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Author Topic: Legislative access (district sizes, fusion, etc.)  (Read 103114 times)

freedomroad

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Legislative access (district sizes, fusion, etc.)
« on: March 08, 2003, 09:14:09 pm »

No one ever mentions Senate district size.  Well, maybe we should talk about it because it is around as important as House district size and quite different from House district  size.  

District Sizes- Wyoming?s House has sixty members and around 8,300 residents per district.  This compares favorably to most states, including Montana, South Dakota, Alaska, and especially Idaho which has huge districts consisting of over 19,000 residents per district.  New Hampshire has some districts with over 40,000 residents but also has some very small districts.  This means the four-hundred members of the New Hampshire House have much less influence than the sixty members of the Wyoming House.

From Joe Swyers
1. Vermont - 5,609
2. Wyoming - 8,317
3. Maine - 8,570
4. Montana - 9,090
5. North Dakota - 13,489
6. New Hampshire - 14,489
7. Alaska - 16,100
8. Delaware - 19,683
9. South Dakota - 21,743
10. Idaho - 38,314

The Wyoming Senate has a total of thirty members, each representing around 16,500 residents.  This compares very favorably to most states.  For example, Montana has 18,189, Alaska has 32,189, Maine has over 36,500, Idaho has over 38,300, Delaware has over 38,400, and New Hampshire has over 53,000 residents per Senate district.

Senate District Size (rounded) per State using 2002 population figures:
13,500 North Dakota
16,500 Wyoming
18,100 Montana
20,500 Vermont
21,700 South Dakota
32,100 Alaska
36,500 Maine
38,300 Idaho
38,400 Delaware
53,000 New Hampshire (4 times the size of ND's)


When both House and Senate district sizes are considered, Wyoming is first.  If you consider Wyoming having term limits and a ballot initiative process, it moves even farther ahead of the rest of the pack.  

When all four factors are considered, Idaho, New Hampshire, and Delaware stand out as being the hardest to access as far as state legislative assembly is considered.  These states are all hit by not having term limits and New Hampshire does not even have a ballot initiative process.    

It should be no surprise that the least populated states tend to have the smallest districts and the most populated states tend to have the largest districts.  What is interesting, though, is that Alaska and Delaware have such large district sizes considering their low populations.

Best states:
WY, VT, ND

Worst states:
ID, NH, DE
« Last Edit: September 08, 2003, 10:46:15 pm by JasonPSorens »
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Rearden

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FUSION! Major points for NH, ID, SD, VT, and DE!!!
« Reply #1 on: April 14, 2003, 09:45:51 pm »

A fusion candidate is defined as one who has been nominated by two or more parties, and appears on the general ballot with all parties noted.  The details can vary greatly from state to state, although the
following website does an adequate job of noting the significant
differences:   www.nmef.org/states.htm

Allow me to provide NH as an example:

In NH the process of registering as a candidate for the House of
Representatives consists of going to the town clerk's office and either
submitting a petition with all of five signatures on it or paying a
whopping $2 filing fee.  Say you file as a Libertarian in a district
that elects 8 representatives.  In addition to yourself, there are six
Republican candidates and five Democratic candidates.  If you're smart, you'll do your door-to-door during the primary season, and ask voters to write in your name on the primary ballot as you won't appear, since you're with a third party.

All you need is ten.  Ten Republicans write your name in, and boom,
you're listed on the general ballot as a "Libertarian-Republican."  Ten
Democrats do the same, and you're on there as a "Democratic-Libertarian-Republican."  This strategy will work with any district in which the two major parties do not EACH put up at least as many candidates as there are seats.

So, how successful is this strategy?  The following information is from our man on the ground in NH, George Reich.  In the 2002 election, 59 SEATS OF 400, OR 15% OF THE HOUSE, WAS WON WITH FUSION!  EVERY SINGLE FUSION CANDIDATE ON THE GENERAL BALLOT WON!  In 1992, two Libertarians won seats using just this method.  

I am still perusing the election laws of the other nine states to get
an idea of how similar they are to NH.  According to the summary, NH, ID, SD, VT, and DE offer fusion.  In the others, it is banned.

I hope now everyone understands why this is so important, and how this offers an opportunity we simply cannot afford to pass up.  The states that allow fusion candidates are states that will allow us to immediately begin winning elections, with very little effort.  

I personally consider this issue to be so important that those states that do not offer this advantage will be the ones at the bottom of my list.

---Forwarded message follows---


Fusion candidates ran in districts 1, 2, 4, 7, 8, 9,
10, 11, 13, 14, 21, 22, 23, 42, 48, 58, 66, 67, 71,
72, 73, 74, 77, 79, and 80. Total = 25 districts.

44 seats total were won as R + D (meaning no "D" ran)
and 15 seats total were won as D + R (meaning no "R"
ran). So a grand total of 59 out of 400 seats were won
through fusion. Every single fusion candidate in the
entire state won a seat in the general election.

