political parties

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Virginia: Appeals court dismisses case seeking party ID in local elections | Richmond Times-Dispatch

A federal appeals court has dismissed a challenge to a Virginia law prohibiting partisan labels on ballots in local elections. In an opinion published Tuesday, the Richmond-based 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the case brought by a group of Powhatan County Republicans and found the state has a legitimate interest in minimizing political partisanship in local races. “While party identifiers do not appear on the official ballot for Virginia’s local candidates, the candidates still have every other avenue by which to inform voters of this information,” Judge Paul Niemeyer wrote in the three-judge panel’s unanimous opinion affirming a lower court’s earlier ruling. “Political parties and their nominees are entirely free to publicize their association with each other.”

Full Article: Appeals court dismisses Virginia case seeking party ID in local elections | Virginia | richmond.com.

Netherlands: Dutch elections, anyone? 81 parties make it a quandary | Associated Press

Peter Plasman showed up at the Netherlands’ national electoral commission’s offices Monday to register one of the more unusual parties bidding to take part in the upcoming Dutch election — a party for people who don’t vote. Plasman was hardly an exception when it came to flouting convention. A record 81 parties have expressed interest in taking part in the March 15 parliamentary election. Monday was the day they all had to hand in their paperwork. Among the eclectic roster of potential players, there also is the Colorful Cow Party, which casts itself in part as an antidote to the fierce anti-Islam rhetoric of the Party for Freedom. Its website includes a recipe for a traditional Dutch mashed potato dish, prepared with Turkish sausages and Moroccan spices. The party wound up not filing paperwork Monday because it could not find enough funds, its founder, Daan van Reenen, said in an email.

Full Article: Dutch elections, anyone? 81 parties make it a quandary | World News | US News.

Utah: Judge strikes down Utah law requiring parties to open primaries | The Salt Lake Tribune

A federal judge ruled Tuesday that the state cannot force political parties to open their primaries to unaffiliated voters, a move that will allow the Utah Republican Party to continue to close its primaries and complicate a potential signature-gathering path to the primary ballot. U.S. District Judge David Nuffer signaled during a hearing last week that he would likely strike down the open-primary provision of SB54, as judges in other districts have repeatedly done. SB54 sought to increase voter participation in primaries by forcing the parties to allow the state’s 610,000 unaffiliated voters to cast ballots in the primary elections. But Nuffer said that encroaches on the party’s First Amendment right to association.

Utah: Judge poised to strike down part of new Utah election law | Deseret News

A federal judge appears poised to strike down part of a disputed new state election law that defines how political parties choose candidates for elected office. U.S. District Judge David Nuffer signaled Tuesday that he intends to find forcing parties to hold open primary elections is unconstitutional. He noted that every other court has found that requirement violates the First Amendment. “Honestly, that’s how I think I’m ruling,” he said after hearing arguments from the Utah Republican Party, the Utah Constitution Party and the state. Nuffer will issue a written decision in the coming days, which could potentially end the lawsuit that the Utah GOP filed against the state. The law includes a clause that says if part of it is struck down, the remainder stands.

Full Article: Judge poised to strike down part of new Utah election law | Deseret News.

Wisconsin: Assembly approves splitting GAB into elections and ethics agencies | Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

Assembly Republicans on Wednesday approved legislation to loosen campaign finance restrictions and to split the state ethics and elections agency in two, but the measures face an uncertain future in the GOP Senate. Democrats declined to vote on the campaign finance legislation, contending lawmakers were ethically prohibited from taking up a measure that would help their campaigns. Republicans dismissed the Democrats’ refusal to vote as a stunt, and the bill passed 61-0. On a nearly party-line 58-39 vote, the Assembly voted to disband the state Government Accountability Board and replace it with an elections commission and an ethics commission. The accountability board consists of six former judges, while the new commissions would each be made up equally of Democrats and Republicans selected by the state’s most powerful politicians. The bills next go to the Senate, but Republicans who control that house don’t yet have the votes to approve them, lawmakers said.

