Saturday, August 26, 2006

Great Indy Star Editorial on Restricted Ballot Access

The Indianapolis Star made note again today of how Indiana's election laws stifle participation in the electoral process, by beating down qualified and eager candidates, thus reducing choices for the people of our state. From the Star editorial:
State officials take pride in efforts they've made to tighten the gears of the election process, and they've had plenty of incentive by way of mandates and funding under the federal Help America Vote Act.

Unfortunately, a couple of little-noticed tweakings have cost voters some choices in the November balloting.

This should prove to be a temporary hitch. However, ballot access will remain an issue in Indiana as long as the state retains one of the nation's highest barriers to third-party participation.

Eleven Libertarian Party candidates for Statehouse offices were denied certification by the Indiana Elections Division because their party failed to state in writing with 10 days' notice that it intended to fill vacancies on its ticket.

The ongoing writing of new election laws, essentially more meaningless hoops to jump through, assures that some candidates will be barred from the ballot, as happened here. Observe that election law is written by Republicans and Democrats. Think maybe they have a motivation to keep some Libertarians off the ballot?
Given the dearth of interest and competition in the electoral process, it's a shame to see a dozen aspiring public servants sidelined. Hopefully, lessons have been learned and the T's will all be crossed in future elections.

Meanwhile, though, a much larger problem, the prohibitively high number of signatures required to attain ballot status, continues to be accepted by Democrats and Republicans alike. This means security for the two big parties; intense pressure on the Libertarians to fixate on the secretary of state's race, which determines who stays on the ballot; discouragement of other parties and independents; and reduced selection available to citizens. Why not add that big job to the election fix-up list?

So, yes, Libertarians have learned some lessons. We'll probably nominate all our candidates for Statehouse office at conventions from now on, and we'll hire legal counsel to review election law every year for new hoops to jump through. While the public did clamor for election reform, this is what you got. Is this reform, really? Does anyone feel that they were in some way protected from shady behavior?

Unless the public begins to clamor for fuller ballot access, election reform will merely amount to increasing mountains of paperwork and bureaucratic snarl, which only prevents little guys from running. The Ds & Rs can afford to burn dollars attending to this nonsense.

I am grateful that the Star has taken notice and is pointing out what Libertarians have been saying for years- the Ds & Rs act like two business giants engaged in a relative duopoly, and are guilty of collusion, and actively work to exclude other competitors. It's illegal in business, and should also be in our elections.

Voting for me will help send the message to Ds & Rs that you want more choices on the ballot. See my campaign website for more positions on elections.


Kevin said...

We'll see if they really mean it if they endose you for Secretatry of State.

Mike Kole said...

They've written enough editorials in support of my positions on ballot access, gerrymandering, and elections in general that you would hope they would be consistent in that regard.

My request to you or to anyone who wants to see such an endorsement is to write a letter to the Star urging them to do it.