We need impartial elections!
Since the 2016 primary a number of states have passed open-primaries laws. These are important. But they don’t affect signature requirements or prevent superdelegates or conventions from throwing out the primary ballot altogether. And they don’t affect anything after the primary. For example, they don’t get third-party or independent candidates onto debates. A simple, straightforward, comprehensive bill to render elections impartial in every way is needed. That bill is here.
The "two-party system" is turning legislatures into single-party machines. Congress' rules give unwarranted powers to the majority party. So do all states' rules. In fact, over 40% of voters register as independents, but our electoral system disadvantages third parties and nonpartisan Americans. Party politics is designed to confuse voters' and candidates' rights (which are real) with "parties' rights" (which aren't). It causes chaos in government. But we can stop it.
Elections must be public (run by the state; all of a state's voters must freely select from among all eligible candidates) and impartial (not favoring any parties, or party voters/candidates in general over independents).
Party-system elections violate voters' and candidates' rights. They also give party leaders too much power over candidacy, which gives them power over our officers once elected.
In some states ineffective bills have passed, creating the illusion of safety in 2018. If anything this Act covers is neglected you're still in trouble. Third parties may be asking, "Why should we help indies & write-ins?" Because only a comprehensive bill can shut out party machines. If you don't cover everything they will scheme to force your candidates into a position you never thought of and laugh at you!
We can address this easily. In 1964 we passed Amendment XXIV which made primaries elections for the use of the public and requires state-run, impartial federal elections. But...
Congress still hasn’t enacted it fully.
Nor have the states.
The courts have yet to enforce it fully.
The US Code's definition of elections (52 USC section 30101-Definitions) still violates the clause.
Our primaries violate the clause more each season.
But any state with ballot initiatives can easily bring its elections into compliance with the Constitution.
If your state doesn't allow ballot initiatives see End Two-Party Elections. These states use ballot initiatives: AK AZ AR CA CO FL ID IL MA ME MI MO MS MT NE ND NV OH OK OR SD UT WA WY. More information and a link to your state's ballot-initiative forms & procedure can be found on the page Using Ballot Initiatives and Statutes.
3. Article I, Sections 2 and 3 and Article II, Section 1 require ballots to include independent and write-in candidates. The voters' right of selection can't be restricted.
Most states comply with the third, but not all. Five states (HI, LA, NV, OK, SD) have removed the write-in option, violating the public's right to direct selection. Four states (AR, CA, ID, MA) only allow a write-in on the general ballot if the candidate was on the primary ballot, and Mississippi only tabulates write-ins under certain circumstances (see Be a Write-in Candidate). This case will reinstate write-ins where removed.
Parties claim a right to select “party candidates”. Calling it "nomination" doesn't change what it is: selection. And five states have removed the write-in option, violating the public's selection right; others only allow or tabulate a write-in on the general ballot under some circumstances.
from Article I, Section 2:
“No Person shall be a Representative
who shall not have attained to an Age of twenty-five Years,
and been seven Years a citizen of the United States,
and who shall not, when elected,
be an Inhabitant of the State
in which s/he shall be chosen.”
Running for office is a United States citizenship privilege defined in Articles I and II with no reference to political association.
The limitations allowed are listed:
Such a limitation would have to be expressed; it isn't.
And parties can't restrict their members' right to run by choosing one "nominee". Parties have no right to select candidates.
Where does the "right to select" that political parties claim come from? Nowhere.
The people reserve the right of selection in Article I & Amendment XIV. The Constitution doesn't allow Congress or the states to take any right the people claim, let alone grant that right to parties or anyone else.
Primaries must allow voters to select any candidate
of any or no party.
A party-based electoral system
violates the Constitution in 3 ways.
Parties are private organizations,
not units of government.
Party conventions, primaries, debates & so on
violate all voters' rights,
and violate all candidates' rights.
The Impartial Elections Act
To bring this state's United States primary and general elections into compliance with the Constitution of the United States, they will be held impartially by this state, will be open to all voters, will equally accommodate all candidates including independent and write-in candidates, and in no statute, rule or practice will discriminate on the basis of interest or membership in an interest group, coalition, or political party.
This State's Electoral College electors for President and Vice President of the United States will be nominated during the United States congressional primary elections, and elected during the United States congressional general elections. This State's ballot lines for President of the United States will be determined by nomination at primary elections held during the congressional primary elections. This State's eligible voters will state a preference for a ticket of President and Vice President during the United States congressional general elections.
No third party will be used to circumvent this law.