Full Article: Assembly approves splitting GAB into elections and ethics agencies.

Editorials: Supreme Court continues record of hostility to minor parties and independent candidates | Richard Winger/The Hill

Among the 50 most populous countries, the United States and Nigeria are the only nations in the world with exactly two political parties represented in the national legislative body. (For a list of the 50 most populous countries and the number of parties represented in their legislative bodies, click here.) Election laws and debate practices in the United States make it extremely difficult, almost impossible, for the voters to launch a new major party. Consequently, in election after election, there is no realistic chance for a new party to displace either the Republican or Democratic Parties. This state of affairs is partly because the U.S. Supreme Court, for the last 23 years, has fostered the status quo and upheld laws that protect the two major parties from competition. Starting in June 1992, the U.S. Supreme Court has refused to hear every case filed by minor party or independent candidates against restrictive laws that bar them from the ballot or debates or otherwise injure them, with only a single exception: a case from Georgia in which Libertarian Party candidates challenged the state law requiring all candidates for state office to be tested for illegal drugs. Setting aside that exception, there are now 54 examples when minor parties and independent candidates asked for help from the court, and were refused, during the period from 1992 to the present. (To see a list of such instances that occurred before 2012, click here.)

Full Article: Supreme Court continues record of hostility to minor parties and independent candidates | TheHill.

Editorials: Too Many Parties on the Ballot in New York | The New York Times

New York State has two big political parties — Democratic and Republican — on its ballot as well as an assortment of smaller parties. That might seem harmless, but in the strange, convoluted netherworld of New York politics, a lot of the minor parties are useless and mysterious. They clog the ballot, warp the debate and confuse the voters. What makes this system especially confounding is that a candidate’s name can appear on two or more ballot lines. Last year, New Yorkers could vote for Gov. Andrew Cuomo on the Democratic, Working Families, Independence or Women’s Equality Party. Now, New York Republicans are trying to get rid of the Women’s Equality Party, which favors Democrats.

Full Article: Too Many Parties on the Ballot in New York - The New York Times.

Russia: Liberals blast Russian election law as ‘medieval,’ suggest radical changes | RT

The leader of the Yabloko party has told reporters that Russia must abandon the current practice of political parties presenting supporters’ signatures before elections to prove their popularity, saying it was both obsolete and prone to rigging. Sergey Mitrokhin told reporters in Novosibirsk on Monday that his party supported the cancelation of pre-electoral signature collection for all political parties. He commented that this part of Russian election law is “medieval.” The press conference was held in connection with the next nationwide election on September 13. This is when 11 Russian regions will elect legislatures, 21 heads of regions will be elected by a direct vote, and four more by voting in regional parliaments. He added that Yabloko, one of the oldest parties in Russia, has always supported greater equality for all political groups.

Full Article: Liberals blast Russian election law as ‘medieval,’ suggest radical changes — RT Russian politics.

Myanmar: Election Body Rejects Muslim Parliamentary Candidates | Radio Free Asia

Myanmar’s Union Election Commission (UEC) on Tuesday rejected all but one candidate from an Islamic party based on citizenship requirements before general elections in November in a move that could lead to the party’s disbandment, the organization’s political leader said. The commission rejected the applications of 17 of 18 candidates who had filed to run for parliamentary seats as members of the Democracy and Human Rights Party (DHRP), Kyaw Min (a) Mahmood Shomshul Anwarul Haque, the party’s chairman, told RFA’s Myanmar Service. Eleven of the rejected candidates are from Rakhine state, and the six others are from the Yangon division, he said, leaving only one party candidate to stand in the elections. “The rejection notice did not mention detailed reasons behind the decision, but just said the candidates were rejected for violations based on laws and regulations,” he said.

Full Article: Myanmar Election Body Rejects Muslim Parliamentary Candidates.

