After introducing the reader to four minor irritants caused by our election laws, now we come to a serious malady, as inflicted by the Elections Division. Observe this slap in the face, as delivered by the Legislature, via the Elections Division.
About 12 Libertarian candidate have had their candidacies declared invalid.
Are they felons? No. (Then again, a felon can still run for Congress...)
Have they made misleading statements with their filings? No.
Have they failed to file their papers? No.
Have they accepted a bribe? No.
Have they made threats against voters or opposition candidates? No.
So, what horrible crime have they committed against the people of Indiana? Nothing at all. They were bounced on a technicality. From the letter to the Libertarian Party of Indiana, from the Elections Division:
After their state convention, the LPIN was authorized by state statute to nominate candidates for offices listed in IC 3-8-4-2 and IC 3-8-4-10 if the LPIN did not nominate candidates for those offices at their state convention. IC 3-13-1-20 proscribes the process for filing these vacancies and provides, in relevant part:
"A candidate vacancy that exists following the convention of the party shall be filled by the state committee of the political party.... The chairman of the state committe shall file a notice of intent to fill the candidate vacancy with the official who is required to receive a certificate of candidate selection under section 15 of this chapter, The notice must be filed not later than ten (10) days before the chairman fills the candidate vacancy. (emphasis added)"
The "notice of intent to fill the candidate vacancy" described in IC 3-13-1-20 is a filing subject to SECTION 3 of House Enrolled Act 1011, which enacted a new statute, Indiana Code 3-5-4-1.9, that became effective March 23, 2006.
In other words, the Legislature passed a law that was designed to trip us up, and succeeded.
Glad that Indiana Legislature is hard at work for us, aren't you? They sure made the democratic process a thing for the rest of the world to behold here, didn't they? Let's show those people in Iraq how it's done!
My first reaction was that I wanted to be shown in writing that the other parties we held to the same standard. I'm not interested in getting their candidates bounced unless the IED positively refuses to acknowledge our candidates, in which case, what's good for the goose is good for the gander. But really, I want leverage by which the parties who wrote this mess would pull the members of the Division aside and say to them, "Hey look, we stand to lose a whole lot more candidates than the Libertarians do, so make this disappear". Alas, Dave Washburn of Hendricks County pointed out that the new sections of law were directed specifically at the Libertarian Party, without naming the Libertarian Party.
Specifically, IC 3-8-4-10 and IC 3-10-2-15 include only those parties which win 2-10% of the SOS race.
There is only one party in Indiana that this applies to. The Libertarians.
We never had to do this notification before. It was just one more hoop placed in front of the Libertarian Party, and we missed it. Some of the now disqualified candidates were going to supply the only opposition to an otherwise unchallenged incumbent. A real service this bureaucracy provides to the people of Indiana.
Can you imagine what it would be like if Coke and Pepsi wrote all the laws regarding the manufacture of soft drinks? That would be called collusion. With our elections, the Republicans and Democrats write the election laws. Why isn't that called what it is? It is collusion.
And, what about due process and equal protection under the law? Apparently, if Republicans and Democrats collude to exclude a minor party, those arcane notions can sail right out the window. Here's the final slap in the face from the Division:
To be sure, the division is bound by our laws, as we are a nation of laws. Unfortunately, in this case we do not agree with your interpretation with respect to how the law applies to the facts of this case. In any event, we certainly respect the right of the LPIN to disagree and seek redress in our courts.
Don't you love that high and mighty tone? These appointed, unelected directors of the Elections Division making pronouncements like this, disenfranchising these candidates and the constituencies they represent- no matter the size. And at once stating that the law is the law, and yet it is their interpretation that carries the day. The phrase 'arbitrary and capricious' comes to mind. This utterly lacks integrity.
Going to court over something like this is a joke- a bad joke. I have seen the Libertarian Party of Ohio deal with similar nonsense many times. Oh, they've won every case against their state, it's just that the case gets decided in December or January. Oh! Is that too late for you to get on the ballot? Oh, that's a shame!
Where do I fit in?
I believe that these candidates belong on the ballot. There is no good justification for excluding American citizens from the ballot at a time when we have soldiers dying in Iraq, fighting to give the Iraqis what we ironically lack here in Indiana- full minority party representation at the ballot box.
When I am elected Secretary of State, I will use the authority of that position, as Indiana's chief elections officer, to review and scrutinize the election code for fairness, to educate the people of our state of the inequities in the law directly and via the media, and to use the position to lobby the Legislature to strip unfair portions of the law away.
This is what a Secretary of State interested in integrity and accountability does. It is what a Secretary of State who believes in fairness does. It is what I will do.