Full and fair access to the electoral process is a right central to democracy  

MINUTES, COFOE MEETING OF JULY 15, 2012

Baltimore, MD

Attendees:

1. Tom McLaughlin, Reform Party
2. Phil Huckelberry, Green Party
3. Jean Miller, Constitution Party
4. Richard Winger, Libertarian Party

Minutes from last year's meeting were distributed and approved.

These officers were elected or re-elected to one-year terms: Chair Tom McLaughlin, Vice-Chair Gary Odom, Secretary Phil Huckelberry, Treasurer Alice Kelsey.

Although the Treasurer was not in attendance, she had given us a copy of a Treasurer's Report, which shows almost exactly $2,000 in the bank account. The bank account is in Flushing Savings Bank, 33 Irving Place, New York NY 10003, #68431325.

About fifteen visitors were in attendance, and sometimes some of them participated in the meeting.

Richard Winger summarized the ballot access lawsuits that are pending. The only pending lawsuit that COFOE has financially contributed to is Trudell v Markowitz, which is pending in the Vermont Supreme Court. COFOE had paid or raised most of the money to pay for the transcript. The issue is Vermont's June petition deadline for independent candidates. It is tied for being the earliest independent presidential petition deadline in the nation. The case will be argued in September 2012. The lower court had upheld the deadline.

The board resolved to declare that members of COFOE are expected not to challenge the presidential ballot access petitions of other minor parties or independent campaigns. Phil Huckelberry will write the precise wording. This action seems useful, because a few weeks ago, an officer of the Cook County, Illinois Green Party filed a challenge to the ballot access petitions of the Constitution Party, the Socialist Party, and the Justice Party. Although he later attempted to withdraw his challenge, he was too late, and those parties' presidential candidates will now not appear on the Illinois ballot.

The board voted to send a letter to the Americans Elect Board of Directors, asking that Americans Elect members and activists in each state be allowed to nominate presidential elector candidates, and certify them to state elections officials. It would be up to the Americans Elect activists in each state to decide which presidential candidate their electors would be pledged to. This could mean that Americans Elect would have a variety of presidential nominees around the nation. Chances are, this would assist various presidential candidates, such as Gary Johnson, Jill Stein, Virgil Goode, and others. The letter was sent on July 19, to these individuals who comprise the Americans Elect Board of Directors: (1) Peter Ackerman, PO Box 27875, Washington DC 20038; (2) Kahlil Byrd, PO Box 27875, Washington DC 20038; (3) Ambassador Stephen W. Bosworth, Dean, Fletcher School of Law, 160 Packard Ave., Medford Ma 02155; (4) Eliot R. Cutler, 1172 Shore Rd., Cape Elizabeth Me 04197; (5) Irvine O. Hockaday Jr, 2626 Verona Rd., Mission Hills Ks 66208; (6) Admiral Dennis Blair, Institute for Defense Analyses, 4850 Mark Center Drive, Alexandria Va 22311-1882; (7) Governor Christine Todd Whitman, Bx 146, Oldwick NJ 08858; (8) Joshua S. Levine, Kita Capital Management, 2095 Broadway, 5th fl., New York NY 10023.

The rationale for this letter is that Americans Elect's latest pronouncements seem to say that Americans Elect will not only not nominate a presidential candidate nationally, it intends to ask elections officials in the 30 states in which it is ballot-qualified to remove its qualified status. This suggests that Americans Elect Directors now intend to totally disband Americans Elect, forever. This attitude is different from the Americans Elect leadership during late May, when Americans Elect said although it would not have a national candidate for president this year, it hoped to do so in future years and hoped to preserve its ballot lines.

Obviously, if Americans Elect expects to utterly cease to exist, it seems reasonable to ask that its ballot lines be used for something useful this year. It is not clear that the national Americans Elect leadership has the power to prevent state units of Americans Elect from holding state conventions and nominating presidential elector candidates, in any event, but it would be good to have the blessing, or at least the neutrality, of the Board, if state units of Americans Elect do hold such state conventions and do nominate. The Oklahoma unit of Americans Elect has already met and determined that it will attempt to nominate presidential elector candidates pledged to Gary Johnson.

On other topics, there was general conversation about presidential debates, and on-line voting, and about the possibility of again having bills introduced into Congress to outlaw restrictive state ballot access laws for federal elections. Also, Richard Winger will mail invoices to the various organizations that participate on the COFOE board, to obtain dues of $50 from each. The meeting adjourned at 2:30 p.m.

cofoe

Coalition for Free and Open Elections