Hope that helps! A summary table is below:

County       District    Party   # Seats won by Fusion

Grafton      10           D + R              1
Sullivan     22           D + R              5
Sullivan     23           D + R              1
Strafford    67           D + R              4
Strafford    71           D + R              1
Strafford    72           D + R              3
Coos         1              R + D              2
Coos         2              R + D              1
Carroll      4              R + D              2
Carroll      7              R + D              1
Carroll      8              R + D              1
Grafton      9            R + D              2
Grafton      11          R + D              1
Grafton      13          R + D               1
Grafton      14          R + D              1
Sullivan     21          R + D               1
Hillsborough 42        R + D              2
Hillsborough 48        R + D              5
Hillsborough 58        R + D              7
Hillsborough 66        R + D              1
Rockingham   73       R + D             1
Rockingham   74       R + D             3
Rockingham   77       R + D             2
Rockingham   79       R + D             9
Rockingham   80       R + D             1
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Re:FUSION! Major points for NH, ID, SD, VT, and DE!!!
« Reply #2 on: April 14, 2003, 10:45:24 pm »

irish, if you can figure out some way to quantify this, I'll put it in the big spreadsheet. The simple thing would be to assign 10 to these states and zero to the others, but usually (with other variables) we find some states are better than others so you modify the score a bit.
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George Reich

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Re:FUSION! Major points for NH, ID, SD, VT, and DE!!!
« Reply #3 on: April 21, 2003, 02:24:05 pm »

What about fusion in Alaska? They have an indirect ban, but I'm not sure things couldn't work there the way they work in New Hampshire....
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Re:FUSION! Major points for NH, ID, SD, VT, and DE!!!
« Reply #4 on: April 21, 2003, 06:22:41 pm »

Its definetely a plus for NH.

How 'bout running a candidate as a Natural Law Libertarian?
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Re:FUSION! Major points for NH, ID, SD, VT, and DE!!!
« Reply #5 on: April 21, 2003, 07:10:55 pm »

How 'bout running a candidate as a Natural Law Libertarian?

Well, one wants to "fuse" with one of the two major parties to capture the straight-ticket voters thereof...
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Re:FUSION! Major points for NH, ID, SD, VT, and DE!!!
« Reply #6 on: April 29, 2003, 09:03:22 pm »

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di540

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Re:FUSION! Major points for NH, ID, SD, VT, and DE!!!
« Reply #7 on: April 29, 2003, 09:30:46 pm »

What about fusion in Alaska? They have an indirect ban, but I'm not sure things couldn't work there the way they work in New Hampshire....

Why not just cut out the middlemen, and form your own
"Independent-Republican" & "Independent-Democrat" parties,
and run some of the FSP candidates under those tickets?  
That way, you not only get the people who vote for the
"straight tickets", but also the Independents, which
vastly outnumber Libertarians in any state, and might
even outnumber one of the big 2 parties.
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Re:FUSION! Major points for NH, ID, SD, VT, and DE!!!
« Reply #8 on: April 30, 2003, 11:08:06 am »

irish, if you can figure out some way to quantify this, I'll put it in the big spreadsheet. The simple thing would be to assign 10 to these states and zero to the others, but usually (with other variables) we find some states are better than others so you modify the score a bit.

After reading the election laws of the candidate states, especially the sections dealing with nominations and primary and general elections, I have come up with the following allocation of points for "the big spreadsheet."  I've included a few key points to indicate why they gained or lost points:

AK, ME, WY:  0 - all effectively prohibit fusion entirely

MT, ND: 2 - can be cross-nominated, but must choose one party for general --essentially negates fusion
DE, VT: 6 - cross-nomination by convention only, but does not have to choose which party for the general
ID: 7 - cross-nomination by write-in only
NH: 9 - cross-nomination by write-in and convention, those done by write-in may appear under both parties for general
SD: 10 - fusion allowed by any method, may appear under both parties for general

If anyone has any questions about how I arrived at these allocations, or how each different law helps us or hurts us, please write me at keithrmurphy@comcast.

Again, this site, thoughtfully provided by our "progressive" brethren, is a great resource for researching fusion:

http://www.nmef.org/states.htm

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di540

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Re:FUSION! Major points for NH, ID, SD, VT, and DE!!!
« Reply #9 on: April 30, 2003, 01:42:39 pm »


After reading the election laws of the candidate states, especially the sections dealing with nominations and primary and general elections, I have come up with the following allocation of points for "the big spreadsheet."  I've included a few key points to indicate why they gained or lost points:

AK, ME, WY:  0 - all effectively prohibit fusion entirely

As mentioned earlier for indirect prohibitions you can effectively
get around them by a do-it-yourself approach. You can even get
around a direct prohibition from using an established party's name
by slightly changing the name: Independent-Democrat if Democratic
is already taken, or Independent-Republicans if Republican is
taken.

It would also be more honest to prefix your candidates' party
affiliation with "independent" rather than "libertarian" since
they would not be running for both parties, and would in fact
be independent of the major parties. This should be enough fair
notice so that you could use an established party's name as a
suffix.  
 