Your state's name may be substituted for the words "this state".
Beware of other alterations. Use riders with caution.
2. Any candidate-nomination vote at a party convention violates the Right to Vote, Equal Privileges and Immunities and Equal Protections clauses in Amendment XIV by doubling party members’ rights of selection versus voters of no party.
Meanwhile, the closed primaries of some states violate the same clauses by denying the vote to voters of no party.
Party conventions may of course conduct other internal party business, and that's fine. Superdelegates, for example, perform other needed functions.
But delegates should not be voting on candidates at conventions – that party’s members already voted in that primary.
The final tally: some voters have no vote,
some have one vote, some have two.
All of the Constitution’s selection clauses (in Article I & Amendments XIV, XV, XVII, XIX, XXIV & XXVI) include voters of any or no party. No exceptions are listed.
Amendment XIV, Section 2 states that:
“[W]hen the right to vote at any election
[for state or federal offices]
is denied to any of the inhabitants of such State,
being eighteen years of age,
and citizens of the United States”
for any reason but "rebellion, or other crime,”
the Constitution is violated.
The Right to Vote clause doesn’t list "not belonging to a party" as an allowed reason to deny the vote. This prohibits restricting any state or federal vote to members of one party or to members of parties in general.
from Amendment XIV, section I:
"No State shall make or enforce any law
which shall abridge the privileges or immunities
of citizens of the United States; […]
nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction
the equal protection of the laws.”
Amendment XIV’s Privileges and Immunities and Equal Protection clauses require that all state & federal elections allow voting equally by all United States citizens with the voting privilege. This prohibits denial of the vote for not belonging to a party. It also prohibits second ballots at party conventions.
1. Party conventions, primaries and caucuses are private elections. But Article I, Section 2, its Section 4 and Amendment XIV prohibit private elections for public offices, a significant change that would have to be expressed.
from Article I, section 2:
“The House of Representatives
shall be composed of Members
chosen every second Year
by the People of the several States […]”
This defines federal elections as:
Exceptions (the Electoral College’s general-election vote, and originally Senate elections) are established in the text. Any other exception would also have to be established in the text.
And Amendment XXIV adds that federal elections select: Presidents, Vice Presidents, Electoral College electors, Senators and Representatives.
The list is part of both the Poll Tax clause and the Primaries clause, and has purpose in both: it includes all federal offices and excludes state or private offices.
Primary (nominating) elections are also used to select electors. This list prohibits using federal elections to select delegates to private party conventions. Electors to the Electoral College are defined in Article II & Amendments XII and XX; party delegates can’t be substituted.
Can political parties have a "power to conduct primary elections"? No.
Nowhere in the Constitution do we delegate to political parties the power to conduct elections.
The Constitution doesn't give parties any governance powers at all.
from Article I, Section 4:
“The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections
for Senators and Representatives,
shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof;
but Congress may at any time by Law
make or alter such Regulations […]."
In Article I, Section 4 (the Electoral clause) we delegate conducting elections to the states, under Congress. They may not redelegate it. It’s a task we assign in the text, just as "making laws" is a task we assign (Congress can’t redelegate it!).
A two-party system favors two parties.
(In practice, it gives most legislative power to only one!) But we don't have to have it.
The Constitution prohibits a two-party electoral system!
We ratified Amendment XXIV in 1964 to end the practice of limiting the vote to people who could pay a poll tax.
But the text does more.
It adds primaries to the Constitution as elections like other federal elections. And it plainly lists what federal elections, including primaries, may select. The list doesn't include delegates to private conventions.
Federal elections must be public and impartial: they may not favor any party, or parties in general over non-party voters and candidates.
Don't fall for the "proportional representation" scam.
It's just party politics in another form.
“The right of citizens of the United States to vote
in any primary or other election
for President or Vice President,
for electors for President or Vice President,
or for Senator or Representative in Congress,
shall not be denied by Congress or any State
by reason of failure to pay a poll tax or any tax.”
The Poll Tax clause wouldn't require the words "primary or other". "Election" would be enough.
But all text in the Constitution has meaning and purpose.
Courts may not allow any claim that
text has no purpose.
So the text "any primary or other election" is a clause that applies the Poll Tax clause to primaries
because they are elections
like the other elections listed.
Its purpose is to state that primaries are elections,
not party functions.
Can the words "primary or other election" NOT mean that primaries are elections?
No, that’s the text's plain meaning.
"Or other elections" also means these elections are like the other elections listed except where
the text states some difference.
Plain language can't be contradicted.