According to current polling data, over 60% of Americans want more than just two choices on the election ballot. However, Michigan has one of the toughest ballot access laws in the country. This keeps third parties from competing on a level playing field.
According to Michigan law each political party must achieve an arbitrary number of votes by their 'Top off Ticket' candidate. Due to the heavily contested Presidential election last year the Libertarian Candidate, Harry Browne, was unable to get enough votes despite every other statewide candidates achieving the number of votes required.
This has cost the Libertarian Party of Michigan more than $30,000.00 to run a ballot access drive. Republicans and Democrats already have a significant advantage when it comes to money they are able to spend on the election process and this law makes it worse.
For example, Republicans and Democrats are raising Millions of dollars. The Libertarian Party of Michigan in a $30,000.00 hole before the election process even starts.
This not only affects every third party in the State of Michigan, it goes directly against the overwhelming desires of the citizens of Michigan. Although not a perfect solution, a step in the right direction is House Bill 5237 introduced by Leon Drolet. This Bill will allow any statewide candidate to meet the 'Top of Ticket' requirement by Michigan State Law.
For an explanation courtesy of www.michiganvotes.org. House Bill 5237 was introduced to revise the 'principle candidate' standard which determines minor party status for third parties. The 'principle candidate' would mean whichever candidate of a party receives the largest number of votes, rather than candidate who appears highest on the ballot.
What can you do? Go to http://www.michiganvotes.org/bill.asp?ID=6687 and contact your State Senator and State Representative. Let them know how you feel about having choices on the Ballot and ask them to support this bill. Your voice does make a difference.
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Well, the ballot access petition drive is officially
over and as of the October 20 deadline we have a whopping
43,702 signatures! That is better than 30% more than the
number of valid signatures needed to regain our position on
the ballot as a legally recognized political party! And
this isn’t even the final number. A couple of people sent
their final batch of signatures to my home address. So
there are still some signatures that need to be checked and
entered into the database. Plus, we left an extra week of
time before the petitions must be submitted to the state to
allow for procrastinators and an unreliable federal postal
system. We expect petitions to still make there way in next
week. And we will continue to add these to our cushion
right up until we file with the Secretary of State. Even
so, based on the number we have in hand as of this writing,
we are already confident that our place on the 2002 ballot
is pretty much assured.
F. Name L. Name Sigs. Leonard C. Schwartz 2295 Albert J Titran 1907 Ben Steele 1222 Jerry E Bloom 1010 Richard E Jozwiak 603 Greg Dirasian 548 Violet Steele 500 Trafton Jean 500 Benjamin Steele 450 Mickey Hall 398 Paul Hitch 341 Constance Catalfio 321 Charles Goodman 306 William White 296 Stephen Townsend 296 Bill Gelineau 294 James B. Parker 291 Tom Quinn 290 Fred Collins 287Please take a careful look at all of the names listed above. In fact, print them off and save them. The next time you have to decide which candidates most deserve your time and money, remember these people. The next time you have to decide who your party leadership should be at every level, remember these names. These are the people who made sure you had a party to belong to. These are the people who have earned your support.
Following is the current status of each affiliate in terms of meeting its “fair share” goals. Each affiliate’s fair share was determined by multiplying the number of members in the affiliate by 27. That is the number each would need to collect for the LPM’s (original) 50,000 signature target to meet the state’s requirement. The first list is the signatures only. The second list includes both signatures and monetary contributions.
Affiliate Sigs. Collected Goal % Of Goal Allegan 98 560 17.5 Berrien 250 560 44.6 Branch-Hillsdale 343 351 97.7 Clare-Gladwin 269 320 84.1 Ionia 27 240 11.3 Kalamazoo 510 1013 50.3 Lapeer-Genesee 825 1413 58.4 Livingston 308 1732 17.8 Macomb 2655 5784 46.0 Mid-Michigan 793 2852 27.8 Midwest Michigan 308 560 55.0 Oakland 6663 10688 62.3 Ottawa 138 800 17.3 South Central Michigan 45 1652 2.7 Shiawassee 2822 293 963.1 Saint Clair 13 693 1.9 Traverse Bay 24 773 3.1 Tri-Cities 1178 1173 100.4 Upper Peninsula 73 1119 6.5 Van Buren 384 426 90.1 Washtenaw 1425 2799 50.9 Wayne 1776 8422 14.0 West Michigan 867 2799 31.0 Affiliate $$ + Sigs. Goal % 0f Goal Allegan 198 560 35.4 Berrien 458 560 81.8 Branch-Hillsdale 569 351 162.1 Clare-Gladwin 269 320 84.1 Ionia 27 240 11.3 Kalamazoo 583 1013 57.6 Lapeer-Genesee 1590 1413 112.5 Livingston 1210 1732 69.9 Macomb 4686 5784 81.0 Mid-Michigan 1263 2852 44.3 Midwest Michigan 452 560 80.7 Oakland 14130 10688 132.2 Ottawa 141 800 17.6 South Central Michigan 80 1652 4.8 Shiawassee 2872 293 980.2 Saint Clair 43 693 6.2 Traverse Bay 87 773 11.3 Tri-Cities 1706 1173 145.4 Upper Peninsula 433 1119 38.7 Van Buren 482 426 113.1 Washtenaw 2845 2799 101.6 Wayne 3863 8422 45.9 West Michigan 2426 2799 86.7Congratulations to the Branch – Hillsdale, Van Buren and Washtenaw affiliates for surpassing 100% of your share of the petition drive. The party thanks you as well.
What a way to finish!
You undoubtedly recall that we ran into a major problem just as our drive was coming into the home stretch. As we all know, some vengeance-seeking suicide bombers destroyed the World Trade Center on September 11. One of the many consequences of that catastrophe is that fundraising by the national LP collapsed along with the twin towers. That in turn meant that financial support from national for the paid portion of our effort was not forthcoming.
But, just when things were looking bleakest, good things started happening. Like Paul Revere raising the alarm, Bill Shotey went to our major contributors, explained our plight, and was able to raise several thousand dollars to meet the emergency and keep our paid petitioners working. That kept us going for another couple of weeks.
Plus, Greg Dirasian suggested that our HQ landlords (the law firm of Paul Clark and Paul Schoenberg) had a sufficient interest in the continuing existence of the LPM that they might be persuaded to pitch in. Bill stayed on the Pauls until they agreed to contribute one month’s rent (in two half-month installments during November and December) to the BARC effort!
Then national’s fundraising made enough of a recovery that they were able to come through with an additional $5,000.
Now for the best news.
As noted at convention, the ballot access drive was funded through our campaign account rather than our general fund. This means that any money left over at the end of the petition drive will automatically be earmarked exclusively and entirely for future campaign support. It was with this outcome in mind that we continually urged our members to give us their best possible volunteer effort. Now that our major contributors, the national LP, and our landlords have all come through with substantial donations, we can be certain that the drive will finish “in the black.” And that means we will have a significant residual fund to use in ways that will more effectively promote libertarian ideas to the voters than paying petitioners to gather signatures.
And I can’t think of a better postscript to a successful petition drive!
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