I mail it? Also, will you be at the gun show the weekend of May 2-3?

    Thanks again

    Dave”

  69. paulie

    Nobody has answered the question as to why…

    Andy, it’s an old thread. A lot of people are probably not even reading it anymore.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *