Dec 26

Socialist Party of Michigan 2008 Election Results

The final results of the Socialist Party of Michigan’s participation in the 2008 elections demonstrated a considerable step forward in its electoral outreach capability and a confluence of, still modest, but nonetheless record breaking gains on Election Day. While running three candidates for state and federal office this year, in addition to the Socialist Party’s 2008 presidential campaign, the SPMI was able to present and provide a Socialist alternative to Michigan workers across all sections of the state’s two peninsulas.

As in past elections, the SPMI faced the task in 2008 of running Socialist candidates while still being denied its own state ballot line due to Michigan’s highly antidemocratic ballot access laws. Despite this obstacle, however, the SPMI has run Michigan candidates on the ballot in each state election since 2002, through either independent qualifying petitions or the ballot line of the Green Party of Michigan, with which the SPMI maintains an amiable relationship. This year all three of the SPMI’s nominated candidates qualified through the dual nomination of the Green Party and therefore dually campaigned and identified as Socialist Party/Green Party candidates and were generally identified accordingly by the media, election guides, and state candidate links. Although the SPMI was able to qualify the 2004 SP presidential ticket for the Michigan ballot through the defunct NLP ballot line, it was forced to settle for official Michigan write-in status for the SP’s presidential ticket in 2008…

SPMI candidate Matt Erard ran for a second time in a row for State Representative in the 53rd District, which covers nearly all of Ann Arbor. In addition to a relatively significant amount of press coverage, Erard participated in a live, televised two-candidate debate with his incumbent Democratic opponent and was also featured as a live in-studio guest on Frank Beckmann’s WJR morning radio show.

On Election Day, Erard received 2,200 votes, more than doubling his vote total from the prior election and receiving approximately five percent of the total vote cast for Ann Arbor’s State House seat. As a result, the sole Socialist State House candidate running in Michigan this year received the highest vote total of any minor party candidate challenging the two corporate parties for a state legislative seat and the highest vote percentage of any minor party candidate contesting the two corporate parties for any state level office in Michigan.

SPMI candidate Dwain Reynolds ensured that every Michigan voter would have a Socialist alternative on their ballot by running for the State Board of Education. Earlier in the campaign season, Reynolds spent nearly four months touring across the state of Michigan with Grand Rapids-based rock band La Dispute and opening each of their shows with campaign speeches to hundreds of young Michigan working and student voters in each audience, and to roaring eruptions of cheers each time he conveyed how Socialists would address the state’s failing educational system.

Following the mass support base Reynolds formed throughout the state from this exhaustive campaign tour, he received a record-breaking 94,663 votes; exceeding the past highest vote total that any Socialist or Green candidate for the State Board of Education had ever received by nearly 10,000 votes. Such an immense increase was no mere spurious product of increased voter turn-out in the 2008 election. With only 1.26% more votes cast for the office in 2008 than when the prior record was set in 2004, such an increase can only reflect the outpouring of support Dwain received for the Socialist public education platform he introduced to students and workers across the state.

SPMI candidate Jean Treacy brought a Socialist alternative directly to northern Michigan’s no less struggling working class by running for U.S. Congress in the 1st district, which covers both the entirety of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and the northernmost counties of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula. While more sparsely populated than most other other districts, Michigan’s 1st Congressional district is the second largest district in land among any located east of the Mississippi River, while containing over 30 Michigan counties and approximately 44% of the state’s land.

Despite the overwhelmingly vast territory Jean faced in working to spread her campaign’s message to northern Michigan workers, she succeeded in spreading it widely enough to win 2,669 votes; coming in third place after her two corporate party opponents and beating her other two opponents of the Libertarian and U.S. Taxpayers’ Parties. Like the other two SPMI candidates this year, Jean also broke a new record by exceeding the vote totals of the SPMI’s last U.S. Congressional candidate in 2004 by nearly 500 votes.

The SPMI successfully qualified the 2008 Socialist Party ticket of Brian Moore for President and Stewart Alexander for Vice President for official Michigan write-in status by completing the filing requirements by Michigan’s September 5th deadline. Among the required documents filed was a slate of Michigan presidential electors comprised of an SPMI member who registered to vote in each of Michigan’s 15 Congressional districts, plus an additional two state-at-large electors. The Moore-Alexander ticket and rightist presidential candidate Alan Keyes were the only two campaigns to qualify for official presidential write-in status in Michigan since the 2000 election.

