France: Civic Tech Platform La Primaire Wants To Help French Voters Bypass Traditional Parties | Forbes

French people, like the citizens of many other countries, have little confidence in their government or in their members of parliament. A recent study by the Center for Political Research of the University of Science-Po (CEVIPOF) in Paris, shows that while residents still trust, in part, their local officials, only 37% of them on average feel the same for those belonging to the National Assembly, the Senate or the executive. Three years before, when asked in another poll about of what sprung to mind first when thinking of politics, their first answer was “disgust”. With this sort of background, it is perhaps unsurprising that a number of activists have decided to try and find new ways to boost political participation, using crowdsourcing, smartphone applications and online platforms to look for candidates outside of the usual circles.

National: RNC asks candidates to sign loyalty pledge, boxing in Trump | The Washington Post

The Republican National Committee, in a move designed to box in Donald Trump and prevent him from a third-party run, on Wednesday asked the party’s presidential candidates to sign a loyalty statement vowing not to run as an independent or third-party candidate in the general election. Trump and RNC Chairman Reince Priebus plan to meet Thursday in New York, according to a Trump campaign spokeswoman. Trump has scheduled a 2 p.m. news conference where he could make an announcement about the RNC pledge. All summer, Republican leaders have been trying to prevent Trump, the billionaire businessman who has rocketed to the top of GOP polls, from running as an independent candidate if he does not win the Republican nomination.

Canada: Why B.C. candidate’s campaign video is bursting with dragons, robots, lasers: ‘People don’t have attention spans’ | National Post

It’s easily the 2015 campaign’s most computer graphics-filled video: Dragons, a giant Canada goose and a towering space robot. And according to independent candidate Wyatt Scott, it all started with a solemn vow to defy the alleged “shenanigans” of the local Liberal Party. “Obviously, people don’t have attention spans nowadays, so we figured what can we do to draw attention?” said Scott, who put together the video for less than $1,000 after recruiting student filmmakers through Craigslist. The one-minute video entitled “I’m running for Parliament!” features the B.C. candidate riding a Canada goose and stabbing a dragon in the head with a broadsword. “University is too damn expensive!” he says, while catching a man in drag falling from the sky.

Pennsylvania: Minor parties get court win in Pa. ballot-access lawsuit | Associated Press

A federal judge threw out provisions in Pennsylvania law on Friday that he said make it unconstitutionally difficult for independent or minor political party candidates to get onto ballots because of the threat of costly court challenges. The decision was cheered by ballot-access advocates who regard Pennsylvania as harboring the nation’s toughest barriers to candidates who are not Republicans or Democrats. The ruling by U.S. District Judge Lawrence Stengel in Philadelphia targets the financial penalties that judges can impose on candidates who lose a court challenge to the validity of the signatures of registered voters on their nomination petitions.

Mexico: Independent Wins Mexican Governorship | Wall Street Journal

A maverick former mayor became Mexico’s first independent candidate to win a governor’s seat, riding a wave of voter anger against the country’s traditional political parties. The news from Sunday’s midterm elections wasn’t all bad for President Enrique Peña Nieto, however: His ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, and its allies appeared likely to keep a slim majority in the lower house of Congress, according to early official results. The runaway victory of Jaime “El Bronco” Rodriguez in Nuevo León state, an industrial powerhouse and home to some of Mexico’s biggest corporations, could spark a wave of independent candidacies nationwide for the 2018 presidential vote, a development analysts said might threaten traditional political parties’ grip on power.

Mexico: Will ‘El Bronco’ factor drive weary voters to the polls? | Christian Science Monitor

Independents are eligible to run in all states for the first time in June 7 elections. In the border state of Nuevo León, a candidate known as ‘El Bronco’ is energizing voters fed up with scandal-ridden parties. Standing next to a sign that counts down to June 7, Mexico’s election day, campaign worker Pablo Livas says he has been “wishing for another option” in politics for more than a decade. “We haven’t had the government we deserve,” he says. But today, a quick glance at Mr. Livas’s baseball cap reveals his new sense of hope. It reads simply: “I am El Bronco.” Mr. Livas is one of dozens of volunteers bustling around a former car dealership off a tree-lined square in Monterrey this week, intent on hawking Mexico’s newest model in political candidates: the independent.

