Steve G.

LP validity rate in Connecticut only 54%, 500 short of requirement

In Libertarian Party-US, Politics on September 16, 2008 at 9:14 am

From Ballot Access News:

Connecticut elections officials say the Libertarian presidential petition lacks approximately 500 valid signatures. Libertarian activist Andy Rule will be reviewing these findings. The party submitted over 12,000 signatures to meet a requirement of exactly 7,500 signatures, but elections officials say only 54% of the signatures were valid.

A 54% validity rate?  Who was petitioning in Connecticut?

  1. E*** D****** R******* is the only one I know for sure. He was working with Ronn Cook in other New England states, so Ronn was probably there. I am sure there were probably quite a few more people there too.

    Big thanks to Sean for telling Jake Witmer not to go to Connecticut just as he was about to leave. Also, LP petitioner non grata Gary Fincher was right next door in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, and of course was not welcome to work in Connecticut.

    Additionally, I had considered working in Connecticut much earlier, when the LP ended its drive in Massachusetts; at the time I was staying 1.5 miles from the Connecticut border. I was discouraged, and told that the in-state resident petitioner requirement was being stringently enforced, and registering to vote at a temporary address would not be good enough.

  2. Thanks to Bill Redpath, who refuses to fire Sean Haugh, who refuses to hire quality petitioners.

  3. I said a long time ago that I was worried about short ballot access. Even a fusion ticket would fail then. Deliberate sabotage seemed very possible, what with ties to conservatives, GOP, Rove & CIA. But nobody listens to me.

  4. Ballot access as it stands now:

    Barr is officially on in 44 states, plus as a write-in in DC. He is suing to be on the ballot in Louisiana, Oklahoma, Maine, and now probably Connecticut.

    He is not on the ballot at all in WV – apparently not even as a write-in, according to the ballot access chart at BAN.

    Phillies is on in Massachusetts, and Barr is suing for substitution. They are both on in NH, and Barr is suing to have Phillies removed from the ballot.

    Charles Jay is on the ballot in Florida, Colorado and Tennessee. Tom Stevens (Objectivist Party) is on in Florida and Colorado.

    Ron Paul, who was the LP candidate in ’88 and had/has the support of many LP members this year, is on the ballot in Louisiana and Montana, but as a Taxpayers or Constitution Party candidate.

    WV and DC are the only states where no current or former LP member is on the presidential ballot, along with Maine, Connecticut and Oklahoma if Barr loses the lawsuits there.


    Many Ron Paul supporters are supporting the Constitution Party, particularly after Barr snubbed Ron Paul. The CP is running Chuck Baldwin in 37 states, and is a registered write-in in every other state except DC, Georgia, North Carolina and Oklahoma.

    The states where Baldwin is on the ballot include West Virginia, Louisiana and Massachusetts.

    Of the two other candidates quasi-endorsed by Ron Paul, Ralph Nader is on the ballot in 45 states plus DC, and is a write-in in every other state except Oklahoma.

    The states where Nader is on the ballot include all the ones where Barr is not on the ballot, except that neither will be on in Oklahoma if Barr loses the lawsuit there.

    Barr will have to win at least two lawsuits (other than NH) to be on in as many states as Nader, and three to be on in more states than Nader.

    The Green Party is on the ballot in 32 states, and a write-in choice everywhere else except Oklahoma and South Dakota.

    Alan Keyes, who is described as “one of the three conservative Presidential candidates” in Barr/LPHQ statements (along with Baldwin and Barr), and who participated alongside Baldwin and Barr in anti-immigrant rallies, is on the ballot in California, Colorado and Florida; Baldwin is on the ballot in all these states except California, and Barr is on the ballot in all three.

    Oklahoma is the only states where none of these candidates will be on the ballot, if Barr loses his lawsuit, and it also has no write-in vote option.

  5. For my fellow spreadsheet-challenged Libs, I offer this simplified version of Richard’s more comprehensive chart:

    Good luck to Andy; checking signatures is an unpleasant job in the best of circumstances (i.e., when there’s time to actually get more to make up any deficit). In this case it must be a nightmare.

