Free the Voter Freedom Act

The Citizens Constitutional Caucus is a member of the Free the Vote Coalition, an alliance of political parties and public policy groups from across the political spectrum working to reform our state’s highly restrictive ballot access laws. The coalition is seeking to have HB 794 Voter Freedom Act, a study bill, passed out of the Senate Rules Committee and onto the Senate floor for action. Here is their message:

The legislative session is coming to a close, but HB 794 is stuck in the Senate Rules Committee.

The original bill would have dramatically lowered our state’s high ballot access barriers. We agreed with the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Jason Saine, when he urged us to support transforming the bill into a study bill in order to get it passed. And it did pass the House with an overwhelming 109-5 vote.

That was a month ago. Since then, both houses have been busy working on various budget and tax reform bills. The bill has been left dormant in the Senate Rules Committee.

Time is running out. The legislature may adjourn by the end of June. We need to take action now if we want real ballot access reform to begin.

Please call Sen. Tom Apodaca, Senate Rules Committee chair, at 919-733-5745 and urge him to move HB 794 Voter Freedom Act to the Senate floor.

Call your state Senator as well and ask them to let Sen. Apodaca know they support this legislation. You can look up you state Senator here.

HB 794 is a study bill. It would make no change in the law.

But it would authorize the Joint Legislative Elections Oversight Committee to study amending the definition of political party, and the nomination process, amending the requirements for unaffiliated and write-in candidates, allowing for nomination by convention by smaller parties, and providing that smaller parties electing to have primaries will have the results determined by plurality.

These are all the points covered in the original bill.

If the bill is not passed by the Senate, we will essentially be back to square one. We’ll have to begin the process again in January 2014, during the short session when the legislature is supposed to focus solely on budget issues. And even if this study bill is passed, the results of the study will not be ready for the 2014 election.

Making a direct telephone call is the best way to have your voice heard.

Ask to speak to the Senator; but if that is not possible, leave a message with the secretary or legislative assistant, and be sure to mention you are a constituent (if appropriate) and that you support the Free the Vote Coalition.

Click here for more information.

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