Attention America’s Young Voters: Is Your Vote In?

Posted in Uncategorized on April 23, 2008 by melbuck

Some believe that third parties are great contributors to our democratic system, while others believe third party candidates to be “spoilers.” This article from FOX News claims that young voters are more likely to support third party candidates because their ties to major parties are not as strong, but at the same time more than half of the young people who participated in a survey by the associated press said that they would not be likely to support a third party candidate at all. Young people who may have been more likely to vote for a third party candidate or declare themselves as independent in elections that have come to pass, seem to be more actively supporting candidates of major parties in this election. I think this is great, not that third parties are getting less support (I’m not trying to say that), but the fact that finally there are candidates out there who are energizing young people and encouraging them to WANT to participate, to WANT to be better informed, to WANT to vote! This could be setting a great example for future elections and campaign tactics; for so long people have pondered the question of how do we get young voters to participate, well I see this election as a significant step forward.

Check out this article, what do you think?


Over-Coming Barriers

Posted in Fringe Candidate, Republican Party, Third Party Info on April 23, 2008 by emuell2

In parting at least for a while I want to leave you all with these last few facts. There are four barriers that largely contribute to the lack of success of third party candidates. They are the: winner-take all system, electoral college, ballot access laws and debate rules.

Among these barriers are straight ballot voting which allows voters to vote either for all the Democrats or Republicans on a given ticket, eliminating the possibility for casting votes for alternative party candidates.

Discouraging isn’t it??? Some democracy.

Heres one solution that may even solve the ‘spoiler’ problem. An alternative voting method called Range Voting, which allows voters to rank candidates and assigns scores to those candidates.

“Range voting permits voters to express their opinions about any number of candidates (not just one). It eliminates the “spoiler,” “wasted vote,” and “candidate cloning” problems. All candidates compete on a level playing field, whether Democrats, Republicans, Independent, or other. It’s simple enough to run on all of today’s voting machines.”

Also if your interested and want to participate in a truly free democracy, fight to get Ralph Nader or other third party candidates on the ballot in your state. Its the only way that change will ever occur.

What’s goin’ on in other places?

Posted in Third Party Info, Uncategorized on April 23, 2008 by melbuck

In any two party system a group that represents a different set of beliefs or values is called a “third party.” This is not an idea or term exclusive to the United States government. Here are a few other examples of third parties that can be found in other places in the world…


In the UK third parties have had such success in gaining awareness and number that the UK is not nearly a two party system any more. Their House of Commons is dominated by the Conservative and Labour party, BUT the once the Liberals and Social Democrats joined together seeing as they share similar views they formed a sizable and recognizable force. They have enough support to make a difference in electoral results. I also found the Contract Act of 1999, which is a contract that lays down the rules for third parties in the UK. It’s pretty cool to see that it is enforced by the QUEEN under the advice of lords : ) Check it out.

AUSTRALIA uses four different voting systems

  1. First-Past-The-Post (also called Simple Majority; single winner)
  2. Instant Runoff Voting (IRV, also called preferential voting; single winner) 
  3. Multiwinner Proportional Representation based on Hare/Droop reweighted single transferable vote (STV) [Australian Senate]. Originally each state elected 6 senators but in 1949 that was changed to 10 and reweighting was added to the STV to make it become more proportional. Voting was made compulsory for voters to list all preferences.
  4. Multiwinner Hare-Clark Proportional Representation STV system
Australia is not entirely 2 party dominated, but according to Australian analysts the preferential voting system that Australia uses promotes a two party system and the detriment of minor parties and independents. The two major parties are the Labour party and the Liberal party (the National party can also be seen as a key player in politics, but it is really a junior party of the Liberal party). But thanks to the multisystem proportional representation minor parties such as The Australian Democrats, Greens, One Nation, Family First, and Christian Democrats are able to hold Senate seats, which would not be very likely using the preferential voting system. 
Here’s an interesting one…
Vietnam has a communist government so legally there is ONLY the Communist Party of Vietnam, which governs the Socialist Republic. But there are a number of groups organized among exiled communities that have supported demonstrations and civil disobedience against the government. One of the most well known of these groups is the Vietnamese Constitutional Monarchist League which consists of former officials of the South Vietnamese government, religious figures, Vietnamese exiles, and sympathizers from the United States, Canada, Australia and Europe. Although this is not a third party, or even a second party for that matter, it plays a similar role as an opposing party would. The group works to pressure the Vietnam government for a multi-party system and equal treatment for all citizens regardless of political party, religion or ethnicity.

