Friday, June 25, 2004

Ballot Access Blues

The Indiana folks supporting Ralph Nader learned something about gaining ballot access that Libertarians have known all along- it's tedious, time-consuming, unsexy work that has to be a complete success in order to feel like it was worthwhile to undertake in the first place. The AP reports on Nader's likely failure to gain access to the November ballot.

Greens and others on the far left often think of Libertarians as nut cases, but they have to respect our ability to retain ballot access here. The LP has been on the ballot statewide in Indiana since 1994 because all of the requirements were met: the proper number of signatures were collected, and then the proper percentage of votes were earned in each subsequent Secretary of State race. Naderites wouldn't be facing the petition at all if they had run a candidate for Secretary of State in 2002 and gotten their numbers.

There's the rub. The Libertarian Party is a real political party, with county affiliates across the state. The Green Party is not a real political party, but a candidate vehicle much like the Reform Party. The hard fact is that election laws are essentially hurdles that Republicans and Democrats erect to make it difficult for fledgling parties to enter the game. A serious party, as the LP has demonstrated, can enter the field through hard work and a focus on topping those hurdles set up in election law.

It was gratifying to see LPIN Executive Director Brad Klopfenstein quoted in the AP article. He knows better than anyone what it takes to maintain ballot access.

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