More election laws introduced

Several more election laws bills have been introduced in the General Assembly, including two that would eliminate straight-party voting.

HB185, called the Ballot Reform Act, would end straight-party voting. But it would also reinforce the preferential treatment given the Democratic and Republican parties when listing candidates on the ballot.

The bill would provide for the party that won the governorship to be listed first on the ballot, followed by other parties with more than five percent of registered voters, in an alphabetic order starting with the first letter of the governor’s last name.

All other political parties would then be listed in alphabetical order by party. Independent candidates would be still be listed last, using the alphabetical order formula based on the governor’s last name.

HB185 sponsors are Representatives Bert Jones, Susan Martin, Debra Conrad and Bob Steinburg, all Republicans.

In contrast, Senators E.S. Newton and Thom Goolsby have filed SB82, which simply eliminates straight-party voting.

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Free the Vote NC calls for an end to straight-party voting

Eliminating straight-party voting will be a step toward ending the two-party duopoly that controls North Carolina’s electoral process and discriminates against alternative parties and independent candidates, a spokesman for Free the Vote North Carolina said in a statement today.

“The straight-party voting system tends to perpetuate this cycle of individuals going to the polls and casting votes based simply on party label in the hopes of voting for someone that shares their common values,” said Jordon Greene, founder and president of Free the Vote NC.

Two bills ending straight-party voting have been introduced in the General Assembly. Free the Votes opposes one, HB185 and supports the other, SB82.

“Straight-party voting encourages uneducated voting and demeans the value of the individual’s vote,” Greene said. “The manner in which the device is used in North Carolina also is confusing to voters, since it doesn’t apply to the presidential race.”

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N.C. Libertarians set another record

The North Carolina Libertarian Party has achieved another historic milestone in state politics. It now has the highest share of registered voters than any other third party in modern history, according to an analysis by Richard Winger of Ballot Access News.

Although the actual number, 0.31 percent, is very low, the Libertarians have steadily increased their portion of voter registrants despite having to overcome North Carolina’s draconian ballot access laws every four years.

“Although our numbers are still small, the fact that more and more people are registering either as unaffiliated voters or Libertarians makes these numbers significant,” said state party chair J.J. Summerell. “It’s evidence that more and more people think the Republican and Democrats have failed to effectively manage our government.”

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Check Libertarian on your state income tax form

 LPNC_PPFF

The N.C. Political Party Financing Fund programs allows taxpayers to check a block on the state income tax form and designate $3 of their state income tax to a political party. Although the Libertarians oppose giving taxpayer money to political parties, they’re asking people to designate $3 of their state income tax burden to support the state Libertarian Party.

“The PPFF should be abolished immediately,” said J.J. Sumerell, Libertarian Party state chair. “However, the North Carolina Libertarian Party will continue to accept the funds and encourage members of all parties and unaffiliated voters to check the Libertarian block on your NC tax return.”

He noted that while the designation doesn’t reduce the income tax burden, it does allow people to direct their money to a cause they support.

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Election law bills filed in the General Assembly

In the first two days of the N.C. General Assembly, four election law bills were introduced. A controversial voter ID bill was not among, even though House Speaker Thom Tillis listed it as part of the Republican Party’s agenda. The GOP is expected to use its veto-proof majority in both house to push the bill rapidly through the legislature.

Free the Vote NC, a ballot access reform group, is expected to have a bill ready in the next few weeks which would dramatically lower the barriers for third parties and independent candidates to get on the ballot. It will be similar to a bill which passed the House last session, but failed in the Senate.

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Two major wins for the Libertarian Party in 2012

Thank you to all those who supported my Congressional run. I’m pleased with the result,but somewhat surprised that Rep. Renee Ellmers was re-elected by such a large margin. I was hoping that whichever of the major party candidates won, my vote would be the margin of difference.

It’s strange (but not surprising) that, despite all the Republicans and Tea Party types who told me how disappointed they were with Ellmers, they closed ranks and voted for the Red Team anyway.

My election prognostications were only half right; President Barack Obama did get a majority of the electoral votes, but he also received a plurality of the popular vote, but just barely. There really wasn’t a change for an Electoral College tie.

The major news for 2012, however, is that the Libertarians scored two major victories.

First, in North Carolina Barbara Howe got two percent of the vote for governor, thus securing the party’s ballot access for another four years.

Second, Gov. Gary Johnson achieved an historic one million votes for president, beating the 32-year old record of 921,128 set y Ed Clark in 1980.  As of this writing Google had Johnson at 1,139,562, more than double that of the 2008 ticket of Bob Barr and Wayne Root. Barr and Root are no longer Libertarians, by the way.

North Carolina has arguable the most restrictive ballot access laws in the nations. Howe’s achievement marks the second time the LPNC has kept its ballot access status through the voting process. Dr. Mike Munger did it first in 2008.

This will save the LPNC a boat-load of money, time and other resources. That means we’ll be able to go into the 2014 and 2016 elections not only without having to exhaust all our resources just to get to the starting line, but with a ample resources to fill the ballot with Libertarian candidates who’ll be able to run competitive races.