Voting Blogs: All in the Family: New Jersey Closed Primaries Challenged | State of Elections

This past August the United States District Court in New Jersey dismissed a complaint brought by voters and independent interest groups to open state primaries and prevent the state from funding closed primaries. The coalition, formed by, is appealing to the Third Circuit to end state funded primaries for the two major parties. Their complaint alleges that the New Jersey statute impermissibly funds closed primaries to the detriment of unaffiliated candidates and voters generally. is a coalition of various groups that believe the two party system has been unfairly supported by the states and that the taxpayer funds supporting the parties creates an unfair advantage to the detriment of independent candidates. This is their first lawsuit as a coalition and it seems that they may have hit a major roadblock.

Sudan: Electoral body rejects complaints over NCP’s use of state resources for presidential campaign | Sudan Tribune

The National Election Commission (NEC) in Sudan has brushed aside complaints by independent presidential candidates on the use of aircraft and cars by senior officials from the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) in the electoral campaign of president Omer Hassan al-Bashir. The electoral body explained to representatives of those disgruntled candidates that these activities are in line with NCP resources at their disposal and vehemently denied being biased in favor of certain candidates.

Kansas: Kobach pushing bills to limit ballot withdrawals and to allow straight-party voting | Lawrence Journal-World

Candidates would have a much harder time withdrawing from a race after a primary election, but voters would have an easier time casting straight-party ballots under bills that Secretary of State Kris Kobach is urging lawmakers to pass. Kobach appeared before the House Ethics and Elections Committee Wednesday to testify in favor of two bills, including one that he said is a direct response to last year’s controversy over Democrat Chad Taylor’s withdrawal from the U.S. Senate race. “This bill is a direct response to two, what I believe to be erroneous, decisions by Kansas courts interpreting Kansas election law,” Kobach said. Taylor, the Shawnee County district attorney, dropped out of the U.S. Senate race on Sept. 3, a month after winning the Democratic primary. That cleared the way for independent candidate Greg Orman to be the sole challenger to incumbent Sen. Pat Roberts, a Republican.

South Dakota: Amendment Would Make Ballot Access More Difficult for Independent Candidates | Ballot Access News

On January 28, the South Dakota Senate State Affairs Committee amended SB 69 to make ballot access more difficult for independent candidates. Furthermore, the committee defeated an amendment that would have eased the deadline for a newly-qualifying party to submit its petitions, and approved the original part of the bill that moves the new party deadline from March to February. The votes on these amendments were all party-line, with all Republicans voting in favor of making ballot access more restrictive, and all Democrats voting in favor of easing ballot access. As amended, SB 69 says that no one can sign an independent candidate’s petition except voters who are registered “independent.” The bill also lowers the number of signatures needed for an independent, from 1% of the last gubernatorial vote, to 1% of the number of registered independents. The number of signatures for a statewide independent for 2016 would fall from 2,775 to 862. However, the net effect of the change would be to make ballot access worse for independents. Only 16% of South Dakota voters are registered “independent.” Going out on the street with a petition in which only 16% of the registered voters are eligible to sign would be difficult: effective petitioning depends on speed, and having to ask every person encountered if he or she is a registered independent would be perceived as nosy, and would be time-consuming. Also, not everyone knows whether or not he or she is registered “independent”. It’s especially likely that even well-informed voters wouldn’t know if they are “Nonpartisan” or “independent.”

Solomon Islands: Independents win two-thirds of parliamentary seats | ABC

Officials from the Solomon Islands Electoral Commission have declared the final results of last week’s landmark polls. The November 19 election was the country’s first since an Australian-led peacekeeping operation transitioned to a police-focused mission last year. Philothea Ruaeho, a spokeswoman for the electoral commission, said the final results for all the constituencies had been declared by the governor-general. Independent candidates were the biggest winners, securing 32 seats in the 50-seat parliament. With no dominant political party emerging, the members were expected to travel to the capital, Honiara, to begin negotiations on a coalition government. The newly-elected MPs will also choose the country’s next prime minister.

