Liberarian Party

Washington State Set to Deny Libertarian Party Major Party Status, Based on Write-In Votes

Even though the state generally doesn't count write-in votes; but any tool to hobble the Libertarians might be good enough.

|

In order to gain gain major party legal status in the state of Washington, the Libertarian Party needed to get 5 percent of the vote in the presidential race. As the final counting for the state dragged on for weeks, the state party looked on eagerly as it seemed they'd just make the cut.

David Traynor, LPWA website

And indeed, according to the public data on the Washington secretary of state's website on election results, they did! 5.01 percent as of this morning for Gary Johnson for president in that state. Seeing this, Ballot Access News thought major party status was a done deal.

But you didn't think the state would make it that easy, did you? This week, as later reported in Ballot Access News, the secretary of state Kim Wyman announced that the L.P. did not in fact qualify.

Why? Because that public total doesn't include the sacred-to-Washington-process write-in vote.

This is despite the fact, as Winger reports, that the state has never even announced any counts of such votes for the past 24 years. But Wyman insists that including the write-ins will be done, and will dunk Johnson's percentage below 5.

Since you are technically voting for slates of electors for president in that state, and write-ins have none attached, some in the L.P. have questioned whether there is any legal grounds for considering them "real votes" there. My reading of the statute seems to indicate that no candidate who didn't file a declaration of candidacy with the state has the right to have his or her write-in votes counted, but I am not a campaign law litigator.

David Traynor, chair of the state L.P., says in a Facebook post last night that including the around 100,000 write-ins as valid parts of the vote total would likely lower the Johnson percentage to 4.86. Traynor says in a phone interview today that one county, Franklin, has not yet certified its vote, so a final-final tally of statewide vote percentages isn't official yet.

Some in the state party consider getting major party status perhaps more of a burden than a boon. Winning the status would eliminate the need to gather 1,000 signatures to get the next presidential candidate on the ballot, but it would also create the legal need for a variety of county and state committees and precinct committee officers, well over 6,500 of the latter, for the party, which some think requires more active Libertarians than the state might have to offer. (The state party has around 650 active dues paying members, according to figures provided by the Libertarian National Committee.)

In an interesting twist, statutorily major parties by law must have a chair and vice chair of each of their county and state committees who are of the opposite sex.

Traynor believes the precinct committee officer being on the ballot everywhere is a boon, giving the Party a labeled candidate on many more ballots and giving the L.P. more general reputational weight as real, important, and significant. (If only one Libertarian puts him or herself in contention for precinct committee officer, from my read of the statute, then they automatically win, with no ballot listing done.)

The Party would also, if it wins major status, have a statewide primary election for presidential candidates, like the Democrats and Republicans, which Traynor believes has immeasurable impact on public perception of them as a legitimate choice. "I got like 350 emails this year asking why the L.P. didn't have a presidential candidate on the primary ballot," he says. Such major party status "would be huge, an avenue to more effectively grow and get exposure and stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the old parties."

Traynor says some who don't see the importance of the major party status represent an "old guard" who see the L.P. more "bringers of information, making people enlightened" and less about doing everything possible to win elections.

Given that the state has a "top two" primary system, in which only the top two vote getters of any party proceed to the general election for most offices, it wouldn't be that relevant to most L.P. candidates below the presidential level. Even with that system that many think hobbles third parties, Traynor is proud that the state L.P. got 10 candidates into the general election for state legislative offices.

"I love top two," Traynor says, "and my personal feeling is if you can't get second place in a primary then you have no business running a candidate in the general." The system, he says, allows the L.P. to "focus resources on races that might be won" and puts them in a better position.

Traynor said in a Facebook post last night that "We are currently working the Libertarian National Committee and local legal professionals to determine the most effective strategy that aligns with our state party goals and the principled positions of the national committee. No official notice has been given from the Secretary of State, and no strategy has been decided as of yet from the LPWA."

He confirmed in a phone interview today that while he is confident some legal action will be taken, its exact nature or shape is still being considered and planned. One issue is that such a challenge could well cost over $100,000, possibly as much as $300,000.