Canada: Fringe parties fight to spread message, sway swing ridings | CBC

Depending on the party, they love pot, hate Stephen Harper or just want to have fun. Fringe parties are a perennial fixture in Canadian politics, and so far there are more than a dozen registered to run in this fall’s federal election. The best most can hope for is to scrape up a few thousand votes based on a niche platform or protest ballots from disenfranchised electors. So what drives them — and do they add or detract from the democratic process?  Sinclair Stevens, the 88-year-old leader of the Progressive Canadian Party, is mobilizing yet another campaign with one sole purpose: to defeat Stephen Harper. “He has an agenda that is just not Canadian,” he told CBC News.

See also: Rhinos and Pirates: A look at Canada’s federal fringe parties

Full Article: Fringe parties fight to spread message, sway swing ridings - Politics - CBC News.

Canada: More than two dozen ‘third parties’ have registered in hopes of influencing federal election | National Post

Dozens of groups with their own political agendas could, combined, spend millions in this federal election campaign trying to influence voters. These so-called “third parties” (they aren’t actually political parties) are registered to advocate and run advertising during the federal election campaign. They include public and private-sector unions; an anything-but-Conservative veterans group; animal rights supporters; the small-government National Citizens Coalition; environmental groups; the Canadian Medical Association and even one called “Voters Against Harper.” To date, more than two dozen third parties have registered with Elections Canada. Many will run ads either nationally or in specific ridings to support their agendas. Others will rely on grassroots approaches to targeting voters. Their goals include boosting funding for the CBC, improving seniors’ care, restoring door-to-door mail delivery, securing better services for veterans, electoral reform, and strategic voting, to name a few.

Full Article: More than two dozen ‘third parties’ have registered in hopes of influencing federal election | National Post.

Louisiana: Judge rejects Houma candidate’s effort to run as both Democrat and Republican | Houma Today

A Terrebonne Parish judge dismissed the case of a local candidate for state representative who sought to be listed as both a Democrat and Republican on the ballot this fall. Houma attorney Damon Baldone is seeking the House District 52 seat, which covers Bayou Cane, Gray, part of Houma and the Lafourche side of Bayou Blue.

Full Article: Judge rejects Houma candidate's effort to run as both Democrat and Republican | HoumaToday.com.

Arizona: 9th Circuit Endorses Arizona Ballot Form | Courthouse News Service

Arizona may continue to use a ballot registration form that lists only the two largest political parties in the state, the Ninth Circuit ruled Friday. The Arizona Libertarian and Green parties, and three of their members, sued then-Secretary of State Ken Bennett in 2011 after the state legislature decided that only the two largest political parties would be listed by name on voter registration forms. The plaintiffs in the lawsuit filed in Tucson Federal Court claimed the statute discriminated against Green and Libertarian voters, who now had to write out their party affiliation in a small box, forcing them to “abbreviate, and run the risk that their abbreviation is illegible or misread.”

Full Article: Courthouse News Service.

Louisiana: Baldone seeks to be a Democrat and Republican on fall ballot | Daily Comet

A Houma attorney seeking to return to the state House wants to be listed as both Democrat and Republican on the ballot this fall. Damon Baldone filed a petition today in state court seeking to force the Terrebonne Parish Registrar of Voters to allow the dual registration. “By working with both parties you have a voice,” he said. “By going independent, you just kind of lose that voice and I believe my political beliefs fall within the spectrum of both the Democrat and Republican parties. That hasn’t changed and won’t change.”

Full Article: Baldone seeks to be a Democrat and Republican on fall ballot | DailyComet.com.

India: Election Commission reports that India has 1866 registered political parties | The Financial Express

There has been a rush for registration of political parties, with as many as 239 new outfits enrolling themselves with the Election Commission between March, 2014 and July this year, taking their number to 1866. According to the Commission, as on July 24, there are 1866 political parties which are registered with it. Out of these, 56 are recognised as registered national or state parties, while the rest are “unrecognised, registered” parties. According to data complied by the Commission, in the last Lok Sabha election in 2014, 464 political parties had fielded candidates.