While the vast majority of presidential write-in votes go illegally uncounted in most states, regardless of a presidential candidate’s state-certified write-in status, Michigan, this year, was unfortunately no exception to that tendency. The Michigan Dept. of State reported only 41 tallied write-in votes for SP presidential candidate Brian Moore statewide. Following the release of this tally, accounting for fewer votes than even 2/3rds of the SPMI’s own present number of dues-paying members in good standing, the SPMI subsequently received numerous complaints from both members and non-members who could clearly discern that their votes had not been counted because their counties failed to tally or report even a single vote for the campaign. Among such counties reporting zero votes for the SP presidential candidate was the county of Marquette where the SPMI’s own Marquette County local is centered!

Although numerous reports have been received of write-in votes cast simply for “Brian Moore” that still went un-tallied, the Michigan Department of State Bureau of Elections officials silently decided this year, in direct contradiction to their own published instructions, that vice presidential candidates, whether certified or not, are irrelevant to presidential write-in votes. Consequently the MI BOE officials didn’t bother to include SP vice presidential candidate Stewart Alexander on the list of qualified write-in candidates that they sent to all Michigan counties and precincts. Moreover, the instructions they sent to all such precincts stated that write-in votes containing a name not on their list are invalid and must be disregarded rather than tallied. Consequently, while the vast majority of write-in votes cast for the ticket included both presidential candidate Moore and VP candidate Alexander, as the SPMI had encouraged after having confirmed the certification of both candidates as a ticket, evidence suggests that nearly all votes that included VP candidate Alexander were assumed to be invalid under the faulty instructions election inspectors received from the Michigan Bureau of Elections.

The widespread disenfranchisement resulting from state and county election officials’ disregard for state law in providing such tallies was only compounded by the same Bureau of Elections officials having refused, without any statutory basis, to include any mention of certified presidential write-in candidates on the state general candidate listing or anywhere else accessible to the public until weeks after the election. Such officials, who have quite explicitly expressed their contempt for the state law allowing for write-in candidacies, even went so far this year as to send instructions to all precinct workers that, if any voters request to see the list of write-in candidates, which each precinct is required to posses, they are to refuse to allow the voter to view the list or even to disclose its contents. Consequently Michigan voters’ only source of information on the ticket’s Michigan write-in qualification was the SP or SPMI directly. The SPMI is continuing to collect information on the disenfranchisement of Michigan voters who cast write-in votes for the ticket for purposes of filing additional complaints and potential legal action. If you cast a write-in vote for the SP presidential ticket in Michigan this year and believe your vote went un-tallied, we would appreciate any information on where you voted and how you cast your write-in vote, through an email to spmi @ spmichigan.org

Although SPMI members, following this election, are both optimistic about a continuing pattern of electoral progress, and outraged by the disenfranchisement of many of our voters in the presidential race, our most central consideration in evaluating the success of our electoral campaigns each election year is not how many votes we obtain, but how many people we were able to reach with our political message, educate about socialism, or rouse toward greater systemic contemplation of events and conditions around us and the need for working people to fight back and organize for revolutionary change. Through our participation in the 2008 elections, we’re therefore most gratified to have had our most far-reaching points of success in that foremost aim of our electoral campaigns.

Nov 01

VOTE SOCIALIST IN 2008!

2008 Socialist Party of Michigan Candidates

Brian Moore for President
Stewart Alexander for Vice President


Certified Michigan Presidential Write-in Status in all Counties and Precincts Statewide


Dwain Reynolds for State Board of Education

Qualified on the Green Ballot Line
(Vote Only for Dwain Reynolds for MI SBE!)

Jean Treacy for U.S. Congress
(1st District – Northern Michigan)


Qualified on the Green Ballot Line

Matt Erard for State Representative
(53rd District – Ann Arbor)

Qualified on the Green Ballot Line

Click Here to Download the 2008 SPMI Statewide Campaign Leaflet

2008 Michigan Ballot Proposals

Stop Arresting MI Patients! Vote Yes on Proposal 1!

Fund Stem Cell Research in Michigan! Vote Yes on Proposal 2!

Nov 01

Podcast of SPMI Candidate on WJR Morning Show

SPMI State Chair and State Rep. candidate Matt Erard was a live in-studio guest on WJR’s Frank Beckmann morning show on Monday October 20th.

