Electoral fusion

Electoral fusion

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Electoral fusion is an arrangement where two or more political parties
Political party
A political party is a political organization that typically seeks to influence government policy, usually by nominating their own candidates and trying to seat them in political office. Parties participate in electoral campaigns, educational outreach or protest actions...

 on a ballot
Ballot
A ballot is a device used to record choices made by voters. Each voter uses one ballot, and ballots are not shared. In the simplest elections, a ballot may be a simple scrap of paper on which each voter writes in the name of a candidate, but governmental elections use pre-printed to protect the...

 list the same candidate, pooling the votes for that candidate. Distinct from the process of electoral alliance
Electoral alliance
An electoral alliance may take the form of a bipartisan electoral agreement, electoral agreement, electoral coalition or electoral bloc. It is an association of political parties or individuals which exists solely to stand in elections...

s in that the political parties remain separately listed on the ballot, the practice of electoral fusion in jurisdiction
Jurisdiction
Jurisdiction is the practical authority granted to a formally constituted legal body or to a political leader to deal with and make pronouncements on legal matters and, by implication, to administer justice within a defined area of responsibility...

s where it exists allows minor parties to influence election results and policy by offering to endorse or nominate a major party's candidate.

Electoral fusion is also known as fusion voting, cross-endorsement, multiple party nomination, multi-party nomination, plural nomination, and ballot-freedom.

United States


Electoral fusion was once widespread in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

. In the late nineteenth century, however, as minor political parties such as the People's Party
Populist Party (United States)
The People's Party, also known as the "Populists", was a short-lived political party in the United States established in 1891. It was most important in 1892-96, then rapidly faded away...

 became increasingly successful in using fusion, state legislatures enacted bans against it. One Republican Minnesota state legislator was clear about what his party was trying to do: "We don't propose to allow the Democrats to make allies of the Populists, Prohibitionists, or any other party, and get up combination tickets against us. We can whip them single-handed, but don't intend to fight all creation." (Spoiling for a Fight, 227-228). The creation of the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party
Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party
The Minnesota Democratic–Farmer–Labor Party is a major political party in the state of Minnesota and the state affiliate of the Democratic Party. It was created on April 15, 1944, with the merger of the Minnesota Democratic Party and the Farmer–Labor Party...

 made this particular tactical position obsolete. By 1907 the practice had been banned in 18 states; today, fusion as conventionally practiced remains legal in only eight states, namely:
  • Connecticut
    Connecticut
    Connecticut is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States. It is bordered by Rhode Island to the east, Massachusetts to the north, and the state of New York to the west and the south .Connecticut is named for the Connecticut River, the major U.S. river that approximately...

  • Delaware
    Delaware
    Delaware is a U.S. state located on the Atlantic Coast in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States. It is bordered to the south and west by Maryland, and to the north by Pennsylvania...

  • Idaho
    Idaho
    Idaho is a state in the Rocky Mountain area of the United States. The state's largest city and capital is Boise. Residents are called "Idahoans". Idaho was admitted to the Union on July 3, 1890, as the 43rd state....

  • Mississippi
    Mississippi
    Mississippi is a U.S. state located in the Southern United States. Jackson is the state capital and largest city. The name of the state derives from the Mississippi River, which flows along its western boundary, whose name comes from the Ojibwe word misi-ziibi...

  • New York
    New York
    New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...

  • Oregon
    Oregon
    Oregon is a state in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. It is located on the Pacific coast, with Washington to the north, California to the south, Nevada on the southeast and Idaho to the east. The Columbia and Snake rivers delineate much of Oregon's northern and eastern...

  • South Carolina
    South Carolina
    South Carolina is a state in the Deep South of the United States that borders Georgia to the south, North Carolina to the north, and the Atlantic Ocean to the east. Originally part of the Province of Carolina, the Province of South Carolina was one of the 13 colonies that declared independence...

  • Vermont
    Vermont
    Vermont is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States of America. The state ranks 43rd in land area, , and 45th in total area. Its population according to the 2010 census, 630,337, is the second smallest in the country, larger only than Wyoming. It is the only New England...



