Thank you for your interesting question. The political system in the
United States does not make it particularly easy for someone wishing
to form a new party. Even though it is not impossible, in practice in
demands lots of resources, and the structure of the system usually
hinders any substential political gains for small actors.
Consequently, many groups tend to form themselves as lobbies, pressure
groups or social movements - that would effect the big parties - than
to establish a new party.
I am not telling all of this in order to discourage you, but in order
for you to know the hardships of the process you're getting into.
Step I: Deciding on a name and appointing temporary officials
Your first step in founding a new party is to decide on a name and
appoint temporary officials, in a congregation of all founders. This
is the first party "convention", and dspite the pompous name, it could
be a meeting held anywhere, as soon as it is a meeting of the founders
of the party. The name, of course, cannot be used by any other
recognized political party (see later explanation as to what exactly
is a " recognized political party"). You can't decide that your party
named "The Republican Party", as I have heard that this name is
already taken. You can't also call your party the "Independent Party"
(or any combination thereof), because this would be one of the
misleading practices prohibited by Louisiana law.
What is a "Recognized" Party?
Basically, it is a party that could run in the primary level. However,
the definitions change, and basically, it means a party, whose
candidates already shown some success, and that has a certain
percentage of voters.
In Louisiana, a party is qualified once it has:
(1) Registered at least 1,000 people as registered voters of this
party statewide, at least 90 days prior to the elections.
(2) Filed a notarized registration statement with the secretary of state
(3) paid $1,000 registration fee.
The law also states, that "A political party recognized in this manner
will cease to be recognized if no registered member of the party
qualifies as a candidate in a primary election for any period of four
A party could be also qualified if a candidate has won more than 5% of
the votes, either in the Presidential elections, or in statewide
elections. However, again, " A political party recognized in this
manner will cease to be recognized if no member of the party receives
at least 5% of the votes cast in this state for either presidential
elector or statewide office within any period of four consecutive
Step II: Registering this name with the Secretary of State
So, obviously, your next step is to register your new party. Your
letter should include:
- Names and addresses of temporary party officials
- Name of the party.
- Constitution or Bylaws. Your party's ideology shouldn't be contra to
the laws of the state (or the country), which basically means it
doesn't promote illegal practices or the overthrow of the regime.
Please note, that if your party is after changing laws in the
country/state (for example, many small new parties are supporting
legalisation of illegal drugs), it doesn't mean you're "supporting
illegal practices". In fact, you're trying to change the laws in a
democratic process, and in theory not support any violation of the
You can see the full form that you have to fill in here:
notarized registration statement
<http://www.sec.state.la.us/elections/MISC/f-ppr-010105.pdf> (PDF Document).
The Louisiana Law on Registering a New Party
The law, in this case, says:
"The registration statement filed with the secretary of state by a
political party shall be sworn to by an officer of the party,
notarized, and shall include the following information:
(a) The name of the political party.
(b) The mailing address of the party within the state of Louisiana.
(c) If the party is affiliated with a national political party, the
name of the national party and the address of its national
(d) The names, addresses, and official titles of the party's state
officers in Louisiana.
(e) A copy of the party's emblem, if any.
(f) Copies of the state party's charter or constitution, its
governing bylaws, rules, and regulations."
(SOURCE: Louisiana Election Law, 18:441 Available Online at :
Step III: After the Party Qualifies
After you've passed this hurdle, you must elect permanent officials,
and notify the Secretary of State. This must be done before February
1st of the Presidential Primary Year.
Naturally, candidates who do not belong to a qualified party, could
run either as non-partisan candidates or as minor party candidates
with about the same consequences.
Here are the requirements for candidates:
Whom to Contact
Louisiana Secretary of State
P. O. Box 94125
Baton Rouge, LA 70804-9125
Telephone: (225) 922-0900
Ballot Access site states, that "527 organizations" are nicknamed for
sec. 527 of the Internal Revenue Code. They are "political
organizations for the purpose of influencing a federal, state or local
election". Their income is tax-exempt, but they must disclose their
contributors and expenditures, if they try to influence federal
elections. They cannot accept corporate or union money, but donations
to them can be very large." (SOURCE: Ballot Access, January 1, 2004 ?
Volume 19, Number 9
<http://www.ballot-access.org/2004/0101.html>). These organisations do
not have to be parties - they could be lobbies, social movements, and
other civil groups.
Online IRS files are available here:
I don't think, if to answer your particular question, that any service
would be clearly better than PayPal, though you can see alternatives
to PayPal here:
The Louisiana law requires that you'll report your campaign finance:
"The statement of organization shall include:
(1) The name of the committee, and the address of the committee, or of
its chairman if the committee has no address.
(2) The names, addresses, and relationships of affiliated organizations.
(3) The name and address of the campaign treasurer of the committee,
if any, and of any deputy campaign treasurers of the committee.
(4) The name and address of the committee chairman and the name,
address, and position of other principal officers and directors of the
committee, if any.
(5) A statement, if applicable, that the committee is a principal
campaign committee and the candidate by whom it is designated as a
principal campaign committee, if any, or a statement if applicable,
that the committee is a subsidiary committee and the committee or
candidate by whom it is designated as a subsidiary committee.
(6) A listing of all banks, safety deposit boxes, or other
depositories used for committee funds.
(7) The estimated number of members of the committee.
(8) Certification of membership as required by R.S.
18:1505.2(H)(2)(b), if applicable.
(9) A statement, if applicable, that the committee has elected to file
monthly reports pursuant to R.S. 18:1491.6(I)." (SOURCE: CAMPAIGN
FINANCE DISCLOSURE ACT,
Therefore, aside from taxation issues, you'll also have to disclose
any contributions to the state.
This is a totally different issue to address here. I'm afraid I have
to object to your idea of buying a mailing list, unless you are
certain that it would get you somewhere. Traditional, off-line lines
of advertisement, would be much more efficient. The first reason, is
that most mail programmes direct even opt-in mailing lists to the spam
folder. It is also not so efficient to send thousands of emails.
A better way to promote your party online is through the following:
- Having a party website, and spreading *it* among your friends,
telling them to do the same; working in parallel through traditional
PR campaign with online and off-line Louisiana-based and/or political
- Having an opt-in mailing list or discussion group that is linked to
the party, and to that alone. You can set up free groups like that on
Yahoo! (as well as on Google Groups).
- Using banner-based advertising in Louisiana-based Internet sites,
that are dealing with politics.
Of course, as you've mentioned yourself, you could use a professional
PR firm. Try the following, as they are the largest dealing with
public affairs matters:
Edelman Public Relations Worldwide
Qorvis Communications, LLC
Dittus Communications, Inc.
Jasculca/Terman and Associates
Creative Response Concepts
Links and further information
DC Political Report <http://www.dcpoliticalreport.com/PartyLink.htm> -
a list of minor parties in the U.S.
Online Guide to California Politics <http://www.politics1.com/ca.htm>
Ballot Access for American Political Parties More Generally
POLITICAL PARTIES IN THE UNITED STATES
By John F. Bibby
In other states:
Party Formation in Iowa
The Beginning of the Libertarian Party of Minnesota
Political Parties in Maryland - Maryland State Board of Elections - ??
4-102. New political parties.
(1) The Law <http://www.ncleg.net/Statutes/GeneralStatutes/HTML/BySection/Chapter_163/GS_163-96.html>
(2) PETITION TO CREATE A NEW POLITICAL PARTY
Montana - Section 115-315 New political party, how formed
District of Columbia
I hope this answered your question. Please contact me if you need any
clarifications on this answer before you rate it.
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