National: Election Day chaos: Control of the Senate may hang on recounts, runoffs, and independent candidates. | Slate

Election Day is coming and it’s likely to stick around. The question of which party will control the Senate may very well not be decided on Nov. 4. Republicans look like they will have a good night, but there are so many close races—at least 10—and so many unpredictable factors in at least four of those races, that with recounts, independent candidates, and runoffs, the process could drag into next year. Here, in rough order of delay, are the possible outcomes and how long they could keep us all bollixed up.  Let’s say the GOP wins five of the six seats it needs to regain control of the Senate and then one of the independent candidates in South Dakota or Kansas wins. Whether Democrats or Republicans control the upper chamber would then be determined by which party that independent decided to pick. Greg Orman of Kansas has said he would caucus with the clear majority, but in this case there wouldn’t be one. Given that he ran as a Democrat and Republicans are pounding him pretty hard in his race, he’d probably stick with the Democrats. South Dakota independent Larry Pressler has said he will be “a friend of Obama,” which suggests he’d probably stick with the Democrats too, though he’s the bigger long shot to win at the moment. Still, the leaders of both parties should probably have emergency gift baskets at the ready. The president would no doubt be called in to lobby, or perhaps Democrats would have one of their Hollywood backers make the pitch. On the Republican side, the Koch Center for Cowboy Poetry seems like a natural to round out South Dakota’s tourist offerings. Senate leaders Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell might put together a short list of choice committee assignments to offer.

Alaska: State, plaintiffs prepare ballot-lawsuit arguments | Associated Press

The Alaska gubernatorial election could be derailed and thousands of voters disenfranchised if a lawsuit challenging the merged campaigns of two candidates is successful, state lawyers argue in court documents ahead of oral arguments Friday. “This court should not lightly order a remedy that will interfere with an ongoing election and disenfranchise Alaska’s voters,” Assistant Attorney General Margaret Paton-Walsh, representing the defendants, wrote in documents filed in the lawsuit against Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell and elections director Gail Fenumiai. The filing says more than 2,400 overseas ballots have already been mailed out. The lawsuit filed last week by an Alaska Republican Party district chair, Steve Strait, challenges an emergency ruling that allowed Democratic gubernatorial nominee Byron Mallott to join his campaign with now-independent candidate Bill Walker and run as Walker’s lieutenant governor.

Tennessee: Third parties still fighting for ballot access | Associated Press

Four years after the Libertarian Party of Tennessee filed its first lawsuit to get on the ballot, the group is still fighting for access in a state that has some of the most restrictive rules in the country for smaller political parties. Since 2010, the Libertarians, the Green Party of Tennessee and the Constitution Party of Tennessee have been in near-constant litigation with the state. They have won several victories, and the legislature has changed the law slightly. But the parties say the hurdles for them to get their names on the ballot are still unreasonably high. A 2010 federal court ruling in one of the cases stated that Tennessee was one of only two states where no third parties had qualified for the ballot over the previous decade. Individual candidates can appear on Tennessee’s ballot simply by submitting a petition with 25 signatures, but they will appear as independents unless their parties have qualified to appear on the ballot as well. For a party to appear on the ballot, it must collect more than 40,000 signatures. If the party wants to stay on the ballot, one of its candidates must garner more than 80,000 votes.

Alaska: Democrat and independent challengers to Gov. Sean Parnell negotiate merging campaigns | Associated Press

The two challengers to Gov. Sean Parnell are discussing uniting their campaigns, representatives of the candidates said Monday. Democrat Byron Mallott and independent candidate Bill Walker were in their second day of discussions Monday about whether they would run as a bipartisan or non-partisan ticket, Mallott spokeswoman Laury Scandling said in an email to The Associated Press. A formal statement was expected by noon Tuesday, said Scandling, who added that she plans to leave the campaign at the same time. Any changes to the ballot have to be made by Tuesday.