In several other states, notably New Hampshire
New Hampshire
New Hampshire is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States of America. The state was named after the southern English county of Hampshire. It is bordered by Massachusetts to the south, Vermont to the west, Maine and the Atlantic Ocean to the east, and the Canadian...

, fusion is legal when primary elections are won by write-in candidates.

The cause of electoral fusion suffered a major setback in 1997, when the U.S. Supreme Court
Supreme Court of the United States
The Supreme Court of the United States is the highest court in the United States. It has ultimate appellate jurisdiction over all state and federal courts, and original jurisdiction over a small range of cases...

 decided by 6-3 in Timmons v. Twin Cities Area New Party that fusion is not a constitutionally protected civil right.

Fusion has sometimes been used by other third parties. For example, the Independent Party of Oregon
Independent Party of Oregon
The Independent Party of Oregon is a political party in the U.S. state of Oregon. The IPO is Oregon's third-largest political party and the largest minor party of the state, with 68,516 registrants since its inception in January 2007 making up 3.37% of Oregon's registered voters...

 cross-nominated five major party candidates, winning races for the U.S. Senate, Oregon State Treasurer, and the Oregon House of Representatives in 2008. The Libertarian Party used fusion to elect four members of the New Hampshire
New Hampshire
New Hampshire is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States of America. The state was named after the southern English county of Hampshire. It is bordered by Massachusetts to the south, Vermont to the west, Maine and the Atlantic Ocean to the east, and the Canadian...

 state legislature during the early 1990s.

In 1864 the Democratic Party split into two wings, over the peace question. The War Democrats fused with the Republicans to elect a Democratic Vice President, Andrew Johnson
Andrew Johnson
Andrew Johnson was the 17th President of the United States . As Vice-President of the United States in 1865, he succeeded Abraham Lincoln following the latter's assassination. Johnson then presided over the initial and contentious Reconstruction era of the United States following the American...

, and re-elect a Republican President, Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln was the 16th President of the United States, serving from March 1861 until his assassination in April 1865. He successfully led his country through a great constitutional, military and moral crisis – the American Civil War – preserving the Union, while ending slavery, and...

.

Occasionally, popular candidates for local office have succeeded in being nominated by both Republican and Democratic Parties. In 1946, prior to the current ban on fusion being enacted in that state, Republican Governor of California
Governor of California
The Governor of California is the chief executive of the California state government, whose responsibilities include making annual State of the State addresses to the California State Legislature, submitting the budget, and ensuring that state laws are enforced...

 Earl Warren
Earl Warren
Earl Warren was the 14th Chief Justice of the United States.He is known for the sweeping decisions of the Warren Court, which ended school segregation and transformed many areas of American law, especially regarding the rights of the accused, ending public-school-sponsored prayer, and requiring...

 (a future Chief Justice of the United States
Chief Justice of the United States
The Chief Justice of the United States is the head of the United States federal court system and the chief judge of the Supreme Court of the United States. The Chief Justice is one of nine Supreme Court justices; the other eight are the Associate Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States...

) managed to win the nominations of the Republican, Democratic, and Progressive Parties. Similarly, Allan Shivers
Allan Shivers
Robert Allan Shivers was a Texas politician who led the conservative faction of the Texas Democratic Party during the turbulent 1940s and 1950s...

 won the 1952 nominations of both the Democratic and Republican parties in Texas (and had his name appear on the ballot twice, once for each party; Democrat Shivers handily defeated Republican Shivers in the general election).

In the 1991 Louisiana gubernatorial election
Louisiana gubernatorial election, 1991
The Louisiana gubernatorial election of 1991 resulted in the election of Edwin Edwards to his fourth non-consecutive term as governor of Louisiana...

, controversial white supremacist David Duke
David Duke
David Ernest Duke is a former Grand Wizard of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan an American activist and writer, and former Republican Louisiana State Representative. He was also a former candidate in the Republican presidential primaries in 1992, and in the Democratic presidential primaries in...

, running as a Republican
Republican Party (United States)
The Republican Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Democratic Party. Founded by anti-slavery expansion activists in 1854, it is often called the GOP . The party's platform generally reflects American conservatism in the U.S...

