Document:California Press Release 18 June 1999 Libertarians Fight Third Party Killer Ballot Access Bill

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400 Capitol Mall, Suite 900
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 449-3941
For immediate release: June 18, 1999
For additional information:
Juan Ros, Executive Director
Phone: (818) 506-0200

Libertarians fight 'third party killer' ballot access bill

SACRAMENTO -- A ballot access bill winding through the Legislature would damage the third party movement in California, increase the competitive advantage held by Democrats and Republicans, and eliminate alternative choices for voters at the polls, the Libertarian Party of California announced today.

The bill, SB 365 by Senator John Lewis (R-Orange), would create a burden for third parties by complicating the signature gathering procedure for candidates. The bill passed the Senate on May 25 and is scheduled in the Assembly Elections Committee on Monday, June 21, at 4PM.

"This bill is a true 'third party killer,'" charged Libertarian state executive director Juan Ros. "Third party candidates will have a much tougher time getting on the ballot, unlike Democrats and Republicans. SB 365 would set the third party movement back years while giving voters fewer options on the ballot."

Under current law, candidates may collect signatures in lieu of paying a fee when filing a declaration of candidacy. In addition, all candidates are required to collect a certain number of nominating signatures. Signatures collected in lieu of the filing fee also count towards the nominating signature requirement.

Under SB 365, that "dual-use" of signatures would be eliminated. Candidates would be forced to collect signatures twice, during two separate time periods, and the signatures would be counted independently of each other for purposes of meeting the required amounts.

"Collecting signatures from voters is difficult enough once, let alone having to do it twice," Ros noted.

"Since most third party candidates avoid paying the filing fee, eliminating the dual-use of signatures is tantamount to political and electoral murder," Ros added.

The Green and Reform Parties have also stepped forward to oppose SB 365. "We welcome the help of other third parties in defeating this terrible piece of legislation," Ros said.

The California Association of Clerks and Election Officials, which is sponsoring the bill, wants to simplify the filing process and avoid confusion for candidates. "Unfortunately, this bill will only increase confusion by requiring more paperwork, more signatures, and more filing," Ros pointed out.

"Libertarians will be at the committee hearing Monday to oppose this bill," Ros announced. "We're fighting not only for our own sakes but for the sakes of every voter in California."