In defense of torrents

With much fanfare from the Department of Justice, the alleged operator of the largest torrent site, Artem Vaulin, was arrested in Poland and the website was seized. Assistant Attorney General Leslie Caldwell said, “[Artem] Vaulin is charged with running today’s most visited illegal file-sharing website, responsible for unlawfully distributing well over $1 billion of copyrighted materials. In an effort to evade law enforcement, Vaulin allegedly relied on servers located in countries around the world and moved his domains due to repeated seizures and civil lawsuits. His arrest in Poland, however, demonstrates again that cybercriminals can run, but they cannot hide from justice.” Continue reading

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Rocky De La Fuente Asks Georgia to Waive July 1 Deadline for Filing Presidential Elector Candidates

On July 28, independent presidential candidate Rocky De La Fuente formally asked the Georgia Secretary of State to waive the July 1 deadline for an independent presidential candidate to file his or her slate of presidential elector candidates. Georgia’s petition deadline was July 12, and De La Fuente met that deadline.

The letter from De La Fuente’s attorney points out that Georgia does not require the ballot-qualified parties to certify the names of their presidential elector candidates that early, and thus the policy is discriminatory. It also points out that when Arizona’s similar deadline for presidential elector candidates of qualified parties was challenged in court by the Green Party earlier this year, the state did not defend that deadline.

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California Pundit John Seiler Commentary on Top-Two System

John Seiler, former editorial page editor of the Orange County (California) Register, has this commentary about California’s top-two system in connection with this year’s U.S. Senate race. Thanks to Bob Richards for the link.

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Massachusetts Secretary of State, in a Speech, Says Voters Who Vote for Parties Other than Democratic or Republican are Wasting Their Votes

On July 27, Massachusetts Secretary of State William Galvin spoke to the Massachusetts delegation at the Democratic national convention. According to this story, he said that voters who vote for parties other than the Democratic and Republican Parties are “wasting” their vote.

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Working Class Party Submits 50,000 Signatures to get on Michigan Ballot

The Working Class Party recently submitted approximately 50,000 signatures, to qualify for the Michigan ballot. The requirement is 31,519 signatures, due July 21. See the party’s web page here. Thanks to John Anthony La Pietra for this news.

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First Independent Candidate for U.S. House in Kansas Since 1984 is Likely to Qualify

Kansas has had no independent candidates for U.S. House on the ballot since 1984. However, according to this story, independent Alan LaPolice is likely to qualify this year in the First district, which covers the western half of Kansas. Kansas law requires 5,000 signatures for independents for U.S. House. No one has ever complied with that law for U.S. House. The existing law was passed in 1990. Before 1990, the requirement was 2,500 signatures for U.S. House.

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Nevada Will Accept Rocky De La Fuente Petition Despite Technical Violation

On July 27, the Nevada Secretary of State reversed an earlier decision, and said she will accept the independent presidential petition for Rocky De La Fuente. The petition had been rejected because a state law says independent presidential candidates must submit a copy of the petition blank to the Secretary of State before starting to circulate. De La Fuente had submitted a copy of his petition to the Clark County elections office, but not the Secretary of State’s office. The De La Fuente petition was circulated entirely within Clark County, which has over half the state’s population.

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New Hampshire Legislator Changes Registration from “Republican” to “Libertarian”

In May 2016, New Hampshire Representative Max Abramson changed his registration from “Republican” to “Libertarian.” In June, he filed a Declaration of Candidacy as a Libertarian Party candidate for Governor. He represents Seabrook.

New Hampshire voter registration forms have a blank line for political party choice, so any person can register into any party. However, New Hampshire election officials won’t tally such registrations unless the party is a qualified party. Thanks to Andy Craig for this news.

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New Hampshire Legislator Changes Registration from “Republican” to “Libertarian”

In May 2016, New Hampshire Representative Max Abramson changed his registration from “Republican” to “Libertarian.” In June, he filed a Declaration of Candidacy as a Libertarian Party candidate for Governor. He represents Seabrook.