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Re:FUSION! Major points for NH, ID, SD, VT, and DE!!!
« Reply #10 on: April 30, 2003, 02:43:25 pm »


As mentioned earlier for indirect prohibitions you can effectively
get around them by a do-it-yourself approach. You can even get
around a direct prohibition from using an established party's name
by slightly changing the name: Independent-Democrat if Democratic is already taken, or Independent-Republicans if Republican is
taken.

You're talking about starting an entirely new party from scratch.  I don't know if it would be A. worth the trouble to do so, B. legal to use the word "Democrat" or "Republican" in the name of a new, competing party, or C. ethical or honest to name a new party using the names of the big two.  

Why don't we start two, and name them the Demmocrats and Rebublicans?   ;D  That'd fool 'em.
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Re:FUSION! Major points for NH, ID, SD, VT, and DE!!!
« Reply #11 on: April 30, 2003, 02:59:36 pm »


As mentioned earlier for indirect prohibitions you can effectively
get around them by a do-it-yourself approach. You can even get
around a direct prohibition from using an established party's name
by slightly changing the name: Independent-Democrat if Democratic is already taken, or Independent-Republicans if Republican is
taken.

You're talking about starting an entirely new party from scratch.  I don't know if it would be A. worth the trouble to do so, B. legal to use the word "Democrat" or "Republican" in the name of a new, competing party, or C. ethical or honest to name a new party using the names of the big two.  

It also doesn't catch all those straight-ticket voters, which is one of the major points of fusion, IMO.
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Re:FUSION! Major points for NH, ID, SD, VT, and DE!!!
« Reply #12 on: April 30, 2003, 03:02:28 pm »

As mentioned earlier for indirect prohibitions you can effectively get around them by a do-it-yourself approach. You can even get around a direct prohibition from using an established party's name
by slightly changing the name: Independent-Democrat if Democratic is already taken, or Independent-Republicans if Republican is taken.

It would also be more honest to prefix your candidates' party affiliation with "independent" rather than "libertarian" since they would not be running for both parties, and would in fact be independent of the major parties. This should be enough fair notice so that you could use an established party's name as a
suffix.  

I don't see how this could work. Even if the new party's name is similar to that of a major party, that does not mean the candidate will be listed as a candidate of the major party on the ballot. Can you provide an example of where your idea has been successfully utilized?
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di540

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Re:FUSION! Major points for NH, ID, SD, VT, and DE!!!
« Reply #13 on: April 30, 2003, 03:47:26 pm »

As mentioned earlier for indirect prohibitions you can effectively get around them by a do-it-yourself approach. You can even get around a direct prohibition from using an established party's name
by slightly changing the name: Independent-Democrat if Democratic is already taken, or Independent-Republicans if Republican is taken.

It would also be more honest to prefix your candidates' party affiliation with "independent" rather than "libertarian" since they would not be running for both parties, and would in fact be independent of the major parties. This should be enough fair notice so that you could use an established party's name as a
suffix.  

I don't see how this could work. Even if the new party's name is similar to that of a major party, that does not mean the candidate will be listed as a candidate of the major party on the ballot. Can you provide an example of where your idea has been successfully utilized?


As it is, the fusion candiates do not get multiple listings
for being both Libertarian and another party, or that would be
unfair to those who only get one listing. However, if you use
a hyphenated name, that implies that you are similar to both,
while expressing that you aren't either one exclusively.
Can you show where it has not been allowed?  It should be
legal unless strictly forbidden.
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di540

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Re:FUSION! Major points for NH, ID, SD, VT, and DE!!!
« Reply #14 on: April 30, 2003, 04:15:57 pm »


As mentioned earlier for indirect prohibitions you can effectively
get around them by a do-it-yourself approach. You can even get
around a direct prohibition from using an established party's name
by slightly changing the name: Independent-Democrat if Democratic
is already taken, or Independent-Republicans if Republican is
taken.

You're talking about starting an entirely new party from scratch.  
I don't know if it would be A. worth the trouble to do so,

B. legal to use the word "Democrat" or "Republican" in the
name of a new, competing party, or

C. ethical or honest to name a new party using the names of the big two.


It also doesn't catch all those straight-ticket voters, which is one of the major points of fusion, IMO.

A fusion candidate won't catch all the straight ticket voters
either, if they know whom they're voting for. Having a fusion
party w/the "Independent" prefix, however, will catch some of
the voters who like to think of themselves as unaffiliated to
any party, as well as some of the major party.

A. Even if B & C are problematic, it would still be worth
   registering those party names just to prevent others from
   using them, and competing w/FSP candidates.

B. This would be as for the case of a direct ban. You can change
   the name slightly in the suffix.

C. It is less ethical or honest to be a fusion candidate than to
   create your own fusion party.

Otherwise, in regard to successful examples,
I can think of one: the Alaskan Independence Party.
The word "Independence" virtually sounds the same as
"Independents" and the mainstream media in Alaska point
out that fact every election, and reminds the voters
not to confuse those two names. If it was unethical
competition against true Independents, it would have
been prohibited a long time ago.
« Last Edit: April 30, 2003, 04:25:55 pm by mAximo »
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