Representative McCarthy was introduced to the Senate Government Operations Committee on Tuesday by Chairwoman Hardy. Out of the gate she wanted to advise everyone they would be hearing from lots of others on H.429 and passage was not likely to occur soon. She acknowledged lots of media attention and outreach to her and other members about the bill.
McCarthy gave the party line on his bill but also patiently explained the electronic verification of ballot returns technology and the consensus they built in their committee. He called it perhaps the “most supported” section of the bill in that committee. He stressed the importance of this technology for disabled persons and those traveling or in military service overseas.
He pitched the “sore loser” section as a solution to a problem, saying that “we observed in recent elections” this sort of behavior. He accepted the idea that not every candidate fits easily into one party and perhaps has shared values across party lines. But he pointed to a sort of parasitic action that candidates who lose a party primary sometimes take then file and run as an independent.
McCarthy blames the ease of the ballot petition process and claims the bill equalizes these in the post-primary phase (by preventing independent candidate filings after the primaries).
He pleaded for “meaningful nominations,” sharing that the values of his Party were hijacked by a recent Sheriff race. He acknowledged that fusion candidates should be retained to reflect meaningful shared values but also should not be abused.
Legislative Counsel reviewed the bill with the Committee, which does a number of things:
- Restricts losers of a major party primary from appearing in the same general election for the same office as an independent. It is a complete ban on all offices, both local or statewide.
- Strengthens campaign finance limits for statewide offices.
- Additional data reporting.
- Requires the Secretary of State to ask for demographic information from candidates.
- Creates minimum thresholds for independent candidates revised. It would now be 10% +1 of votes cast in that primary or the equivalent of signatures required in a primary petition in order to be included on the ballot.
- Establishes an electronic means of remote voting and for electronic delivery of ballots.
They will take more testimony on the bill as they are still unsure of some of the logistics.