NEXT: Donate to Reason Because Our Journalism Helps Poor Venezuelans AND Teen Sexters

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. The state of Washington sucks Caitlyn Jenner’s cock in hell.

    1. Licks its pussy in hell. Unless you mean medical waste.

  2. How many hundreds of write-in votes did Dino Rossi get in 2004?

  3. The LP has finally hit the big time! We’re blaming our failure on a small number of votes for people who never had a chance of winning.

    1. Those write-in voters – throwing their votes away like that! Sad.

      1. Actually, they probably are thrown away — literally. I know Florida doesn’t count write-ins. All these people thinking they’re being cute by writing in “Mickey Mouse” could protest just as well by staying home.

        1. They might have been disgusted with the choices in the Presidential race but were interested in one or more of the downballot races.

    2. Whaddayamean “our” failure, paleface? Organized crime has run the State of Washington since way before Seattle Police lieutenant Roy Olmstead’s phone was tapped so the feds could bust him for smuggling and have La Suprema Corte rubber-stamp the confiscations based on jurisprudence and a Constitutional amendment secured by 1.4% of the vote. The LP’s 5% (prolly more like 7% if counted honestly) served notice on organized mischief that hooking people on poppy goo while banning competitive (non-toxic and nonaddictive) alternatives is, like the opium wars, a thing of their shameful crony-mercantilist past.

  4. Commies trying to keep libertarians out? I’m shocked.

  5. In an interesting twist, statutorily major parties by law must have a chair and vice chair of each of their county and state committees who are of the opposite sex.

    And it is decreed that the pair must procreate, and the product of their union be handed to the opposing party’s chair as a hostage to insure that no vote tampering take place.

    1. And it is decreed that the pair must procreate, and the product of their union be handed to the opposing party’s chair as a hostage to insure that no vote tampering take place.

      Now Fist, did you present an opening for something more, and if so, were you waiting for an invitation to continue?

      As I do not believe you and Sugarfree to be the same…. I invite you to go on.

      1. I like to utilized the imagination of the reader. I’m not lazy like SugarFree.

    2. And it is decreed that the pair must procreate, and the product of their union be handed to the opposing party’s chair as a hostage to insure that no vote tampering take place.

      I laughed out loud. Sounds like it should have a “Whereas” in front of each passage.

    1. She looks pretty good for 54…and having no soul.

      1. *wheezing* *more wheezing*

        Would.

        *wheezes*

      2. That’s one hell of a long pearl earring she has in that photo — or perhaps the phone cord from an old wall-mounted phone is tangled in her jacket.

    2. Not to mention the fact that this is in her wikipedia page:

      “Barriers to voting in US elections while living in Germany inspired her to become an elections official.”

      1. So she learned from the best.

    3. “You think someone like her would understand the value of breaking an electoral monopoly.”

      By allowing competition for the #2 spot? She’s trying to protect a duopoly, not a monopoly. The democrats are safe either way.

  6. Fuck it. Burn it all down. That seems to be the only way the establishment will take you seriously anymore. If you’re not willing to choke a bitch then they’ll just smile and pat you on the head as they go about doing what they were planning on doing anyway.

    1. Since penis advertisement is basically the core of what passes for Donald Trump’s essence, he can’t be expected to start wearing his tie like a normal human male would. Thus an outside-the-box solution is needed to keep his phallocentric look in order.

      1. Good fucking grief. If the same thing showed up on Bernie Sanders’ tie, they’d be commenting on how this shows he’s just a regular guy, like one of us, just like the hole in Adlai Stevenson’s shoe.

        They are just going to keep trying to criticize Trump on every little thing they can. Funny thing is, though, I don’t think Trump gives a shit or will ever give a shit on things like this. Unlike Obama, who was always worried if he was looking cool or posturing correctly, Trump just might eventually wear down all these critics by ignoring them. They should just stick to tormenting him about former Miss Universes, that seems to be the only thing that gets his goat.