Maine: Federal judge hears arguments on Maine campaign finance donation limits for independents | Sun Journal

A federal judge Tuesday heard arguments from the state and from an attorney representing supporters of independent candidate for governor Eliot Cutler over a complaint Maine’s campaign finance laws are unconstitutional in the way they limit the amount of money supporters of independent candidates can donate to campaigns. Cutler is in a race against Republican Gov. Paul LePage and 2nd District Congressman Mike Michaud, D-Maine. In Maine, Republican and Democratic candidates for governor are allowed to collect $1,500 from individuals for their primary contests and $1,500 for their general election contests for a total individual donation limit of $3,000.

South Dakota: Independent Myers sues Gant to replace running mate | Argus Leader

Independent gubernatorial candidate Mike Myers on Monday sued Secretary of State Jason Gant for not letting him replace his running mate on the November ballot. Myers’ lawsuit asks Judge Lawrence Piersol to order Gant to certify Lora Hubbel as his new lieutenant governor pick. Myers originally ran with Caitlin Collier as his lieutenant governor. But when Collier faced family health issues, she attempted to withdraw, leading Myers to pick Hubbel as his new running mate. But while South Dakota law has provisions for nominees of political parties to be replaced on the ballot, there’s no such provision for independent candidates. As near as anyone can tell, no independent lieutenant governor candidate has ever tried to withdraw from the ballot in South Dakota history.

New Mexico: Independent challenges ballot access rules | Associated Press

A Public Education Commission member is asking a federal court to invalidate New Mexico’s requirements for independent candidates to secure a place on the ballot. Tyson Parker of Corrales brought a lawsuit in federal district court last week, contending state election laws discriminate against candidates unaffiliated with a political party by requiring them to submit an unfairly high number of voter signatures on nominating petitions. To get on the ballot, Parker needed nearly eight times more signatures than a Democratic candidate, almost five times more than a Republican and three times more than a minor party candidate.

South Dakota: A new lieutenant for Myers, but law doesn’t allow switch | Argus Leader

On Tuesday, independent gubernatorial candidate Mike Myers will announce a new running mate after his previous pick for lieutenant governor backed out due to a family health problem. Whoever Myers unveils next week, however, it will be Caitlin Collier’s name who appears on the ballot in November. In a possible oversight, South Dakota law doesn’t provide for an independent candidate to replace his or her running mate. “Her name cannot be removed from the ballot,” said Secretary of State Jason Gant. “There is not a law that states how an independent candidate can be replaced.” Lieutenant governor candidates nominated by a political party might be able to be replaced, though Gant said needed to review the law before speaking definitively.

Editorials: Alabama ballot barriers too tough | Montgomery Advertiser

Most Alabama voters won’t see anything other than Republicans and Democrats on their ballots in the November general election. That’s because it’s hard — unjustly hard — for anyone else to get on the ballot in our state, thanks to the restrictive ballot access law the Legislature has refused to change. Lawmakers have had many opportunities to amend the law to something more reasonable that still protects the integrity of the ballot, but a bill to do that failed in this year’s session, just as similar measures have languished in past sessions. Independent candidates face serious barriers to the ballot here. Under current law, an independent candidate trying to run for a statewide office must collect signatures of registered voters — lots of them. The candidate must present to the secretary of state petitions bearing such signatures totaling at least 3 percent of the number of votes cast for governor in the previous general election.

District of Columbia: Minority parties see power grab for D.C. vote | Washington Times

The District’s Republican Party says it will sue any sitting Democrat on the D.C. Council who opts to run as an independent for one of two at-large seats reserved for minority political parties, promising the latest spirited defense of the set-aside positions that have long been a source of discord among city politicians. “The law was set up for third-party candidates, for nonmajority candidates. It wasn’t set up so Democrats could play games with their identification,” said D.C. GOP Chairman Ron Phillips, pointing to the Republican and Statehood Party candidates who have held the seats in the past. The threat was made after two Democrats — council members Tommy Wells and Yvette M. Alexander — last week openly discussed switching to independent status to pursue the at-large seat being vacated by Republican turned independent David A. Catania in his bid for mayor. Another five independent candidates, all of whom were previously registered as Democrats, also have expressed interest in the seat.

