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Minor Party Candidates at Lowest Level Since ‘66

CALIFORNIA’S DISAPPEARING DEMOCRACY - On March 9, filing for the California primary closed (except in a few districts in which the incumbent is not running for re-election). It appears that there are only fifteen minor party candidates running for U.S. House of Representatives and state legislature. This is the lowest number of California minor party candidates for those offices since 1966, when there were no parties on the ballot in California except for the Democratic and Republican Parties, and thus no minor party candidates on the ballot.

In 2010, there were 74 minor party candidates on the California ballot for U.S. House and legislature.

In the U.S. Senate race, it appears that one Peace & Freedom Party member, and one Libertarian, filed. In 2010, there were four minor party candidates for U.S. Senate on the ballot, in both the primary and general election. Also in 2010, the Socialist Workers Party had a declared write-in U.S. Senate candidate. Even write-in candidates in the general election are now barred.

Proposition 14, passed by the voters in June 2010, is responsible for this drop in candidacies. Proposition 14 makes it virtually impossible for minor party members to participate in the general election, so many candidates decided not to file. Furthermore, the implementing legislation for Proposition 14, SB 6, severely increased the number of signatures needed for a petition in lieu of the filing fee.

California always has 100 regularly-scheduled legislative elections, every two years, and in the last ten years, has had 53 U.S. House seats up every two years. It appears that for U.S. House and legislature combined, there are six Greens, five Libertarians, four Peace & Freedom Party members, and no American Independent Party members running. It is unlikely that any member of Americans Elect filed, but this can’t be known for sure until the Secretary of State releases the list of candidates.

(Richard Winger is Editor of Ballot Access News. This article was posted first at -cw