New Hampshire voter registration forms have a blank line for political party choice, so any person can register into any party. However, New Hampshire election officials won’t tally such registrations unless the party is a qualified party. Thanks to Andy Craig for this news.

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National Conference of State Legislatures Publishes Data on Women in State Legislatures

The Associated Press has used research from the National Conference of State Legislatures to show which states have the highest percentage of women in state legislature and other important public office, and which states have the lowest. See it here. Thanks to Carla Marinucci for the link.

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Law Professor Bob Bauer Hails FEC Decision to Let Non-Profit Corporations Donate to Convention Delegates

Law Professor Bob Bauer praises the outcome in Unnamed Plaintiff #1 v Federal Election Commission. See the blog post earlier today about that case. Thanks to Rick Hasen for the link.

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Tennessee Re-Defines “Political Party” to Make it More Difficult for a Party to Remain Ballot-Qualified

Earlier this year, the Tennessee legislature passed HB 2079, which makes it more difficult for a party to remain on the ballot. The old law said that a party was a group that had polled 5% for a statewide race at either of the last two elections. The new law says it is a group that polled 5% for a statewide race at the last election. The bill passed unanimously and was signed into law on April 28, 2016.

The motive for the bill was the Green Party win in the Sixth Circuit of July 2, 2015. The old law said a group that successfully petitioned for party status was then entitled to be on the ballot for one election. The Sixth Circuit had ruled that the law was discriminatory. A new party that successfully petitioned only got one election, but an old party had two elections to meet the vote test.

The flaw in the law could have been fixed in two ways: either the law could have said that a petitioning group is entitled to two elections; or the law could have deprived old parties of the ability to meet the vote test at either of the last two elections. The legislature chose the restrictive solution instead of the liberalizing solution.

States that allow a party to meet the vote test at either of the last two elections, instead of just the last election, are Arizona, Colorado, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oregon, Utah, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

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Tennessee Re-Defines “Political Party” to Make it More Difficult for a Party to Remain Ballot-Qualified

Earlier this year, the Tennessee legislature passed HB 2079, which makes it more difficult for a party to remain on the ballot. The old law said that a party was a group that had polled 5% for a statewide race at either of the last two elections. The new law says it is a group that polled 5% for a statewide race at the last election. The bill passed unanimously and was signed into law on April 28, 2016.

The motive for the bill was the Green Party win in the Sixth Circuit of July 2, 2015. The old law said a group that successfully petitioned for party status was then entitled to be on the ballot for one election. The Sixth Circuit had ruled that the law was discriminatory. A new party that successfully petitioned only got one election, but an old party had two elections to meet the vote test.

The flaw in the law could have been fixed in two ways: either the law could have said that a petitioning group is entitled to two elections; or the law could have deprived old parties of the ability to meet the vote test at either of the last two elections. The legislature chose the restrictive solution instead of the liberalizing solution.

States that allow a party to meet the vote test at either of the last two elections, instead of just the last election, are Arizona, Colorado, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oregon, Utah, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

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Federal Election Commission Settles Lawsuit, and Agrees that Non-Profit Corporations May Donate to Delegates to Presidential Conventions

The federal campaign finance laws let individuals donate as much money as they wish to Delegates to presidential conventions, or to candidates for Delegate. However, the laws do not permit corporations to donate any money to Delegates, or to candidates for Delegate. However, on July 22, the FEC settled a lawsuit, and now will let non-profit corporations donate to Delegates or candidates for Delegate.

The lawsuit had been filed on May 25, 2016, by two unnamed Delegates to the Republican national convention. They had argued that they want to receive free legal help from a legal non-profit corporation, the Pillar of Law Institute. They said they might need legal help because they oppose Donald Trump and that Trump had threatened to sue or otherwise harass them if they tried to defeat Trump for the nomination. The Complaint had started out with these sentences: “The 2016 election season has become a dangerous environment. As explained by Roger Stone, ally of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, “We will disclose the hotels and the room numbers of those delegates who are directly involved in the steal.” The case is Unnamed Plaintiff #1 v FEC, filed in Wyoming U.S. District Court, 2:16cv-135. Thanks to the Center for Competitive Elections for this news.

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