North Dakota: State misses hearing in governor’s race lawsuit | Bismarck Tribune

Former North Dakota gubernatorial candidates went unrepresented in a court hearing Monday when Solicitor General Douglas Bahr failed to show up. Due to confusion over start times, Bahr missed a hearing in Morton County on a lawsuit filed by Paul Sorum over the result of 2012’s race for governor. Sorum, an independent candidate in the 2012 race, filed a lawsuit after his loss. Citing an error in paperwork, he requested the more than 300,000 votes for the Republican and Democrat candidates be thrown out and he be named governor. Gov. Jack Dalrymple was declared the winner with 64 percent of the vote. Democratic candidate Ryan Taylor received 35 percent. Sorum received 1.69 percent.

Pennsylvania: Straight party independent vote questioned | Citizens’ Voice

A few onlookers attending the unofficial vote count late Tuesday in Luzerne County questioned whether voters should have had an option to vote straight party for independent candidates. The straight-party option may have helped independent candidate Rick Williams retain a seat on county council. Williams is 79 votes ahead of Republican Sue Rossi for the fifth and final winning slot in the council election, according to the latest unofficial tally on the county website. The unofficial count had 3,861 straight-party ballots for Republicans, 5,956 for Democrats, 758 for independents and eight for non-partisan. Williams is ahead of Rossi 17,226 to 17,147, and the official count is scheduled to start Friday. County Councilman Stephen J. Urban, a Republican, claimed the straight-party option should only be offered to official parties. Bob Caruso, a Democratic committeeman from Wilkes-Barre Township, also objected to straight-party voting for independents.

New Jersey: Judge dismisses independent candidate’s ballot complaint | press of Atlantic City

A complaint filed by independent 2nd District Assembly candidate Gary Stein challenging the party placements and layout of ballots was dismissed Friday by a Superior Court judge. Stein had claimed that the straight-line party columns were unfair to independent and third-party candidates and pointed to Salem County’s ballot, in which candidates are all listed separately under each office, as a fairer system. Stein also claimed that both the Republican and Democratic parties did not meet the requirement needed to get a column on the ballot, each having not received 10 percent of the vote total of the previous state general election during the primary election.

Editorials: A vote for fairness in Pennsylvania elections | Lancaster Intelligencer Journal

State Sen. Mike Folmer carries a dog-eared copy of the Pennsylvania Constitution in his breastpocket. When it comes to elections, he opens the booklet to Article 1, Section 5 where it states, “Elections shall be free and equal, and no power, civil or military, shall at any time interfere to prevent the free exercise thereof.” And then he asks how free and equal elections are in the commonwealth when Republican and Democratic candidates for Congress and row offices need 1,000 signatures to gain access to the ballot while independents or members of a third party are required to obtain upwards of 60,000 signatures. In his view, that makes Pennsylvania’s ballot process unconstitutional. Whether the rules in place are constitutional or not is for the courts to decide. But we agree with him on one count: It’s clearly unfair.

Ohio: Court Expands Ballot Access Rights for Independent Candidates in Judicial Elections | Ballot Access News

On September 9, the Ohio Supreme Court unanimously expanded the ability of independent candidates to run for judicial office, including not only judgeship elections, but elections for Clerk of a Court. The decision is State ex rel Coughlin v Summit County Board of Elections, 2013-3867. Ohio and Michigan have peculiar elections for judicial office. Candidates are either nominated in partisan primaries or in party conventions, or they can petition directly onto the general election ballot if they do not wish to be entangled with political parties. But, oddly, no party names ever appear on the ballot for these elections. Ambiguity in the English language makes it unclear whether to refer to such elections as “partisan” or “non-partisan.”

