Recently, there have been confusing reports about the progress of ballot access in Massachusetts for our statewide candidates (President and U.S. Senate). This question is separate from the dispute over preserving nominating papers.
Last Fall, I had contacted the Massachusetts Secretary of State office. I asked if we could do petitioning for a Presidential candidate prior to our convention, and replace the candidate if someone else became the nominee. I received an affirmative answer, so LPMass raised money, recruited electors, made a guess as to the identity of the nominee, and began petitioning. LNC, Inc. recruited its own petitioners, and also began petitioning. I returned from Denver and asked the Secretary of State about the details of the substitution process. His office then announced that, no, we could not do substitution. I promptly called my personal attorney, the ACLU, and the National Office.
The following is the written replica–sent to make sure that we were on the same track–of my conversation with Sean Haugh, LNC political director. There were several obvious choices at this point, all equally acceptable to LPMass, so I let the LNC made the decision, which they did:
On Mon, June 9, 2008 1:04 pm, George Phillies wrote:
This is just to be certain that we are on the same page on Massachusetts Ballot Access.
Last Week, our Secretary of the Commonwealth ruled that we cannot do substitution for the Presidential nomination, and therefore that the candidates for whom we are currently petitioning would remain on the ballot if placed there.
This ruling was the opposite of the ruling they made last fall.
I noted to you three apparent options, of which you selected the first.
The options were:
1. Continue the present petition, which shows Phillies/Bennett as the Presidential team, and litigate to get substitution.
2. Continue the present petition, and accept that the Massachusetts ticket is Phillies/Bennett.
3. Find new electors, and restart the petition process for Barr/Root.
You said to me that you thought litigation would be a ‘slam dunk’ and that we should continue with the current petition, which is what we are doing.
Please confirm that I did not misunderstand the conversation.
Sena Haugh responded:
Howdy George! That’s correct, thanks. I’m talking to lawyers today, hope to get a lawsuit filed soonest.
yours in liberty –
Therefore, it was a decision of the National Party that petitioners should continue to collect signatures for the Phillies/Bennett Presidential ticket, and that is what was done. The LPMass State Committee simply went along with a national party decision.
I am pleased to note that we appear to have collected an adequate number of Massachusetts signatures, which we will start distributing to town clerks next week (actually, the first batch has already been distributed and collected).
In neighboring New Hampshire, a few more signatures are needed for several of the statewide candidates, namely candidate for Governor Sue Newell. Indeed, I went up to the Merrimack parade today, and as part of an OPH booth helped collect signatures. I already have enough signatures in the district, so we collected Newell/Barr nominating papers. Of a dozen papers, I collected five. There is petitioning for Bob Barr, because this is the only route that will get Barr on the ballot in New Hampshire.