, unexpectedly made his way to second place in the state's jungle primary
Jungle primary
A nonpartisan blanket primary is a primary election in which all candidates for elected office run in the same primary regardless of political party. Under this system, the top two candidates who receive the most votes advance to the next round, as in a runoff election...

. Many prominent Republicans endorsed his Democratic
Democratic Party (United States)
The Democratic Party is one of two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Republican Party. The party's socially liberal and progressive platform is largely considered center-left in the U.S. political spectrum. The party has the lengthiest record of continuous...

 opponent Edwin Edwards
Edwin Edwards
Edwin Washington Edwards served as the Governor of Louisiana for four terms , twice as many terms as any other Louisiana chief executive has served. Edwards was also Louisiana's first Roman Catholic governor in the 20th century...

. While not a de jure
De jure
De jure is an expression that means "concerning law", as contrasted with de facto, which means "concerning fact".De jure = 'Legally', De facto = 'In fact'....

 example of electoral fusion, it was an unusual example of both major parties joining against a candidate.

New York


Fusion has the highest profile in New York, where it was used as a major weapon against Tammany Hall
Tammany Hall
Tammany Hall, also known as the Society of St. Tammany, the Sons of St. Tammany, or the Columbian Order, was a New York political organization founded in 1786 and incorporated on May 12, 1789 as the Tammany Society...

. Most legislative and judicial elections are won by candidates endorsed by more than two parties.

In order to obtain or maintain automatic ballot access, a party's candidate for governor of New York
Governor of New York
The Governor of the State of New York is the chief executive of the State of New York. The governor is the head of the executive branch of New York's state government and the commander-in-chief of the state's military and naval forces. The officeholder is afforded the courtesy title of His/Her...

 must receive 50,000 votes on that party's line. The party need not run its own candidate and may cross-nominate another party's candidate, but in order to qualify for automatic ballot access it must receive 50,000 votes on its own line. Gubernatorial vote also determines ballot order, with Row "A" going to the party whose line gains the most votes (regardless of whether or not their candidate actually wins).

Automatic ballot access means that no petitions need be filed to gain access to a ballot line for statewide and special elections, and parties may designate candidates through their own conventions. (Legislative candidates must petition onto the ballot regardless of party designation.) For local (non-statewide) office, the number of signatures required to place a candidate on the ballot is much lower for qualified parties, and they are the only parties eligible to hold primary elections. Automatic ballot access is valid for four years, and parties must gain 50,000 votes in the next gubernatorial election to again qualify for automatic ballot access.

Small parties significant in large part for their fused ballot lines, include the Independence Party of New York
Independence Party of New York
The Independence Party is an affiliate in the U.S. state of New York of the Independence Party of America. The party was founded in 1991 by Dr. Gordon Black, Tom Golisano, and Laureen Oliver from Rochester, New York, and acquired ballot status in 1994...

, the Working Families Party
Working Families Party
The Working Families Party is a minor political party in the United States founded in New York in 1998. There are "sister" parties to the New York WFP in Connecticut, Massachusetts, South Carolina, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Vermont and Oregon, but there is as yet no national WFP...

, and the Conservative Party of New York State. The Independence Party originally ran its own candidate for governor until 2002, but since then has instead retained its automatic ballot status by running a gubernatorial candidate who was designated by one of the major parties. Previously influential were the Liberal Party of New York
Liberal Party of New York
The Liberal Party of New York is a minor American political party that has been active only in the state of New York. Its platform supports a standard set of social liberal policies: it supports right to abortion, increased spending on education, and universal health care.As of 2007, the Liberal...

 and New York State Right to Life Party
New York State Right to Life Party
The New York State Right to Life Party was founded to oppose the legalization of abortion in New York in 1970. The party first made the state ballot in the 1978 gubernatorial election, where its candidate Mary Jane Tobin won 130,000 votes...

, which lost automatic ballot access
Ballot access
Ballot access rules, called nomination rules outside the United States, regulate the conditions under which a candidate or political party is either entitled to stand for election or to appear on voters' ballots...

 in 2002. The Green Party, which had first achieved ballot status in 1998, failed to gain 50,000 votes and also lost its ballot status in 2002, but regained its line when the 2010 election results were certified.