Pennsylvania: Greens, independents, plan new push for Pennsylvania ballot access | Philadelphia Weekly

Another legislative season will soon begin in Pennsylvania, and the state Green Party is still attempting to pressure a vote on a bill that would allow third-party candidates for state office easier access to the ballot. Their latest tactic: an online petition to pressure Harrisburg into a vote. Then, say supporters, there’s more to come. The petition asks supporters to sign in support of Senate Bill 195, introduced by Senator Mike Folmer (R-Berks) as mirror legislation to SB 21, which he introduced last session. Folmer’s bill would lower the standard as to what constitutes a third party and therefore does not require independent candidates to jump through hoops to get on the ballot, as is currently the case. The petition “demands” the bill move out of committee—it’s currently sitting in the State Government Committee, chaired by Sen. Lloyd Smucker (R-Lancaster)—to a hearing and then a vote in the full Senate. As we’ve documented before, these days, that basic legislative process is a lot to ask for any bill that doesn’t have the blessing of establishment Republicans.

Voting Blogs: Ninth Circuit Upholds Denial of “Independent” Label on California Ballots, Leaves Option for Another Lawsuit Issue of Labels for Members of Unqualified Parties | Ballot Access News

On July 3, the Ninth Circuit upheld California law that requires independent candidates for Congress and partisan state office to have “No party preference” on the ballot instead of the label “independent.” However, the ruling leaves open for a future lawsuit the related issue of whether the law is unconstitutional as applied to members of unqualified parties; the law requires “no party preference” for them as well. The case is Chamness v Bowen, 11-56303. The 26-page opinion says there is no evidence that “no party preference”, instead of “independent”, injures independent candidates. The decision does not mention the point that California still permits independent presidential candidates to use the word “independent” on the ballot.

Editorials: The ‘politics of consensus’ in Nepal | openDemocracy

The phrase, ‘politics of consensus’ (PoC) may sound extremely positive. But it is rarely practiced in current competitive democratic systems throughout the world. In Nepal, it is regarded as a mantra relied upon to resolve the current political crisis. The ‘politics of consensus’ has therefore become both a panacea and a practise riven with contradictions, especially in those localities where consensus is undermined by one of the core values of democracy: ‘majority rule’. This is all the more problematic because of the constitutional vacuum, due to the dissolution of Constituent Assembly (CA) in June 2012, and subsequent problems in power sharing between the political parties. The idea of a PoC was initiated in 2006 in the Comprehensive Peace Accord (CPA) between former rebel-Unified Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (UCPN-M, hereafter Maoists)  – and the government of the Seven Party Alliance (SPA), to end a decade long civil war. The preamble of Nepal’s Interim Constitution 2007 clearly stated that PoC is one of the core values binding political parties to work together to reconstruct a new Nepal. This is an attempt to circumvent confrontation between parties when it came to re-building a new peaceful and prosperous Nepal, irrespective of divided political ideologies.

Editorials: Elections in Belarus: Five reasons to pay attention | New Eastern Europe

With parliamentary elections in Belarus due to take place in September, Belarusian journalist, Katerina Barushka, stresses the importance of the elections and the reasons why the international community shouldn’t become indifferent to them. Why should the international community be interested in Belarus and its upcoming parliamentary elections which are due to take place on September 23rd 2012? After all, Belarus is a country which hasn’t amused the international audience with too many surprises recently. There have been no scandals and the parliamentary system is not that different from the representative institutions of other Eastern European countries. There are some quirky peculiarities, however. There is not a single fracture or party majority in the Belarusian parliament, and not a single politician is opposed to the regime of Alexander Lukashenko. By and large, the Belarusian parliament hasn’t been recognised by the international community since 1996, the year in which Lukashenko reorganised the post-Soviet parliamentary structure, the Supreme Council, into its current form. Instead of holding general elections, however, he simply appointed all the representatives of the lower chamber from amongst his most loyal associates in the Supreme Council. Simplicity and straightforwardness has always been the key to effective governing in Belarus.