Archive for July 2008

Leave Home Schoolers Alone

July 31, 2008

Les Riley, the Mississippi Constitution Party’s 2007 nominee for state agriculture commissioner, has posted several comments on this piece from Third Party Watch:

“‘There is no more important task for a parent than the education of one’s children. That responsibility belongs to parents, not the government,” insists Wayne Allyn Root [of Nevada], the Libertarian Party candidate for vice president [Bob Barr’s running mate]. “As a home school parent myself, I know how important it is for government to not interfere in the education process.’

“Wayne Root and his wife Debra home school their four young children. Wayne is the first home school father on a presidential ticket in modern history. Root’s full statement can be found here.”

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Louisiana Challenged For Dropping Voters From Rolls

July 31, 2008

According to the New Orleans Times-Picayune, an outfit called Project Vote is trying to intimidate Louisiana into allowing people who are also registered in other states to vote in the Bayou State:

“Estelle Rogers, an attorney working with Project Vote, said she has placed the state on legal notice of the alleged violation, a first step toward a possible lawsuit. Project Vote is a national nonprofit organization that promotes voting in low-income and minority communities.”

Rogers also claims, “‘”Using only (a) full name and date of birth… causes many false matches, particularly when the name is a common one… .'”

So Ms. Rogers would apparently have us believe that there are cases of more than one person having the exact same name and date of birth. What are the chances of that?

Guess what? Anyone registered in both Louisiana and another state will still be able to vote in Louisiana in this year’s elections. From the next-to-last paragraph: “[State commissioner of elections Angie] LaPlace said no voters will be dropped from the rolls until December, weeks after the Nov. 4 presidential race.”

Here in Mississippi, we worry about people voting in more than one county, but you have to wonder: How many people are voting in more than one state?

“Open Primaries” For Local Elections

July 31, 2008

This article is timely, given that the big majority of Mississippi’s municipalities will elect their officials in the spring of 2009.

The voters of Aiken, South Carolina will decide on September 9 whether to eliminate party primaries in municipal elections and replace them with nonpartisan elections (popularly called “open primaries” in Mississippi).

South Carolina evidently leaves it up to each locality as to whether it holds party primaries: “… Aiken is one of only six cities in the state that still hold partisan elections.”

In order to conduct a primary in a Mississippi municipality, a party must have a municipal committee there. To cut expenses, some of our smaller municipalities– Flowood and the small towns in Hinds County, for example– deliberately skip holding party primaries and just have all candidates run in the general election in June. This, of course, sometimes results in officials getting elected with less than 50 percent of the vote.

Remember what happened in the Rankin County seat of Brandon in 2005? Almost all of the candidates had qualified to run as Republicans, but the paperwork to organize the Republican municipal committee was not submitted in time. So, on the last day for filing, all of those Republicans had to re-qualify as independents. Consequently, the current mayor of Brandon was elected with 47 percent of the vote.

Another problem that sometimes arises in the present system of party primaries is that all or most of the candidates for mayor will run in one party’s primary, while all of the candidates for council member in certain wards or districts run in the other party’s primary. Thus, residents of those wards or districts are able to vote for mayor or council member, but not both.

The great majority of U. S. municipalities– including most of the large cities– already have nonpartisan elections (“open primaries”). California has had nonpartisan municipal AND county elections for nearly 100 years.

If we eliminated party primaries in Mississippi’s local elections, (1) citizens would always be able to vote for mayor AND council member, and (2) no local official would ever again be elected with less than 50 percent of the vote.

Click here to see exactly how this system would work.

Kentucky Libertarians Dump Landham

July 29, 2008

UPDATE: The Kentucky secretary of state has reversed his position on allowing Sonny Landham to run as an independent.

On Monday evening, the state committee of the Kentucky Libertarian Party voted 9-0 to withdraw its support of Sonny Landham for U. S. senator. The former actor had last week made anti-Arab remarks and blamed the Arabs for the high price of oil.

This means that the Libertarians will not have a candidate against the Senate Republican leader, Mitch McConnell, and the Democrat Bruce Lunsford. The secretary of state has said, however, that he will list Landham on the ballot as an independent, since citizens have signed nominating petitions for him.