More information:

N.C. Libertarian Candidate Results

N.C. State Board of Elections Results Summary

See Google Election Results

Election predictions

The good news about the 2012 election is that it appears there may be a record turn-out. Unfortunately, since American voter turnout is so abysmally in the first place, that’s not saying much. I doubt we’ll approach the 80-90 percent voter turnout rate common in other democratic countries, even in those countries the United States has “made” democracies.

The bad news is that if you think the election will be over tomorrow, think again. I’m no political expert, but here are my predictions for 2012. I think President Barack Obama will be re-elected with a majority of the electoral vote – but Gov. Mitt Romney will get the plurality in the popular vote. This will send the Republicans into legal hysteria to rival that of the Democrats in the 2000 election.

And no one on Fox News will bat any eye when the GOP resorts to the same legalistic, obstructionist, word-parsing antics the Democrats engaged in in 2000. They’ll challenge the vote in every single state where it’s close, claiming “voter fraud,” “voter suppression,” or any other excuse they can come up with.

And the election could wind up being decided, probably wrongly again, by the U.S. Supreme Court.

In North Carolina, I predict that not only will Barbara Howe get more than two percent of the vote, thus keeping the Libertarian Party on the ballot, but Gov. Gary Johnson will earn enough votes to be the margin of difference between Romney and Obama, to Romney’s detriment.

This will inevitable lead to Republicans claiming that Romney “lost” the state because of Johnson. But I also predict that exit polls and post-election analysis will point out that Johnson will have earned the votes of both liberals and conservatives, Democrats and Republicans,and many unaffiliated voters. Of course, the Republicans won’t let the facts get in the way.

On the other hand, if the presidential vote goes the other way, I’m sure the Democrats will make the same charge they “lost” the state because of the Libertarians, since the won’t be able to blame the Greens who are not on the ballot.

Another scenario some experts have discussed, and one which I really like, postulates the possibility of an Electoral College tie. It is possible. This would mean that, under the U.S. Constitution, the newly elected U.S. House of Representatives will select the president, voting by states; and the new U.S. Senate will select the vice president.

Assuming things go as expected, that would mean a Republican-controlled U.S. House electing Mitt Romney president, and a Democratic-controlled U.S.Senate re-electing Joe Biden vice president.

What I like about this scenario is that it would initiate (maybe ignite is a better word) a debate on abolishing the Electoral College. It may be possible, once the hysterical rhetoric, illogical and unreasonable arguments are dispensed with, to actually educate Americans about how the Electoral College came to be, and why it is a good thing.

The Pilot critiques the Republican, endorses the Democrat – and ignores the Libertarian

The Pilot in Southern Pines had endorsed Steve Wilkins, my Democratic opponent in the 2nd Congressional District. They have a problem with Republican incumbent Renee Ellmers for not campaigning in Moore County.

But I had to point out to them that they are guilty of ignoring one of the candidates in the race – me.

Here is what I wrote in a letter-to-the-editor:

Unlike Rep. Renee Ellmers, I have visited Moore County several times during the campaign. I even had the pleasure of sharing the stage with Steve Wilkins at the Moore County League of Women Voters Forum.

But just as Rep. Ellmers has apparently ignored several parts of her new district, The Pilot apparently has chosen to ignore coverage of my candidacy, Although I thank you for using excerpts from my campaign website (LibertyPoint.org) in an article, you did not give me the courtesy of actually contacting me for an interview, which I deeply regret.

As a candidate who doesn’t solicit, receive or accept donations from businesses, special interest groups or political action committees, I rely completely on invitations to public forums from civic groups, and the journalistic integrity of most newspapers, and radio and TV stations to cover the story fairly and completely in order to get my message out to voters.

Hopefully in the future The Pilot will give fair and equal treatment to all candidates on the ballot so that the voters in Moore County can get the information they need to make an informed decision in the voting booth.

Let’s see if it gets printed or posted online.

Muslim Public Affairs Council endorsement

I did not expect to get an endorsement from any N.C. group. So I’m honored to have earned the endorsement of the Raleigh chapter of the Muslim Public Affairs Council. Here is the email I received:

Dear Mr. Irving,

I am pleased to inform you that the Muslim American Public Affairs Council (MAPAC) has sent its endorsement of your candidacy to its members and supporters. The endorsement was sent out in time to reach those who have voted early.

Congratulations on your securing the MAPAC endorsement and the best of luck in the upcoming election.

Sincerely,

Ford Chambliss
MAPAC Board of Trustees

N.C. No. 2 in gerrymandering

North Carolina is No. 2 in a national ranking – in gerrymandering. And it has the most gerrymandered U.S. House district in the nation, District 12.

Read this item in Under the Dome, the News & Observer political column:

Azavea, a firm that applies mapping software GIS in online media, updated a previous report that uses four geographical measures of compactness for every Congressional district in the country, and by the group’s estimate, N.C.’s 12th District is literally the worst in the country.

The report also ranks U.S. House District 4 as the sixth worst gerrymandered in the nation. The district, which I think resembles a map of Viet Nam, actually splits U.S. House District 2. At one point District 4 literally runs down the Cape Fear River. I think it’s safe to say very few people live in the river.