Click Here to Listen to the Online Podcast


State Rep. Candidate Takes WJR’s Frank Beckmann to Task on the Question of ‘Socialism’

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
OCTOBER 21st 2008

DETROIT — Dually-nominated Socialist/Green State Representative candidate Matt Erard (53rd District — Ann Arbor) was invited to be a live, in-studio guest yesterday on the program of WJR-760AM’s mid-morning radio personality Frank Beckmann. During his portion of the show, Erard answered attempted challenges on air from WJR callers, in addition to those from the host. Beckmann’s two other guests on yesterday’s program, following Erard, were Mitt Romney and ‘Joe the plumber’ Wurzelbacher…

The inevitably ensuing debate between the conservative talk radio host and socialist candidate, which predictably centered on the topic of socialism, demonstrated a remarkable divergence over even the most foundational premises for an objective understanding of either socialism or capitalism; both conceptually, and as they relate to modern conditions. As an apparent ‘warning’ to follower’s of his program, Beckmann’s official website presently lists the false quote attributed to former Socialist Party leader Norman Thomas, regarding the supposedly insidious implementation of socialism through the guise of ‘liberalism.’ That this quote attributed to Thomas was in fact made up by Ronald Reagan is in no way exceptionally ironic within the present wave of obscenely demogogical efforts to distort the meaning of the term ‘socialism’ to the point of its inversion. Such continuous attention to socialism in the wake of the bailout, coupled with consistent distortions of the meaning behind the term stem directly, Erard contends, from the threat socialism now poses to the U.S. corporate establishment as present conditions increasingly demonstrate its realization as the only sensible or sustainable solution for the working majority.

Erard suggests that equation of socialism with Wall Street’s demand for a public bailout, as expressed nearly ubiquitously in recent weeks by conservative corporate media outlets, is largely of a similar product to their highly intensified anti-immigration rhetoric. Both, Erard contends, are aimed at diverting outrage over the corporate establishment’s increasing assaults on jobs, wages, public revenues, and living standards, and channeling them against the unified interests of working people.

“The manufactured conflation of such an obscene public robbery by the ruling class, with socialism, and with all general class-blind notions of ‘spreading the wealth around,’ is aimed precisely at diverting outrage from the distinct source of this devastating theft, and rather toward demonization of the sole solution to the extreme social inequality and systemic decline that’s created it. Such an effort is only imaginable within the context of the immense historical ignorance that it’s made every effort to impose upon working people in the U.S. for generations,” Erard said.

Erard further argued that the unceasing efforts of the Republican section of the corporate establishment to designate the presidential candidate of its other big business party as a “socialist,” during this same period of financial crisis, stem from the directly related aim of entrapping all expression of such outrage within the walls of the two corporate parties. Such rhetoric, he asserts, is particularly directed at small business owners facing increasing insecurity in the prospects for growth and sustainability of their assets. Similar appeals are made to the most backward, oblivious, hierarchically-minded sections of the working class, now personified by the constructed identity of Beckmann’s later guest yesterday, ‘Joe the Plumber, ‘ whose narrow focus on progressing to the ranks of petty capitalists displaces their recognition of their own class interests as members of the working majority.

When asked by Beckmann, at the end of his portion of the program, whether Barack Obama is a socialist, Erard questioned what such a designation would then make a past presidential candidate, whose positions on all related points of economic comparison were substantially to the left of those held by Obama today — Richard Nixon!

The podcast of Erard’s recent appearance on the Beckmann program can be heard online at: http://wjr.com/Article.asp?id=943394&spid=6525

Oct 12

SPMI State Rep. Candidate to Participate in Televised Candidates Debate Mon. Oct. 13th

Matt Erard, Socialist Party candidate for 53rd District State Representative (Ann Arbor), will be participating in a televised candidates debate with incumbent Democratic candidate Rebekah Warren and Republican candidate Christina Brewton.

The debate, sponsored by the League of Women Voters, will air live on Monday October 13th from 7:00PM-7:45PM on Ann Arbor Community Television Network (CTN) and will be re-play numerous times on CTN until Election Day.

Matt Erard for State Rep. Campaign Website
Ann Arbor League of Women Voters Events Calendar

Sep 15

SOCIALIST PARTY USA 2008 MOORE-ALEXANDER PRESIDENTIAL TICKET QUALIFIED FOR OFFICIAL WRITE-IN STATUS IN MICHIGAN

Socialist Ticket Among Only Two Presidential Campaigns Since the 2000 Election With the State Recognition Required to Have Write-in Votes Counted in Michigan


For Immediate Release
September 15th 2008

LANSING – The Michigan Secretary of State’s Bureau of Elections has now confirmed that the 2008 Socialist Party USA ticket of Brian Moore for President and Stewart Alexander for Vice President is certified for official write-in status in the state of Michigan . The qualification establishes that all Michigan counties are now required to count write-in votes cast for the Moore-Alexander ticket and that each county will be informed of this requirement by the Secretary of State’s Office in Lansing . The campaign’s write-in qualification also establishes that the Socialist Party presidential ticket’s vote totals will be published in the listing of election results on the Michigan Secretary of State website, municipal government websites, and printed elsewhere where election results are officially provided. Michigan law requires that all write-in candidates for any office qualify for Official Write-in Status prior to the November Election in order to have votes for them legally counted and reported in state or municipal election results.

