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Q: Forming a political party ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   1 Comment )
Subject: Forming a political party
Category: Relationships and Society > Politics
Asked by: jplsu-ga
List Price: $50.00
Posted: 13 Jul 2005 20:04 PDT
Expires: 12 Aug 2005 20:04 PDT
Question ID: 543310
I want to form a new national political party, but I would like some
additional information before I dive into the process. A few items
that could help me out:
1. What "red tape" must I go through to form this party? More
specifically, will I need to register with any federal or state
agency(s)? Keep in mind that I will be soliciting (via email, direct
mail, and telephone) donations for the party. It might be a relavant
fact in answering this question that the party's headquarters will
initially be located in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. It will, however, be a
national party. Along the same lines of this question, do I need to
register as a not-for-profit organization? How?  Basically, this
question is an attempt to find out what (if any) forms and
registrations I need to complete to form a national political party.
Please spend the most amount of time on this question because if we as
a party do something wrong here we could be breaking the law! I'd hate
for the party to fall apart or be sued because we forgot to fill out
some random form.
2. On the issue of donations, what are my options for people
submitting donations online? What are the best payment service
providers on the Internet. I know of PayPal, but are there others that
might be better for this particular purpose of political
3. On that same note, I am preparing an initial e-mail that will be
introducing the party and seeking contributions to get the party
going. How can I get this email to a large (1mil or more), nationwide
group of people? Of course, I'll be sending the email to everyone in
my address book, and hopeful that they'll do the same, so on and so
on, creating a snowball effect. But, is there also a way to get (or
buy) lists of random email addresses that it would be legal to send
out an email such as this to? I've looked on the internet, and it
appears that one can buy such a thing of lists where people have opted
in ... so, what service should I go through to buy this list of email
addresses. Which service is the best? Things to consider: I want the
email read, not sent directly to people's junk mail box. I want the
email sent to as many people as possible up front and then just hope
our ideas create a snowball affect.
4. Who should I get to build the party's website, which I hope will be
state-of-the art? More specifically, what firms are rated highest in
web development?
5. What are some of the top-notch marketing firms that could help in
"branding" the party? Here, we're lookign for top-rated firms that
specialize in political campaigns.

Answers to the questions above would certainly be helpful. However,
please feel free to throw any any other information/advice/tips that
might be helpful in forming a political party. By no means limit
yourself to the specific questions above, because Any and all
information on the issue of "forming a political party" would be a
great help.

What I am NOT looking for:
1. Description of the different political parties and their platforms/beliefs.
2. A list of political issues that need to be included in our platform.
3. Anything that has to do with the ideaology of our party. That will
take care of itself. I just need to know the "mechanics" of getting
the organization rolling.
4. History of politics

Thanks so much for your help!

Clarification of Question by jplsu-ga on 14 Jul 2005 06:32 PDT
Clarification: This party will be a United States political party.
Subject: Re: Forming a political party
Answered By: politicalguru-ga on 14 Jul 2005 08:09 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Dear Jplsu, 

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
would be
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
consecutive years."

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 
<> (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 :
Louisiana Legislation,

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: 
Candidate Information

Whom to Contact
Louisiana Secretary of State
Elections Division
P. O. Box 94125
Baton Rouge, LA 70804-9125
Telephone: (225) 922-0900

Tax Consequences/Donations

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
<>). 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:
PayPal Sucks

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

Therefore, aside from taxation issues, you'll also have to disclose
any contributions to the state.

Finding Supporters
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 <> -
a list of minor parties in the U.S.

Online Guide to California Politics <> 

Ballot Access for American Political Parties More Generally

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.

North Carolina 
(1) The Law <>

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.

Search Strategy
[minor political party] [new poltical party] (and of course, without
the term "political") AND [louisiana] AND [names of provisions, decrees, etc.]

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firm", political pr marketing louisiana firm,

Request for Answer Clarification by jplsu-ga on 15 Jul 2005 03:34 PDT
I disagree about buying the mailing lists. What does a
political party have to lose? If the email goes straight to trash or
junk mail, what do we lose? The $100 we spend on the list ... seems
like a small investment which could provide a very hefty return if
successful with minimal (actually I see none) risk. If only 1 percent
of 1,000,000 emails sent out get read, the party has no place to go
but grow. It seems like a no-lose situation to me. Thus, given my
belief on this issue, if you don't mind could you provide me with the
best companies/websites to purchase these email lists. Assume (and the
assumption would be correct) that I know nothing about "opt-in" "bulk
emails" etc. etc.

Clarification of Answer by politicalguru-ga on 15 Jul 2005 03:54 PDT
Hi Jplsu, 

My feeling is that even opt-in email lists, unless *you* control who
are the members and that they have eally opted-in for your kind of
information is a source for two kinds of possible problems. The first
is, as I said before, that it would be ust directed automatically to
the spam folders. The second is that it might look tacky. Naturally,
you can disagree, but the second problem is - that I don't think that
I can recommend a trustworthy opt-in company. In this case, I would
have recommended you to go to the one that offers as many unique email
addresses for your money (by "unique", I mean people who have been
positively identified as your potential target audience, not just
anyone with an email address).

However, actually I really like ideas of campaigning through the
Internet. I would like to recommend you to check into e-democracy and
Stephen Clift's newsletter of that name on the site: many advices and
news on e-democracy, some might be also beneficial for your own
jplsu-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $20.00
Thanks so much for information you provided! I'm very appreciative. I
completely understand that the odds are against any party trying to
penetrate the two-party system. My goal, however, is not to create a
functioning multi-party system, because that will never happen (for
many reasons I won't go into). Having said that, my goal is to "take
the place" of either the Republican or Democratic parties when one of
them begins to lose power. If all of the statistics are correct (and
history proves true), that will most likely be the Democratic party as
it shrinks and loses support. Nonetheless, realistically no party will
be able to do this in the near future. However, I'm young, have a lot
of energy, and don't mind trying to "climb the mountain" so to speak
to create change in our government.

I do, however, disagree about buying the mailing lists. What does a
political party have to lose? If the email goes straight to trash or
junk mail, what do we lose? The $100 we spend on the list ... seems
like a small investment which could provide a very hefty return if
successful with minimal (actually I see none) risk. If only 1 percent
of 1,000,000 emails sent out get read, the party has no place to go
but grow. It seems like a no-lose situation to me. Thus, given my
belief on this issue, if you don't mind could you provide me with the
best companies/websites to purchase these email lists. Assume (and the
assumption would be correct) that I know nothing about "opt-in" "bulk
emails" etc. etc.

Thanks again!

Subject: Re: Forming a political party
From: politicalguru-ga on 14 Jul 2005 23:47 PDT
Dear Jplsu, 

Thank you for the rating and the tip!

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