Ballot Access

Posted in Ballot Access, Constitution Party, Cynthia McKinney, Democratic Party, Green Party, Libertarian Party, Ralph Nader, Republican Party, Third Party Info on April 23, 2008 by Sam Kirchner

OK so I’m taking this class called “Managing Political Campaigns” with Commissioner Mike Quigley. We’ve had some pretty amazing guest speakers:

Julianna Smoot, Barack Obama’s National Finance Director-probably the best finance director in the history of politics, no exaggeration.

Joe Trippi, the campaign manager for Howard Dean in ’04 and John Edwards in ’08.

This Thursday, Mark Halperin, political analyst for TIME magazine who runs one of the more popular campaign websites: The Page.

But for the purposes of this website, the most significant speaker we’ve had is Mike Kasper. He’s an election lawyer for the Illinois Democratic Party, and a professor in the Loyola-Chicago law school. He’s been described as “[Illinois] house speaker Michael Madigan’s favorite election lawyer.” Why? He’s an expert at knocking people off the ballot using “ticky-tacky technicalities.” He bragged in his lecture to our class that he knocked an incumbent mayor in Indiana (Pennsylvania, maybe?) off the ballot for forgetting to number the pages on his petitions. So basically Madigan, described by Quigley as “the kingpin of kingpins,” sends Kasper around to knock as many people off the ballot as possible who challenge Madigan’s handpicked candidates, and that’s just within the Democratic Party.

Ballot access is a huge issue for third-parties, obviously. At the Nader speech, they said they needed 25,000 signatures to get on the ballot in Illinois, which would mean they have to collect 50,000 to survive a challenge by Kasper. Nader was knocked off the ballot in Illinois in 2004. Kasper said in his lecture that there are a certain number of signatures required for a Democrat or Republican candidate, (somewhere around 3,000) and then you multiply by ten to get to the number of signatures for an independent candidate, in most states.

So I thought I’d pass along this website called “Ballot Access News.” Most importantly, it has a nifty little table in its March 2008 newsletter, showing just exactly how many signatures are needed for a party to get on the ballot and a running count of how many each of the third parties have collected. You can look at the tables, but they’ll probably be updated as soon as new info comes in.

So currently, the Green Party is on the ballot in 21 states. The Libertarian Party is on in 28 states. The Constitution Party is on in 16 states. The Reform Party is on in 9 states. The Libertarians appear to have enough signatures to get on the ballot in Nebraska and North Carolina, and are close in New Hampshire, Ohio and South Dakota. The Greens are close in Alaska, Arizona and Utah. The Constitution Party is close in Ohio, South Dakota and West Virginia. Some of the values listed are “in court.” All of the parties have values listed in some states called “can’t start.” I’m not sure what that means, other than there might be a certain threshold needed to be met by a certain date, and the parties missed their deadlines.

Who’s ready for a 5-way?

Posted in Alan Keyes, Bob Barr, Constitution Party, Fringe Candidate, Libertarian Party, Mike Gravel, Republican Party on April 21, 2008 by Sam Kirchner

Alan Keyes

USA Today (via Salon), reveals that, uh…interesting human being Alan Keyes has left the Republican Party, and may switch to the Constitution Party.

Those in Illinois may remember him as they guy who ended up being canon fodder for Barack Obama’s Senate run in ’04.

