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Reform Party Extends Deadline For Mail-In Survey

Reform party

DALLAS (AllPolitics, July 19) -- Citing mailing problems, the Reform Party will allow its members more time to return surveys indicating presidential preference past an original July 25 deadline.

About one million surveys were due to be mailed nationwide, but party members in New York and Wisconsin have not received anything, while delivery has been spotty elsewhere.

Reform Party national coordinator Russ Verney said, "Keep in mind the enormity this whole task." He told The Associated Press the party didn't get a computerized list of New York party members, and had to buy voter lists from cities and towns.

Because of the difficulties, the party will accept late surveys and has set up a toll-free number (1-800-96-PARTY) that members can call for a form. Verney has also said the 10 percent support threshold needed by candidates to get on the ballot won't be strictly enforced; about 10 percent will do. Accountants from Ernst & Young will oversee the tallying of the surveys and final vote at the party's August conventions.

But the mailing snafu has discouraged some Reform Party members. "I think there is a great likelihood...that there are people going to be left off and that there are going to be people upset," California party organizer Nancy Couperus told AP.

Others smell a rat. "My opinion?" New Yorker Herb Rosenberg told AP. "(Reform Party founder Ross) Perot doesn't trust them to vote the way he wants them to." Rosenberg is a former member of United We Stand, Perot's first attempt at party building.

Perot's main rival for the party nomination, former Colorado governor Dick Lamm, has said he worries about Perot's control over the whole party apparatus, but a Lamm advisor, Tom D'Amore told AP, "We don't see anything hidden or lurking in the closet. If we did, I'd be the first to howl."

Meanwhile, Florida's Reform Party has collected about 112,000 signatures -- more than twice the number needed -- to put Perot on the ballot as an independent. In Alabama, Perot's followers turned in 10,613 signatures (5,000 were required) to get the Texan on the independent ballot. A different name can be substituted for Perot in Alabama, but not in Florida.

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