Independence Party News

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Updated August 26, 2001

Ventura and Golisano Hint at Candidacies -
August - Tom Golisano, twice the Independence Party's candidate for Governor, was reported as saying that he might consider running again next year. Meanwhile, Jesse Ventura, the Minnesota Governor who is admired by many independent political activists, broadly hinted that he might have to limit President Bush to one term.

Syracuse and Utica Candidates Get Major Party Endorsement -
July - Independence Party member Jackie Zook has received the Republican endorsement for Syracuse school commissioner, and Independence State Committee member Pauline Finch was chosen to run for the city's Fourth District council seat. Republican State Senator John DeFrancisco nominated Finch, saying "Many of our candidates would not have won had they not had the Independence Party endorsement."

In Utica, long-time Independence Party activist and former Oriskany Falls mayor James Zecca has also received the Republican cross-endorsement for Common Council member from the city's First District.

Same Day Registration -
February - At this month's State Committee meeting the party voted to support the concept of same-day voter registration, with appropriate safeguards against fraud and invasions of voters' privacy. Same-day registration is already law in at least half a dozen other states. In other actions, the State Committee revised its rules and appointed a committee to look into charges against some State Committee members.

2000 Election Results -
November - Our U.S. Senate candidate, former Watertown Mayor Jeffrey Graham, came in third with over 42,000 votes, ahead of five other candidates, after running a very credible campaign that brought some attention to the important reform issues in the party's platform. The Presidential candidate we endorsed, John Hagelin, got about 30,000 votes, over a third of his nationwide total and more than five times his 1996 statewide total, only about 3,000 votes behind Pat Buchanan. In a big win for the party, Thomas Whelan won a Supreme Court judgeship in the 10th Judicial District on Long Island, after being cross-endorsed by the Democratic, Conservative and Working Families Parties. Tom was an early active party member. Congratulations to these candidates and all the other Independence candidates working for political and governmental reform.

Besides these races for public office, four additional counties were able to elect and organize County Committees. They are Chautauqua, New York (Manhattan), Rensselaer, and Westchester Counties, joining previously organized Jefferson, Richmond (Staten Island) and Suffolk Counties. This is quite an achievement considering the election laws are written with only the two major parties in mind.

Ballot Access Win -
November - Long-time party activist and recent Congressional candidate Anita Lerman has won an important court victory for independents and insurgents seeking to get on the ballot. The federal 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled unconstitutional that section of New York State's Election Law that required witnesses to petition signatures to be residents of the same districts as the candidates for whom they were seeking signatures. This will make it easier for candidates, especially from smaller parties, to be able to recruit petitioners to help them get on the ballot. New York's ballot access laws are widely regarded as among the nation's most onerous. The case is Lerman v. Board of Elections. Full decision:

Read Tom Hamilton's comment on the Brooklyn Democratic organization's attempt to nullify the decision on a statewide basis within their party.

Party Still Growing Fast -
The November 1, 2000 figures from the Board of Elections show the Independence Party continuing to grow at a rapid pace. There are now 197,246 party members, an increase of almost 25,000, or 14.4%, over the March 1st count, and 38,000 in the past year. This compares to an overall increase in registered voters of 5.3% during the same 8-month period. The Democrats increased by 5.7%, the Republicans by 2.6%, and independents ("blanks") by 7.3%. The only parties growing faster are the brand-new Green and Working Families Parties, but together they have only 10% of the enrollment of the Independence Party.

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