        1. Unlike Obama, who was always worried if he was looking cool or posturing correctly…

          And he still managed to look like a friggin’ dork most of the time. President Urkel.

    1. Related. Something that can be grabbed.

  7. Every committee member must be of the opposite sex? The opposite to what?

  8. If they do hit 5% they should sue the state for telling them how they have to run the party.

    1. After your comment, they won`t.

  9. Facebook gives you a great opportunity to earn 98652$ at your home.If you are some intelligent you makemany more Dollars.I am also earning many more, my relatives wondered to see how i settle my Life in few days thank GOD to you for this…You can also make cash i never tell alie you should check this I am sure you shocked to see this amazing offer…I’m Loving it!!!!
    ==================> http://www.homejobs7.com

  10. 100000 write-in votes is 3% of the total in WA. Perhaps they should count the write-in votes, just to show how many more people are rejecting Clump and Trinton.

  11. In order to gain gain major party legal status in the state of Washington

    The phrase “in order” is always superfluous. You can and should always remove it. I won’t even mention the other thing.

  12. “In an interesting twist, statutorily major parties by law must have a chair and vice chair of each of their county and state committees who are of the opposite sex.”

    Ooooooh…that’s going to be tough. Where will they find that many Libertarian females? Of course, this is Washington, so maybe some of the guys can simply declare themselves women, and it will be illegal to question it.

  13. I think the absentee-ballot counting is a back-handed compliment. The LP is having enough of an impact that the establishment has to come up with new ways to curtail it. Maybe that’s progress! Regarding the “opposite sex” requirements, doesn’t that exclude the intersex (XXY, XYX, XY female, XX male, male/female chimera, transgender, etc.) community? How un-PC of them!!!

  14. I acknowledge that Washington is being a douchebag here and deliberately operating under a new interpretation of the rules to screw the LP.

    That said, I don’t disagree with the end conclusion they reached. People who vote write-in are just as important as any other voter, even if they’re voting for their college buddy or Mickey Mouse.

  15. Maybe Jill Stein could reciprocate for the Gary Johnson Campaign supporting her in the debate suit?!?

  16. Oh, NOW they decide to count write-in votes….

  17. Winning the status… would also create the legal need for a variety of county and state committees and precinct committee officers, well over 6,500 of the latter, for the party, which some think requires more active Libertarians than the state might have to offer. (The state party has around 650 active dues paying members…)

    We can do this! Grow the party 10x! Be big time! Come on guys!

    In an interesting twist, statutorily major parties by law must have a chair and vice chair of each of their county and state committees who are of the opposite sex.

    Oh, so we have no chance.

  18. “Nope! The pea isn’t under that shell! You lose again! But keep trying; I’m sure you’re going to win any second now…”

  19. Traynor misunderstands what “winning” means. Getting enough spoiler votes to upset the Kleptocracy races forces them to repeal bad laws. THAT’s winning. Passing the 18th amendment making light beer a felony was considered a victory by mystical teetotalitarians–though the Prohibition Party averaged but 1.4% of the vote before that happened.
    My guess is Washington State is still a conduit for asian poppy narcotics funnelled in through Canada, and is therefore heavily infiltrated by an extra layer of entrenched organized crime dependent on that smuggling trade–just as in 1893. Those racketeers have huge incentives for keeping libertarians from upsetting their entrenched “honest graft.”

  20. After this last election I discovered that 50+ candidates for the elected office of Superior Court Judge did not appear on the ballot and were auto-elected I to asked the Washington State Public Disclosure Commission for copies of the candidates public filings.

    What did I discover? The PDC does not enforce campaign finance laws against Judges in the state of Washington. Only a subset of Judges make disclosures and the PDC does not follow up on even the most basic flaws found in the way reporting is carried out.

    You can find a partial transcript with Chip Beatty of the PDC here: http://pastebin.com/raw/GgsEiZVT

    If you challenge the results in court, the odds of you having your case heard by a Judge who’s named appeared on a ballot, was actually elected to office, is very slim.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.