  6. Barr will also have to win at least two lawsuits to be on the ballot in as many states as Ron Paul in 1988, and three to be on in more states; otherwise this will be the worst ballot access year for the LP since 1984.

    If Barr wins all his lawsuits, he will have as many ballot lines as Badnarik (49 each). The LP or its Presidential candidate was on the ballot in every state in 1980, 1992, 1996 and 2000, except that L. Neil Smith was the candidate in Arizona in 2000.

    However, Barr will be on the ballot in more states than the LP was on in 1972, 1976 or 1984 even if he loses every lawsuit.

  7. Susan, slight error at bottom of your chart

    * Phillies on ballot; suing for substitution (in NC, both Phillies and Barr are on the ballot)

    That should be NH, not NC.

  8. Thanks, Paulie – corrected. THAT would be a nightmare!

    These situations are very difficult for state parties; creating division and enmity. Then outsiders make it worse by treating the state party as a monolithic whole or offering ‘helpful’ ‘advice’ that doesn’t really show full comprehension of the situation.

    Which, of course, I will now proceed to do. But! My words are directed at George Phillies, not the LP of NH.

    I wish George would pledge not to campaign as a LP candidate for president unless and until NH’s LP disaffiliates from the national party. As in fact it has done the exact opposite by asking the courts to remove Phillies from the ballot, George’s behavior regarding the NH ballot can only be seen as a de facto personal disaffiliation from the national LP.

    Actually, I wish he’d join the substitution suit, since he is by law prohibited from withdrawing his name from consideration – a pretty crappy statist requirement that George seems happy to use as an excuse for not pledging to stop active campaigning.

    I am sure this whole mess is creating quite an unhappy environment among Libs in NH; I know for certain that if such a situation developed here in NC, there would be a lot of unproductive argumentation and angst.

    Regardless, NH’s LP has been placed in an awkward position by George, and by deciding to join the suit the *Party* (not each individual) has said that it wishes for only one LP candidate on the ballot. This should have been a clear signal to George that his campaigning in NH was not welcomed *by the Party*, though it might be by individual Libertarians in NH.

    At any rate, an awkward mess. I wasn’t paying much attention to the LP on a national level in 2000, so I missed out on the Arizona business. I guess these sorts of problems are inevitable, but they certainly are minefields for real activism.

  9. Just noticed one other thing: the BAN chart lists Maine as “in court” rather than “too late,” as on Susan’s chart.

  10. Thanks, P! Fixed!

  11. According to ED, Nader petitioners also collected LP signatures in Connecticut. He blames them for deliberate sabotage, despite the fact that the two campaigns cooperated successfully in many other states, and that Nader’s ballot access coordinator (Christina Tobin) is an LP member.

    Another commenter says (comments 3, 4 and 5 in same thread)

    In Connecticut you should do a validity check of your sigs as you go. Signatures collected in the Hartford area should be counted as 40% valid in determining how many gross sigs you will need. Sigs collected outside of Hartford should be counted at 65%. Always use this rule of thumb in CT, unless you have some indicator to show your sigs are better.

    Further, do not include in your count any sigs that look difficult to read, or where the address is not completely legible. Use a phone book to check some pages for each petitioner to look for fabrications and forgeries.

    CT is one of the toughest states when it comes to verification.

    This is a terrible shame, of course, but it fits the total failure of whoever was managing this year’s ballot drives for the Barr campaign.

    If you want to get the 500 sigs you need, you will have to get a team of people to go town by town and research each individual voter registration of the rejected sigs and prove, one by one, that valid sigs were incorrectly invalidated or not found.

    It’s much easier to collect an adequate number in the first place.

    This petition drive was mismanaged in the same way and has failed for the same reasons as it was in 2004 when Marshall Fritz was the coordinator for Bergland.

    Our only hope is to really go in there with a team and recheck every rejected signature by hand in the town offices.

    Good luck.

  12. Same person @ BAN

    Coming back to the LP Says:
    September 16th, 2008 at 7:53 am

    Is it true that several long-time professional LP petitioners were never contacted to work on these drives while time was short and failure was looming inexorably ahead?

    The answer is yes, as LFV readers already know.

  13. That “whoever” in the section I emphasized in #11 would be Sean Haugh and Scott Kohlhaas, just in case anyone reading does not already know.

  14. Susan,

    The LPNH State Convention nominated me a year and a half ago. It explicitly denied the LPNH ExComm the authority to make substitutions in its nominations, or so I am assured by the people who were there. The LPNH Executive Committee nonetheless voted to join a suit for substitution with LNC as lead plaintiff.

    A document, referring to some suit for “substitution”, has been filed with Federal District court in Concord.

    The Libertarian Party statewide candidates/campaign managers (one of each) and one of the Congressional candidates are asking me to stay in the race and campaign actively. The Senate candidate (Blevens, fine Libertarian) is not pleased that Barr actively funds his Republican opponent, Sununu, for $3000. Barr, in his pass through NH, promised a matching $3000 for Blevens. This is on tape. Blevens reports he is still waiting.

    In MA, the suit is for the right to substitute. It is under way.


  15. “failed for the same reasons as it was in 2004 when Marshall Fritz was the coordinator for Bergland.”


  16. The LPNH State Convention nominated me a year and a half ago. It explicitly denied the LPNH ExComm the authority to make substitutions in its nominations, or so I am assured by the people who were there.

    This should be a matter of record.

    The Libertarian Party statewide candidates/campaign managers (one of each) and one of the Congressional candidates are asking me to stay in the race and campaign actively.

    If you were to pledge to not campaign actively, those folks might be disappointed but their quarrel would not be with fellow NH Party members. By remaining in the race and pledging to campaign actively you have made your candidacy a cause for divisiveness within the LP of NH.

    The Senate candidate (Blevens, fine Libertarian) is not pleased that Barr…

    Many Libertarians are ‘not pleased’ with much of Barr’s work as a candidate. That is not the issue here.

  17. For the vital info, just read the parts in bold. The other parts are the evidence.

    I was hired to go to CT to petition by Scott Kohlhaas on Aug 31. Here is that email:
    Jake Witmer to CT‏
    Sent: Thu 7/31/08 7:23 AM

    Hi Sean! Jake has agreed to go to work for us starting 8/1/08 in CT where he has experience from 2004. He will be getting the standard deal we give everyone: $1.50 per sig, hotel reimbursement, car rental reimbursement, gas reimbursement and travel out of the last state in which he works for us. He has agreed to go to ME between 8/6/08 and 8/8/08 if necessary. Thanks! Scott Kohlhaas

    Then, Sean Haugh fired me on Aug 1 (my birthday), forbidding me from ever working for the LP IN ANY STATE.
    From: Sean Haugh (
    Sent: Fri 8/01/08 3:22 PM
    To: jake witmer (
    Cc: Shane Cory (;; Sean Haugh (; Robert Kraus (;; (; (

    Jake, based on this rant alone, I will never hire you. I don’t need the drama. Please do not contact me in the future and do not think for a moment you are working for us in Connecticut, Alabama or any other state. yours in liberty -Sean Haugh Political Director, Libertarian Party
    …What arrogance and incompetence! To take it upon himself to spend his time calling State Libertarian Parties, and demanding that THEY not honor their offers to rehire me!

    I don’t know if Haugh sent this email without informing Kohlhaas,(since Kohlhaas wouldn’t answer his phone for a week, I have to assume he was playing petty “mess with my head” power games, like he did when he refused to answer calls from petitioners whom he owed payment to in 2006 –for 6 months), but if so, his actions are even more unprofessional than they appear, since I was sent conflicting messages from Kohlhaas and Sean Haugh: that I was both “hired” and “fired” at the same time. (Keep in mind that the clock was ticking on the rental car I was driving, that Kohlhaas had indicated I would be reimbursed for, if I drove it to CT. I had to eat that expense, after deciding to keep the car. I simply went to AL, and my efforts were wasted in a state that didn’t need my work. I did 616 volunteer signatures for the AL LP, as I worked for the CP in AL, where I was not needed, …as CT was failing.)

    I have a long history of successfully working for the LP, mostly while Bill Redpath was the ballot access coordinator (the same job that the inept Sean Haugh now occupies, under the title “Political Director”. For the record: Bill Redpath was highly effective in this position, since he was his own boss, and he is a logical and motivated person. The only trouble with Bill Redpath as a chairman is his current subordinates gross incompetence, and his lack of willingness to cut them loose for interfering with the LP’s activist base).

    Even if you buy into the idea that Haugh has the right to fire me (and the others) and “blacklist” me (and the others) without a hearing –apparently because he has a personality conflict with me– Haugh (and the CT LP) could obviously really have used me in CT, and were it not for Haugh, I would have gone there, and collected desperately needed signatures, with the full blessing of the CT LP.

    I had an open invitation from the CT LP to return to CT to work for them in the future, when I left CT in 2004.

    Haugh rendered that invitation “null and void” based on his privileged knowledge of a personal disagreement between myself, Russell Verney, and Shane Cory.

    All of the above is true to the best of my knowledge, and I can verify all of it with time-stamped emails. I am also happy to clarify any of this over the phone. Ask me any questions you like, I have nothing to hide.

    I am also happy to enter into a moderated Q & A session with Sean Haugh or any of my other critics. Again, I have nothing to hide, and everything to gain from the truth being known.

    It appears to me that there is no good mechanism for getting rid of grossly unqualified people in positions of power at the National LP HQ. Perhaps there is some unfortunate way that Redpath documenting Haugh and Kohlhaas’s abuses would reflect poorly upon him. Perhaps there is some inefficiency in the structure of the LP’s organization that would cause him to personally pay a price for eliminating Haugh from the payroll.

    If this is so, then it’s a shame. Redpath himself appears to be fair and committed to logic and justice. He doesn’t favor any side in the argument until he has personal knowledge of the facts. This is a good attribute.

    Hopefully the facts are becoming clear by this point.

    I’m still trying to figure out how Sean Haugh’s prohibition on me working in AZ benefits the LP. And how does banning any Libertarian Party Member from paid COMMISSION-BASED WORK benefit the LP?

    Was there ever a problem with my work? What are those problems? Do they hold up under cross examination?

    If not, who’s afraid to answer questions?


    Jake Witmer
    cell: 907-250-5503

    PS: If anyone wants to chop the dramatic overhead off of the Scott Kohlhaas and Sean Haugh fundraising and petitioning team, they can contribute to 2010 and 2012 Nationwide LP ballot access at:

    Thanks for the vision, if you have it!

  18. New @ BAN


    # Gary Says:
    September 17th, 2008 at 10:47 am

    Eric Dondero Says:
    September 16th, 2008 at 7:10 am
    This is all the fault of George Phillies.

    No, this is NOT the fault of George Phillies, in any way, shape, form or fashion.

    This is purely and squarely the fault of Sean Haugh.

    Haugh didn’t TRY to succeed, then failed; Haugh NEVER tried to succeed. He had valuable resources at his disposal, which he scoffed at, at the expense of the entire state parties of CT, MA, ME, WV and DC, to name but a few.

    It’s malfeasance at its very worst.

    If I had been in Connecticut, I could have picked up the 500 valid signatures in 3-4 days, and I’m probably the most prolific LP petitioner in the history of CT petition drives (unless I stand corrected with new information to the contrary).

    # Andy Says:
    September 17th, 2008 at 11:00 am

    There were two expierenced, (REAL) Libertarian petitioners who were ready and in place to petition in Connecticut, but Sean Haugh, or more appropriately, Sean the HaHa boy, blocked them from working there for no legitimate reason.

    One of them was Jake Witmer who was actually about to drive from West Virginia to Connecticut. Sean the Haha boy blocked him for the “horrible offense” of Jake having responded to an unfounded personal attack that was launched against him by Shane Cory. Jake is a vetran petitioner who has worked Connecticut before and is also an actual Libertarian activist.

    The other Libertarian petitioner was Gary Fincher who was actually in Massachusetts and then Rhode Island when the LP ballot access petition drive in Connecticut was happening. Gary has been a Libertarian activist since 1989 and a Libertarian petitioner since 1991 and is one of the top petitioners in the country. Gary has petitioned in Connecticut 5 times and was more than capable of being the difference maker in Connecticut. Sean the Haha boy actually knew that Gary was in New England because Gary gathered 2,000 signatures for Libertarian Party ballot access in Massachusetts. Gary had petitioned in Massachusetts on many occassions and was personally invited to Massachusetts by the State Chair of the Massachusetts LP, George Phillies.

    What was Sean Haugh’s reaction when he found out that long time Libertarian petitioner Gary Fincher had collected 2,000 signatures for LP ballot access in Massachusetts? Sean the Haha boy ILLEGALLY tried to get Carol McMahon of the Massachusetts LP to “BURN (quite literally)” the signatures collected by Mr. Fincher, and Sean the Haha boy even went so far as to say that the signatures should be burned “whether they had been paid for or not,” thus admitting that he had no problem defrauding Libertarian Party donors and/or Mr. Fincher. Also, it should be that in Massachusetts it actually says on the petitions that anyone who alters, defaces, destroys, or supresses a petition is guilty of a crime which carries fines of up to $1,000 and prison time of up to 1 year.

    Fortunately George Phillies, Carol McMahon, and other members of the Massachusetts LP were not deranged like Sean the Haha boy so the signatures did not get burned and Mr. Fincher was paid in full by the Massachusetts LP. Oh, and it turned out that the validity on these signatures collected by Mr. Fincher was high, unlike the low validity on the signatures collected by the mercenary petitioners that Sean the Haha boy hired for the Connecticut LP drive.

    After the petition burning scandal, Gary remained in New England where he gathered petition signatures for the Constitution Party. I personally called up Bill Redpath (whom Gary has known since 1991) 3 or 4 times to let him know that Gary was in New England and was ready, willing, and able to petition for the Libertarian Party in Rhode Island, Connecticut, and/or Maine (another state where the LP ended up failing and where Gary has extensive petitioning expierence). I suppose that Sean the Haha boy’s irrational temper tantrum was more important than getting the jobs done right, because Gary never got called.

    Myself and another Libertarian petitioner named Mark were working on LP ballot access in the Northeast earlier this year and we ended up leaving that area because Sean the Haha boy was trying to lower our pay. This was at the same that Sean the Haha boy was paying out higher rates to mercenary petitioners who were producing LOWER validity. We could have bailed out the ballot drives in New England had Haha boy not screwed around with us earlier this year.

    # Gary Says:
    September 17th, 2008 at 11:02 am

    Coming back to the LP Says: Sorry, but you’re naive about what other parties have done to the LP in deals:They have collected sigs as an exchange and then thrown them away rather than deliver.”

    Isn’t it the other way around, nowadays (although I really, really wish I could agree with you, but can’t)?

    As far as I know, Nader and the Constitution Party – even the Socialist Party – treats their contractors honorably, pays their bills on time, and generally lives up to their bargains.

    The LP? Not so much.

    # Andy Says:
    September 17th, 2008 at 11:55 am

    I’d like to see a financial analysis of how much money the mismanaged ballot access failures from Sean Haugh have cost the Libertarian Party. I bet that it is well over $100,000 that has been pissed away with nothing to show for it.

    # Andy Says:
    September 17th, 2008 at 11:58 am

    “Coming back to the LP Says:
    September 16th, 2008 at 10:01 am
    Sorry, but you’re naive about what other parties have done to the LP in deals:

    They have collected sigs as an exchange and then thrown them away rather than deliver.

    They have agreed to swap delivery town by town, but while the LP drivers delivered the other party’s sigs, the other party did not deliver the LP sigs.

    They have collected good sigs on their own petitions, but had invalid signers sign the LP petitions. And thus, everyone got to sign once.”

    I’ve NEVER heard of anyone from the Ralph Nader campaign or the Constitution Party doing anything like this.

    Also, petitioners are independent contractors and should be able to negotiate with other parties themselves if they want to carry their petitions. The only time that this should be barred would be if there is a state law that prohibits people from signing and/or gathering signatures on more than one petition.

  19. […] the time of publication, there was no comment from Scott Kohlhaas, who reportedly also played a role in managing the LP 2008 ballot access […]

  20. LNC set a policy for separate funding and auditing of ballot access both as a general rule and after a study showed many irregularities. In brief, my understanding was the study found that petitioners associated with what is today the LRCand the RLC falsified signatures or vanished, and money was not accounted for by national staff. Much of the money simply vanished.

    This had been going on for years. They got away with it because LP petitions had never been audited by LNC, this kind of thing is not captured by GAAP practices and signatures were rarely examined by States. The fund was also supposed to raise money to help states end ballot access restrictions and promote refrenda laws.

    Redpath made killing the ballot access fund his first priority, again mixing funds into murky and poorly tracked general staff monies while killing off the anti-ballot access restriction fundraising. LNC adopted GAAP stanbdards and ended project management standards so once again the ballot access funds could become the officer’s slush fund if they were so inclined.

    Wonder of wonders, a State gets curious and finds plenty of phony signatures, nearly half. And the money spent?

    I fear it’s the tip of the self-created iceberg, folks, for the LNC Titanic.

  21. In brief, my understanding was the study found that petitioners associated with what is today the LRCand the RLC falsified signatures or vanished, and money was not accounted for by national staff. Much of the money simply vanished.

    When? Where? Who?

  22. Wonder of wonders, a State gets curious and finds plenty of phony signatures, nearly half. And the money spent?

    I would not say nearly half were phony. Most of these were probably thrown out on technicalities, such as for example the person moved and put down the wrong address, or put his or her name not exactly the same way as on the voter card (Mike instead of Michael, married name rather than maiden name, initials rather than full first name, middle name instead of first name), put down a PO Box, or signed for the wrong town.

    Some were probably thrown out because the signer’s signature had changed over the years, or they abbreviated their signature to make it fit in the box or save time. Some people claimed to be registered voters but weren’t. Some were, but whoever was checking the signatures made a data entry error when checking, or the printing was hard to read and the signature checker guessed wrong. In some cases there are problems with the databases, and if you do not hit the space bar before typing in the name it does not come up. I’ve been able to boost my validity, and other people’s, about 15% on average when double checking what state bureaucrats come up with.

    That being said, some petitioners probably were not careful in asking everyone if they were registered voters, and whether their name or address had changed since the last time they registered to vote. This probably has very little to do with LP caucus politics. Many petition contractors subcontract to whoever is willing and able to push a clipboard, including street people and hard drug addicts. Political parties without the resources to get validity disks and have people on the ground checking signatures as they go, especially when scrambling like hell to beat a deadline, make easy prey for these folks, because they know their validity will not get checked before they get paid.

  23. LOL! 54% validity and ballot access failure in Connecticut. You see, this is what happens when you put irrational fools in charge of ballot access (and anything else for that matter). I warned about stuff like this happening months ago and once again, it appears that I was right.


  24. All hail the amazing Andy.

  25. Petitioning has zero to do with LP caucus politics. Still, it’s entertaining watching “Ken” rail against the vast and secret power of the Reform Caucus. That’s why we haven’t yet dispatched him with our orbiting death ray.

  26. […] the time of publication, there was no comment from Scott Kohlhaas, who reportedly also played a role in managing the LP 2008 ballot access […]

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