Full Article: India has 1866 registered political parties: Election Commission | The Financial Express.

Canada: What election rules? U.S.-style attack time comes to Canada | CBC News

Canada’s electoral laws are intended to limit the influence of big money in campaigns by enforcing strict contribution limits, making the names of all donors public and banning donations from corporations and unions. But a growing number of third parties are exploiting a loophole in the law that puts no serious restrictions on how much is raised or spent before the campaign officially begins. The newest entrants are Engage Canada and HarperPAC, and they are not really third parties so much as offshoots of the three main political parties. Engage Canada was started by two former senior Liberal staffers in Ontario, Don Guy and Dave Gene, and Kathleen Monk, an equally prominent federal NDP strategist. Take my word for it, because you won’t find any disclosure of who is behind the groups from its website. On the other side is HarperPAC. The name tells you all you need to know.

Full Article: What election rules? U.S.-style attack time comes to Canada - Politics - CBC News.

Editorials: Bernie Sanders’s primary problem | Charles F. Bass/The Washington Post

Addressing hundreds of supporters while campaigning in Keene, N.H., last month, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) declared: “Let me tell you a secret: We’re going to win New Hampshire!” He has some reason to feel confident, given that a new poll put him just 10 percentage points behind front-runner Hillary Clinton in the Democratic presidential primary in the Granite State. But before he pops the champagne corks, I have a secret of my own to share with the senator: He may not qualify for the New Hampshire ballot as a Democrat. To understand why, let’s step back a bit. The U.S. Constitution gives Congress the power to set the time of federal elections but not the manner in which political parties choose their nominees. That process is left to the states. The New Hampshire Constitution empowers the legislature to determine the qualifications for those being elected to office (something in which I was closely involved when I chaired the committee with jurisdiction over state election law while a member of the state Senate). Pursuant to that power, state law makes clear that candidates must be registered members of the party on whose ballot line they wish to appear.

Full Article: Bernie Sanders’s primary problem - The Washington Post.

National: Federal Election Commission allows parties to form new committees to fund political conventions | Cleveland Plain Dealer

Over objections from watchdog groups, the Federal Election Commission on Thursday agreed to allow the nation’s political parties to form new committees that will raise money to finance their political conventions after Congress eliminated federal funds for the quadrennial events. The decision sought by the Republican and Democratic National Committees means each group can launch a fourth fundraising committee to collect money for convention expenses, in addition to the three committees they already operate to raise money for House races, Senate races, and general party expenses. Political donors will now be able to contribute an extra $32,400 for convention expenses on top of the other political contributions they’re allowed to make during an election cycle.

Full Article: Federal Election Commission allows parties to form new committees to fund political conventions | cleveland.com.

New Zealand: Electoral commission releases election information | NZ Herald News

Candidate information, party lists and voting booth information for the election on September 20 has landed – and the Expat Party has missed out. The Electoral Commission this afternoon released the official nominations for the election, including 15 registered political parties and 554 candidates to contest the 64 general seats and seven Maori seats. And New Zealand First leader Winston Peters will not be standing in an electorate this election. A notable omission from the list of registered parties is the Expat Party, which wanted to advocate for New Zealanders’ rights, especially in Australia, but failed to register in time.

Full Article: Electoral commission releases election information - Politics - NZ Herald News.

New Zealand: Environmental groups set case against Electoral Commission | New Zealand Herald

A group of six New Zealand environmental organisations are set to file documents against the Electoral Commission this afternoon, in what they have described as a freedom of speech test case. The groups — Greenpeace, Forest and Bird, 350 Aotearoa, Generation Zero, Oxfam New Zealand and WWF New Zealand — have brought the case after the Electoral Commission branded material produced by them as an election advertisement. The material in question related to the Climate Voter initiative, launched last month, which aims to get all political parties to address climate change in the run up to September’s General Election. Election advertisements must adhere to a strict set of legal requirements, and restrictions on spending.

Full Article: Environmental groups set case against Electoral Commission - National - NZ Herald News.