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February 8, 2012 California Secretary of State Debra Bowen has given no explanation to the party's state chair for omitting two of the four presidential candidates in the Peace and Freedom Party from the primary ballot. Peace and Freedom Party State Chair C.T. Weber of Sacramento calls the omission "unlawful," and the omitted candidates are protesting the decision.

In a statement issued today, party chair Weber cites Elections Code sections that specify how presidential primary candidates are supposed to be selected by the Secretary of State, and suggests that code sections covering other parties may have improperly been applied to the Peace and Freedom Party candidates. He also cites a failure by the Secretary of State to consult party county chairs, as specifically required in the Elections Code, and accuses Bowen of failing to consider as required by law the letter submitted to her by C.T. Weber on behalf of the Peace and Freedom Party State Executive Committee that listed all four candidates for inclusion. "No Secretary of State has ever overruled our party's report listing our primary candidates," says Weber, "until this mistaken decision by Secretary Bowen."

In the list announced Monday night, Bowen included Stewart Alexander and Rocky Anderson on the ballot, but omitted Peta Lindsay and Stephen Durham. Weber was unable to get an explanation when he went to the Secretary of State's Sacramento office the next morning, and reports that officials in the office refused to divulge what criteria Bowen used to make her choices, who was present at the meeting where the criteria were developed, and whether Bowen herself was present at the meeting.

Richard Becker of San Francisco, a spokesman for the Peta Lindsay campaign, calls the omission of her name "absolutely unjustifiable under the law." Candidate Stephen Durham of New York City says "I strongly object to the attempt by the California Secretary of State to steal away the rights of those who want to vote for a bona fide socialist feminist candidate for president."

The Secretary of State may add to her list after its announcement, and Weber urges her to do so. "Our voters are seriously considering four candidates, and they deserve to have the Secretary of State follow the law and list all four on the primary ballot," he says.

For further information: C.T. Weber (916) 320-9186 (cell); (916) 422-5395 (home)


February 8, 2012

Late on February 6th Secretary of State Debra Bowen's office released her list of candidates for President of the United States who would appear on the primary election ballots of the various parties in the presidential preference section. Breaking the precedent of the previous 36 years, this list for the first time omits many or most of the candidates reported to her by the state chairs of some of the political parties, including two of the four candidates that I reported to her were found by our State Executive Committee to be serious seekers of the Peace and Freedom Party nomination. (While Stewart Alexander and Rocky Anderson were listed, Stephan Durham and Peta Lindsay were omitted.)

Visiting her office yesterday, I found that her staff was determined to keep secret the criteria used by the Secretary of State in selecting her choices for the ballot, refused to tell me who attended the meeting at which the criteria were determined, refused to tell me whether Bowen was present at that meeting, and refused to justify in any way her omission of candidates who are clearly serious about obtaining the Peace and Freedom Party nomination, and generally considered serious candidates by party activists (and by their opponents). I was told, to my astonishment, that Bowen could list any names she pleased without any logical criteria at all. This is not what it says in the elections code.

In fact, the Elections Code (section 6720) states that the Secretary of State shall include the names of candidates recognized throughout California as active candidates for the Peace and Freedom Party nomination for President. All four of the names submitted are in fact those of candidates who are recognized, and have some support, from all areas of California, as well as various other parts of the country. This may not be apparent from reports in the commercial media, but Peace and Freedom Party activists have never depended on the commercial media for their information about presidential candidacies, as the commercial media rarely mention our candidates at all. The publications of various groups on the left, the blogs and websites and e-mail lists used by those on the left to communicate with each other, and communication at meetings and rallies through word-of-mouth and leaflets, are the "media" used by Peace and Freedom members to learn about the various candidates who seek our presidential nomination.

It appears possible that the Secretary of State may have unlawfully developed a list of criteria for selecting recognized candidates that is the same for candidates in all parties. In fact, the criteria in the election code differ for each party. For example, coverage in the news media is a legal criterion in the American Independent Party (EC section 6520), but is purposely omitted in the Peace and Freedom Party section of the code. Qualifying for funding under the Federal Elections Campaign Act is included in the criteria for the Democratic Party (EC section 6041), but is purposely omitted in the Peace and Freedom Party section of the code. The unjustifiable secrecy being maintained around the Secretary of State's list of criteria may conceal the mistaken and unlawful development of a common list of criteria for all parties, and if this is the case, the Secretary of State should come clean, and admit the mistake, while adding the improperly omitted candidates to the list for the ballot.

The Elections Code (section 6721) provides that the Secretary of State shall ask the State Chair and the County Chairs of the Peace and Freedom Party for information regarding presidential candidates, and states that any information they wish to submit "will be considered by the Secretary of State." In fact, in 2012, the Secretary of State failed to make this request of the various County Chairs, although their names and contact information are available to her, and obviously failed to consider the information submitted by the State Chair on behalf of the State Executive Committee of the party. This is not a choice available to the Secretary of State under the law, but is a lapse and a failure to follow the law.

While those omitted may circulate petitions among Peace and Freedom Party voters to have their names added, this is a serious burden that is not supposed to be imposed on generally recognized candidates. It is highly unfair to list two of the recognized candidates, but force the other two of them to put in substantial work and money to obtain the primary ballot access the first two have without this work and expenditure.

The Elections Code (section 6722) states that the Secretary of State may add to her announced selections after the announcement is made. I strongly urge Secretary of State Bowen to consider the information now being submitted to her office to demonstrate that all four of the candidates reported to her by our party as serious candidates are indeed serious candidates, and announce at the earliest possible date the addition of the two omitted candidates to the list of those who will appear on the ballot.

I further urge Secretary of State Bowen, who was elected and re-elected as the candidate who would make the functioning of her office more transparent, to release her criteria for selecting candidates for the presidential preference primary, the names of those present when those criteria were developed, and how those criteria were used to select two but omit two others on the list submitted by the Peace and Freedom Party's elected leadership. -C.T. Weber, California State Chair, Peace and Freedom Party

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