Friday, October 13, 2006

Thursday Trail Report

This was another day that was a whirlwind of travel and interviews. Dan Drexler was my driver and road strategist. The first interview was with Kevin Keith of White River Broadcasting. The interview was for WCSI, but was likely to have portions additionally aired on the three other Indiana stations in the network.

On the air with Kevin Keith, WCSI-Columbus.

This was a 15-minute interview that covered the usual topics- Libertarian Party ballot status and the Elections Division, especially gerrymandering and voter verified paper audit trail voting machines. This interview has been posted at the Kole Campaign website in three files. Listen now!

Next stop was Seymour and a visit to the offices of the Tribune. I sat down with reporter Aubrey Woods, who noted more than once that I was the only candidate of any party, of any statewide race, who stopped at their offices this election season. I've been hearing that a lot, as will be seen.

The gerrymandering issue resonated with Mr. Woods, as all of the Statehouse candidates with districts that include Jackson County are running unopposed. From Woods' Tribune article:

One of the issues Kole said he believes the secretary of state's office needs to tackle is voting machines that can be trusted.

"I want to see an auditable voter verification paper trail audit system," Kole said. That system would allow voters to review their choices before making them final."

Grocery stores and other retailers allow you to see what you are buying, on the screen and on paper," Kole said. "Why can't we do this with our votes?"

Kole said such a move would serve to eliminate some of the distrust voters have with present systems.

He would also eliminate gerrymandering of districts because they ensure the election of officials and hold down voter turnout because elections are seen as a foregone conclusion.

The last stop was in Charlestown for the Clark County Farmers Bureau candidate forum.

Mike stands alone among statewide candidates.

The event started with the top of ticket. Eric Schansberg was there, but was not given an opportunity to speak. The Farm Bureau is not a Federal PAC, so it was not giving Federal candidates such as Schansberg the floor. Funny what campaign finance "reform" is doing to quiet discourse in America. This left Secretary of State candidates as the top of ticket. I was the only one to show, which cause room-wide snickering. I found that interesting, because the room was filled with Republican and Democratic partisans.

At any rate, I had the floor to myself. Again, I presented my platform of promoting higher turnout, and end to gerrymandering, and the use of VVPAT machines.

The New Albany News & Tribune not the presence of Schansberg & Kole- and the absence of their opponents. From David Mann's report:

The one federal candidate who showed up — 9th District Libertarian congressional candidate Eric Schansberg — joked that there might have been more candidates than regular voters at the event.

But Schansberg was just there to shake hands. Others got a chance to tell those attending what they were all about.

Here’s what a few of them had to say:

Libertarian Mike Kole was the only candidate for Secretary of State to make it to the forum.

Kole said he’s been traveling around the state at such forums and has been noticing that his opponents are not showing up. “It’s a real shame,” he said. And it speaks to voter disinterest.

Being a candidate is not simply the act of putting your name on a piece of paper, he said, but it’s a duty for the candidate to get out and meet the people who might be voting for them.

I've long held The Woody Allen Rule as my personal motto: "90% of success is simply showing up." There is a long-term lesson here for Libertarian candidates. Reporters still cover the top of ticket with the greatest attention. If we show up, and they don't, we get the coverage.

It is clear that the Ds & Rs have indeed created a game that allows them to concede that certain offices will be held by one or the other, leaving them to fight over just a small handful of offices. Observe the Democrats' cynical ploy this year for Indiana- back three Congressional races and the Marion County Prosecutors race; do the minimums elsewhere and suck up votes from your base for nothing. They didn't even bother to run a candidate for US Senate!

Alongside this, candidates from both "major" parties are only cherry-picking events. They attend if it's close to home, or in Indianapolis, or a large media event. It is the norm to not see a single other statewide candidate where I appear, not the exception. I've only seen the Republican incumbent twice all year. Twice! And I've been to over 180 events this year.

No comments: