Topic:
CAMPAIGNS (GENERAL); ELECTIONS (GENERAL); PARTY PLATFORMS; POLITICAL COMMITTEES;
Location:
CAMPAIGNS; ELECTIONS;

OLR Research Report


December 7, 2005

 

2005-R-0873

CROSS-ENDORSED CANDIDATES

By: Sandra Norman-Eady, Chief Attorney

You asked (1) for the number of states that prohibit political parties from cross-endorsing candidates and (2) whether the prohibitions are in state law or party rules.

An overwhelming majority of states ban cross-endorsement (also known as “fusion”), a process whereby two or more political parties (typically a major and minor party) nominate the same candidate for the same office during the same election. A cross-endorsed candidate's name appears on the ballot as many times as he is chosen as a party's nominee. The candidate's votes on each party's ballot are added together to determine whether the total is sufficient to declare him the winner of the public office he seeks.

According to the New Majority Education Fund, 25 states explicitly ban cross-endorsements by prohibiting multiple party nominations in their statutes. Another 15 states “indirectly” ban it by requiring, in law, that candidates be members of the nominating party. Since candidates can only be members of one party at a time, the legal effect of these laws is to ban cross-endorsement. However, five of the 15 states, California, Maine, Massachusetts, Nebraska, and New Hampshire, allow write-in cross-endorsement (i.e., where one or more multiple party nominations is won by write-in votes). Table 1 shows the direct and indirect ban states. The remaining 10 states, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Idaho, Mississippi, New York, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, and Vermont, have laws that allow cross-endorsement. Although permitted under Arkansas law, current Democratic State Party rules ban cross- endorsement.

TABLE 1: STATES THAT BAN CROSS-ENDORSEMENT

Direct Ban States

Indirect Ban States

Alabama

North Dakota

Alaska

Arizona

Oregon

California

Georgia

Pennsylvania

Colorado

Hawaii

Rhode Island

Florida

Indiana

Tennessee

Illinois

Iowa

Texas

Louisiana

Kansas

Virginia

Maine

Kentucky

Washington

Maryland

Michigan

Wisconsin

Massachusetts

Minnesota

Wyoming

Nevada

Missouri

 

New Hampshire

Montana

 

North Carolina

Nebraska

 

Ohio

New Jersey

 

Oklahoma

New Mexico

 

West Virginia

Source: New Majority Education Fund

The New Majority Education Fund is a project sponsored by the Tides Center, a part of a group of nonprofit organizations interested in social change, innovation, and environmental sustainability. The fund was created by community and labor organizations and grassroots leaders to revive cross-endorsements. A more detailed listing of cross-endorsement statutes, and court and attorney generals' decisions by state is available at www.nmef.org. We have attached a copy of the state-by-state breakdown on fusion for your information.

SN-E:dw