Others may remember him as the gadfly of the last 3 Republican campaigns for president in 1996, 2000 and 2008.

Still others may remember him as the guy who jumped into a mosh pit for Michael Moore’s old TV show. (Unfortunately can’t find that video)

And yet others may know him as the guy who literally disowned his daughter when he found out she was gay.

So here’s what Keyes has to say about his former fellow Republicans:

Keyes singled out the nation’s present “border issue” as a reason he is leaving the GOP, saying it is a “threat to the sovereignty to the American people.”

“There are clear signs that our leaders no longer have an allegiance to the sovereign people of the United States,” Keyes said.

“I kind of expected that on the Democrat side. …. And the Republicans are presumed to nominate somebody who is anti-Republican. It puts a lie to the label and puts me in a position where I must question my ability any longer to participate in a party that has departed from its own identity.”

And what of the Constitution Party? Well, according to the article: “The Constitution Party says its mission is to limit the federal government to functions spelled out in the U.S. Constitution and “restore American jurisprudence to its original Biblical common-law foundations.”

And who is the fifth, assuming Obama, McCain, Keyes, and Nader are the 4? It’s former congreessman Bob Barr, who is considering a run on the libertarian ticket.

Bob Barr

Gravel vs. Barr vs. Root. Watch out America.

Ron Paul still hanging in there

Posted in Republican Party, Ron Paul on April 21, 2008 by Sam Kirchner

You may have thought Ron Paul had dropped out of the race. Hell, I worked for him for a while and I thought he did, if not officially then at least for all intents and purposes. But in recent weeks I had been hearing that he was getting back in it in Pennsylvania. Then I went to the Politico, one of the most cynical and depressing political websites in the world, but which occasionally has good info.

Ron Paul is running a radio ad in PA, and Politico has it:

Also got an e-mail today. The much rumored Ron Paul march on Washington is a go and set for Saturday July 12, at 9:00 AM. Here’s the website.

Ralph Nader’s Speech

Posted in Ballot Access, Green Party, Ralph Nader on April 17, 2008 by Sam Kirchner

Emily, Professor Coffman, and I went to go see Ralph Nader speak last night. It was a little surprising to see that the theater where we were was only about half-full. Maybe it wasn’t too well promoted. Anyway, it was a very interesting speech.

Lucky for me, I taped it. Unlucky for you, I’m having extraordinary difficulty uploading it to the internet for a variety of reasons so you’ll have to settle for this:

UPDATE: Parts 1 and 2 are now up

Update #2: So here it is, after 2 days and several excruciating hours of editing it into 10 minute chunks to meet Youtube’s size requirement. The 4th one is choppy as hell and missing about 5 minutes because my battery died no less than 3 times.

Update 3: Some people seem to be having problems with the videos. I clicked on them once, and couldn’t get them, then I clicked on them again and I got them and I’m not having a problem anymore. If you can’t get them, here are some of the comments on technology I was referring to in my post, though they really pervaded the whole speech:

Nader: …They [the Democratic candidates for president] don’t even mention that 18,000 people, the equivalent of six 9/11’s, die in this country because they can’t afford health care? In the land of the free, home of the brave? Update your profile on Facebook some more before we wake up! And take back our country! Our country! Our future!


I see a lot of young people here, from DePaul and other colleges and universities. I wonder about them. I wonder about them. They’re sensitive, they want a better country, but how do they use their time? Your generation listens to music six times more than our generation. Six times. There’s only 24 hours in a day. Text messaging, cell phones. “Where are you?” “Where are you?” a minute later. “Where are you?” five seconds-five nanoseconds later. Gossip, silly talk, trivial talk, while your future’s being torn from you.”

Then after that he just rips on 20 year-olds for like 5 more minutes.

My thoughts on the speech are kind of long, so just click “read more” below the videos to read them.

part 1

part 2

part 3

part 4

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