LP.org blog: Washington Secretary of State Ignores Precedent, Steals Major Party Status From Libertarians

LP.org blog:

SOS Kim Wyman

From a Dec 8 statement issued by the Libertarian Party of Washington:

Today the Washington Secretary of State, Kim Wyman, and Governor Jay Inslee signed off and certified the 2016 General Election. 3,209,214 valid votes were cast for president; with 160,879 being cast directly for Governor Gary Johnson, good for 5.01% of the vote. This total officially makes the Libertarian Party of Washington a “Major Party”, entitled to all the benefits this will provide.

Ignoring 24 years of precedent, the Office of the Washington Secretary of State has decided that “write-in” ballots, regardless of who they are cast for, shall count towards the total valid votes in this election. This pushes total “valid” votes cast to the 3,317,019 mark, and drives the Johnson/Weld ticket to 4.85%. Despite previously set precedent, and a nearly 100 page document detailing what constitutes a vote in Washington State( https://goo.gl/wRWKF9), the state will not evaluate write-in ballots for their validity. This means that every vote for Harambe and Mickey Mouse will count against the Libertarian Party of Washington equivalent to a vote for a registered write-in campaign, of which there were 55 this year……

This is either a major failure on the part of the Secretary of State to recognize the ramifications of a procedural change, or direct subversive action to undermine the Libertarian Party of Washington’s standing in Washington State politics. This is an action that marginalizes and disenfranchises the efforts of more than 160,000 voters in Washington State, and an action that shall be heavily scrutinized.

The perception of impropriety on the part of Kim Wyman and the Secretary of State Elections office certainly necessitates further action. The Libertarian Party of Washington is currently consulting with legal counsel, and the Libertarian National Committee, to identify the most effective strategy that aligns with our state party goals and the principled positions of the national committee.

The Libertarian Party of Washington has clearly earned standing equal to that of the “Old” parties under the law in regards to party recognition, and the benefits inherent. It is incumbent upon the Washington Secretary of State to honor our inclusion as a major party, or discontinue the benefits extended to the Democrat and Republican parties.

Richard Winger, publisher of Ballot Access News wrote in a December 20 blog at his website:

The Washington Secretary of State has denied qualified status to the Libertarian Party on the grounds that Gary Johnson did not get as much as 5% of the vote, when write-ins for president are included. However, Johnson got 5.01% of the presidential vote if write-ins are not included. The official election returns on the Secretary of State’s web page does not include any write-ins.

Federal law, Title 3, section 6, requires states to tell the national archives the number of popular votes received by each candidates for presidential elector. Here is the Washington state certificate. It does not include any write-in votes. Therefore, by the state’s apparent own admission, there were no valid write-in votes. Washington state, which has a write-in filing procedure, does not require write-in presidential candidates to submit a list of presidential elector candidates, which means that presidential write-ins in the state are not valid.

“The state has admitted that the presidential write-ins are not valid, because if they were valid, the state had a duty to list them on its certificate,” said Winger. “Other states include write-in votes for president in their certificates.”

4 thoughts on “LP.org blog: Washington Secretary of State Ignores Precedent, Steals Major Party Status From Libertarians

  1. Michael H. Wilson

    I don’t think it is appropriate to say that the Secretary of State “Steals Major Party Status From Libertarians.”
    I’ll suggest that if the LPWA had begun collecting signatures earlier then Johnson’s name would have been higher on the ballot. If his name had been higher on the ballot then maybe he would have received more votes or at least that is what some people feel. In 2012 his name was the third one on the ballot. This time he was number 7 because the petitions were turned in last. To bring some clarification to this I will check with the Sec. of State’s office in the next few days and see what I can find out. I live a couple of miles from there so visiting the office is not a big deal.

    Additionally some of us interact with the elected officials at times and it does not help our efforts if someone has referred to them in a rude manner and this seems a bit rude to me. This is not the first time and elected officials has been spoken of in this manner. Regardless it certainly doesn’t help our cause.

  2. Michael H. Wilson

    Correction, “not the first time and elected officials has been spoken of in this manner.” That should read “not the first time an elected officials has been spoken of in this manner.” Delete the word and.

  3. steve m

    I would respectfully ask that if ballots are going to be used against the Libertarian Party that the secretary of state should be able to answer the question, just who were these ballots cast for?

    If she is going to count them against the Libertarian Party she should have to verify they were not cast for the Libertarian Candidate.

  4. Tony From Long Island

    Woodrow Wilson: ” . . . . If his name had been higher on the ballot then maybe he would have received more votes or at least that is what some people feel. . . . ”

    I don’t know of anyone who votes based on how high the person is on the ballot. This is a really lame excuse. The State of Washington is doing the kind of crap REPS and DEMS have been doing to 3rd parties for years.

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