Other parties, such as the Libertarian Party of New York
Libertarian Party of New York
The Libertarian Party of New York is a political party in the United States active in the state of New York. It is the recognized affiliate of the national Libertarian Party....

, and the Green Party of New York
Green Party of New York
The Green Party of New York is a ballot-qualified political party in New York, which was founded in 1992. It is a part of the national Green Party movement...

, and others, now seek ballot access by, first, getting a gubernatorial candidate on the ballot via petition
Petition
A petition is a request to do something, most commonly addressed to a government official or public entity. Petitions to a deity are a form of prayer....

 (by collecting 15,000 valid signatures of registered voters), and then by getting 50,000 votes for that candidate on their line.

The Liberal Party, which had been active since 1944, became defunct as a result of the 2002 gubernatorial election
New York gubernatorial election, 2002
The New York gubernatorial election of 2002 was an election for the state governorship held on November 5, 2002. Governor George Pataki, the two-term Republican incumbent, was re-elected with 49% of the vote, defeating both the Democratic nominee, State Comptroller Carl McCall and Independence...

. Andrew Cuomo
Andrew Cuomo
Andrew Mark Cuomo is the 56th and current Governor of New York, having assumed office on January 1, 2011. A member of the Democratic Party, he was the 64th New York State Attorney General, and was the 11th United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development...

 got the Liberal Party nomination and ran in the Democratic primary against Carl McCall
Carl McCall
Herman Carl McCall is a former Comptroller of New York State and was the Democratic candidate for state governor in 2002. He is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ, and currently serves on the Board of Directors for numerous corporations. He received a B.A. degree from Dartmouth...

, who had secured the Working Families nomination. Cuomo subsequently dropped out and endorsed McCall, but his name remained on the Liberal party line and failed to gain 50,000 votes, leading to the Liberal Party's failure to retain status and losing its automatic ballot line. A Federal lawsuit (joined by Green, Libertarian, and other parties) enjoined the Board of Elections from discarding enrollment records of these disqualified parties, and also required modifications to allow voters to register themselves in non-ballot parties.

Oregon


Prior to 1958, Oregon practiced a form of fusion that required the state to list multiple nominating parties on the candidate's ballot line. Sylvester Pennoyer
Sylvester Pennoyer
Sylvester Pennoyer was an American educator, attorney, and politician in Oregon. He was born in New York, attended Harvard Law School, and moved to Oregon at age 25. A Democrat, he served two terms as the eighth Governor of Oregon from 1886 to 1895. He joined the Populist cause in the early 1890s...

 was elected Governor in 1886 and 1890 as a candidate of the Democratic and People's Parties. In 1906, 7 members of the Oregon House were also elected as candidates of the People's party and either the Democratic or Republican parties. In 2008, a lawsuit was brought by the Independent Party of Oregon
Independent Party of Oregon
The Independent Party of Oregon is a political party in the U.S. state of Oregon. The IPO is Oregon's third-largest political party and the largest minor party of the state, with 68,516 registrants since its inception in January 2007 making up 3.37% of Oregon's registered voters...

 against the Oregon Secretary of State claiming that modifications to the ballot design statute in 1995 once again required the state to list multiple nominating parties on the candidate's ballot line. The lawsuit gave rise to legislation to allow candidates to list up to 3 party labels after their name. This bill passed both houses of the Oregon legislature during the 2009 legislative session. Governor Ted Kulongoski
Ted Kulongoski
Theodore R. "Ted" Kulongoski is an American politician, who served as the 36th Governor of Oregon. A Democrat, he has served in both houses of the Oregon Legislative Assembly, as the state Insurance Commissioner, the Attorney General, and an Associate Justice on the Oregon Supreme Court.-Early...

 signed the bill into law on July 23, 2009.

Vermont


There is a standing alliance between the Democratic Party and the Progressive Party for State Senate races, which has given the Progressives two State Senators, Tim Ashe
Tim Ashe
Timothy Ashe is one of six current Vermont Senators from the Chittenden Vermont Senate District.-Personal life and early career:...

 and Anthony Polina.

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