The Socialist Party’s Moore-Alexander campaign is among only two presidential tickets to qualify for Official Write-in Status in Michigan for the 2008 election. Michigan’s absurdly restrictive ballot access laws resulted in a particularly odd pairing for Michigan write-in qualification in the 2008 presidential election, of the campaign most explicitly representing movements of social progress, with the campaign that is perhaps the most unrestrained in its reflexive identification with social reaction. The other campaign, which reportedly filed on the same date as that of the Socialist Party is ultra-rightist, Reagan-appointed former U.S. ambassador and 2004 Illinois Republican-nominated U.S. Senatorial candidate Alan Keys. The last presidential ticket to qualify for Official Write-in Status in Michigan, prior to the Moore and Key campaigns this year, was the campaign of Pat Buchanan in 2000. No presidential candidates qualified for Official Write-in Status in Michigan in 2004, although several campaigns that lacked Michigan ballot qualification campaigned in the state that year.

The Michigan Bureau of Elections requires that a presidential ticket seeking to qualify for Official Write-in Status in the State file a signed and notarized Declaration of Intent form, a designation of the Vice Presidential Candidate (if applicable), and a list of the names and addresses of seventeen presidential electors for the campaign, which must be comprised of one presidential elector who is presently registered to vote in each of Michigan’s fifteen congressional districts and two presidential electors representing the state at-large. Moore, like 2004 SP presidential candidate Walter Brown, sent his Declaration of Intent form to the Socialist Party of Michigan which then combined it with the necessary vice presidential candidate designation and a slate of Socialist Party members in each Michigan Congressional district to serve as the geographically distributed slate of Michigan presidential electors for the filing. While the filing deadline for candidates seeking write-in status for all other offices in Michigan this year is the second Friday immediately preceding the election, the state set the much earlier filing deadline for write-in presidential candidates this year as last Friday, September 5th.

The Socialist Party has been denied ballot access as a political party in Michigan for many decades, despite it’s over century long history of participation, including a number of major electoral victories, in Michigan elections. As a result, the Socialist Party of Michigan has run candidates on the Michigan ballot each election year either as independents or jointly through the ballot lines of other qualified parties. In 2004 the Socialist Party presidential ticket of Walter Brown and Mary Alice Hebert qualified for the Michigan ballot through the ballot line of the Natural Law Party, which had dissolved as a political party earlier that year. This year, however, the Ralph Nader campaign persuaded the remaining officer for the Michigan Natural Law Party ballot line to nominate his campaign instead, while presumably seeking to avoid a repeat of his 2004 campaign’s struggles to qualify for the Michigan ballot, which continued long after the Socialist Party presidential ticket had already made the 2004 Michigan ballot under the defunct Natural Law Party’s ballot label.

This year, the Socialist Party is running three other candidates for office in Michigan in addition to its presidential campaign: Jean Treacy for U.S. Congress in the 1st District, covering the state’s upper and northern lower peninsulas (treacy2008.org), Dwain Reynolds for State Board of Education (dreynolds2008.org) who will appear on all General Election ballots in the state, and Matt Erard for 53rd District State Representative (erard2008.org) covering Ann Arbor. All three of this year’s candidates nominated by the Socialist Party of Michigan are qualified for the November ballot through their joint nomination of the Green Party of Michigan, and are campaigning as the dually-nominated candidates of both parties. Since the last election, the Socialist Party of Michigan led the founding of the Michigan Third Parties Coalition, a coalition of the state’s five most well-known minor parties from across the political spectrum, which is seeking state legislative sponsorship for a bill it drafted to lower the state’s requirement for minor party ballot qualification to the signatures of 5,000 registered voters in the state.

“The fact that the presidential ticket – representing the third oldest nationally organized party in the U.S., the only presently existent minor party ever to elect a candidate to the U.S. Congress or as the mayor of a major Michigan city – is barred from appearing on the Michigan ballot is just one more example of the utterly cynical contempt held by the two corporate parties running the state legislature for the most elementary principles of democracy,” said Erard, who noted that the waive of highly prohibitive ballot access laws established in states across the U.S. in the mid 20th Century were designed specifically to keep socialist candidates off state election ballots – and that Michigan’s ballot access laws are presently among the nation’s most draconian.

“The most important thing of all, however, is that Michigan voters have the right to vote Socialist in this presidential election and have their votes count, which, albeit through far less preferable or democratically equitable means, is a right we will, once again this year, have a means of exercising. In the current economic-political period in the U.S., it’s the working class of Michigan that is struggling the hardest and facing the sharpest brunt of attacks from this nation’s ruling corporate elite. Accordingly, it is Michigan’s working class majority that needs its own movement-fostering, political independence-affirming, and future-focused Socialist alternative in this presidential election the very most,” Erard said.

The campaign, which has thus far confirmed its qualification to be listed on the ballot in eight states this year, expects to qualify for at least a dozen state ballots in the November election. The certification of the campaign’s Official Write-in Status in Michigan follows last week’s certification of the campaign’s qualification to appear on the state ballot in Wisconsin, as the most recent of its ballot access achievements this year. It also met the requirements this past week to qualify for the state ballots in Louisiana and Mississippi, however, arbitrary decisions by election officials in both states to shift their announced filing deadlines has compelled the campaign to file separate lawsuits this week to ensure its appearance on this year’s Louisiana and Mississippi ballots. The Libertarian Party presidential campaign joined the Socialist campaign last Friday as a joint plaintiff in its lawsuit against Louisiana, after its presidential nomination was also rejected from the Louisiana ballot on the same capricious grounds. The Socialist Party won a landmark victory in court on August 21st when a federal judge ordered its placement on the Ohio ballot on the basis of the Party’s demonstrated historical and contemporary support within the state of Ohio and nationwide. The Green and Constitution party’s subsequently gained ballot qualification in Ohio following the successful ruling in the Socialist Party’s suit against the state.

In addition to its ballot qualification in Wisconsin and Ohio, and tentative ballot qualification in Louisiana and Mississippi, the campaign is thus far qualified to appear on the 2008 state General Election ballots of Colorado, Florida, Iowa, New Jersey, Tennessee, and Vermont, and is exploring legal options in states such as Washington and Minnesota, in which the petitions it filed for ballot access were cursorily rejected. It’s qualification for Iowa’s state ballot this year marked the first time that presidential ticket has been nominated by the Convention method under its statute since 1968. In addition to its write-in status qualification in Michigan, it is currently qualified for official write-in status in Indiana, North Carolina, and Texas, and expects to qualify for official write-in status in another twenty-two states by the end of October.


Moore last made a campaign stop in Michigan on July 13th during the Socialist Party’s 2008 National Organizing Conference held in Ann Arbor . He hopes to make a more expansive campaign trip through Michigan, including Detroit, Flint, and possibly southwest and northern Michigan, during the remaining months of the campaign. Vice Presidential candidate Stewart Alexander, previously of New Baltimore, Michigan and now of California, will likely also peg his former home state for a campaign visit before Election Day. An interview with Alexander, in which he discusses struggles of Michigan workers and some of his own experiences growing up in the state, is featured in the current issue of The Michigan Socialist magazine, which can be freely downloaded or ordered in print through the website of the Socialist Party of Michigan.

More information on the 2008 Socialist Party presidential campaign of Brian Moore and Stewart Alexander can be found on the campaign website at: http://www.votesocialist2008.org

CONTACT:
a. Matt Erard
Chair, Socialist Party of Michigan.
National Ballot Access Coordinator.
(248) 765-1605
matterard@sp-usa.org

b. Brian Moore
Socialist Party USA 2008
Presidential Candidate
(352) 686-9936
campaign@votebrianmoore.com

c. Stewart Alexander
Socialist Party USA 2008
Vice Presidential Candidate
(909) 223-2067
stewartalexander4paf@ca.rr.com

Socialist Party of Michigan
P.O. Box 844
Marquette, MI 49855
(906) 362-6342
spmi@spmichigan.org
www.spmichigan.org

Socialist Party USA National Office
Greg Pason, National Secretary
339 Lafayette St.
New York, NY 10012
(212) 982-4586
natsec@socialistparty-usa.org

www.votesocialist2008.org
www.socialistparty-usa.org
www.vote-socialist.org