Ralph Nader Visits Mississippi

July 29, 2008

From wlbt.com:

Consumer advocate Ralph Nader was at Lemuria Book Store in Jackson [Mississippi] Saturday evening for a book signing and to drum up support for his Presidential campaign.

Nader, an independent candidate for President, is making stops in several Southern states trying to get his name on the ballot for the November election. A small group was on hand to hear his position on issues including the environment, the federal budget and foreign policy.

Nader says he and his vice presidential running mate, Matt Gonzalez, are taking voters away from his Democratic and Republican opponents.

“There are now 3 polls indicating that the Nader/Gonzalez ticket is drawing more votes from McCain than they are from Obama,” Nader said. “It’s a… very volatile year, and we ought to get over this idea as if you are a third party or independent candidate somehow you are a second-class citizen.”

Next up for Nader are campaign stops in Texas, Utah and California.

Click here for a link to the video of WLBT3’s report on the Nader visit.

“Open Primary” Makes Oregon Ballot

July 29, 2008

Off and on since the 1960s, Mississippians have expressed a wish for an “open primary.” This has usually referred to nonpartisan elections, in which there are no party primaries. All candidates, including independents, are listed on the same ballot, with the top two vote-getters, regardless of party, proceeding to the runoff.

Five times between 1966 and 1979, the Mississippi legislature passed the “open primary,” but its implementation was stopped each time. In the meantime, Louisiana began using the “open primary” for its state and local elections in 1975 and for its congressional elections in 1978.

Louisiana has heretofore been the only state that has used the “open primary” to elect all of its state and congressional officials, but the Bayou State, starting this year, has restored party primaries for its congressional elections.

In November 2004, nearly 60 percent of the voters of Washington state approved a Louisiana-style “top two” system (a much more accurate term than “open primary”) for the Evergreen State. Federal litigation delayed implementation of the “top two” until this year, and the first round is scheduled for August 19. Several of the state’s political parties, however, are asking the 9th U. S. Circuit Court of Appeals to block the “top two”; briefs are due on August 2.

On July 21, the Oregon secretary of state announced that, as expected, the “open primary” initiative has qualified for that state’s November 4 ballot (like the Washington measure, it includes congressional as well as state elections).

Oregon’s political parties are stronger than Washington’s, and I believe that the “open primary” will have a harder time winning in the Beaver State. Nonetheless, 2008 is a volatile political year, and passage of the initiative is a definite possibility.

Landham: Kill Arabs Due To High Oil Prices

July 26, 2008

Well, apparently high gasoline prices are not the fault of “Big Oil” after all. Sonny Landham, aspiring Libertarian candidate for U. S. senator from Kentucky, blames the Arabs and says we should kill them if they don’t lower their prices.

Landham, a former actor who is of American Indian descent, had roles in the 1980s movies “Predator,” “48 Hours,” and “Action Jackson.” He seeks to run against the Senate Republican leader, Mitch McConnell, and the Democrat Bruce Lunsford. The chairman of the Kentucky Libertarian Party says Landham has not yet qualified, and the LP will make a decision on his candidacy on Monday or Tuesday.

From Third Party Watch:

Libertarian Party of Kentucky candidate for US Senate explains his earlier statement:

“We should go and bomb those camel-dung shovelers back into the sand,” if they don’t lower their oil prices.

On the radio show “Weekly Filibuster,” Landham expands on his comment:

“I’m a pro-American all the way. The Arabs, the camel dung-shovelers, the camel jockeys, whichever you wanna call ‘em, are terrorists. And they are doing a terrorist act on this country with the high gas prices. They’re about to wreck this economy, not only our economy, but the world economy.”

When taking a call from an Arab-American woman, Landham said he didn’t care what she thought, his interest was in American citizens. The lady told him that she was an American citizen, and Landham said he didn’t believe her.

Landham also applauded socialist labor leaders Eugene Debs, Jimmy Hoffa, and John L. Lewis.

Independent Political Report has posted the transcript, plus numerous comments.

Click here for extensive comments.