Friday, February 24, 2012

Elections Mayhem In Indiana

All I can conclude at this point is that Indiana elections are a complete mess. The law really needs to be thoroughly overhauled to create simplicity and uniformity.

I am astonished that Rick Santorum can so easily make the signature requirements when one day he is lacking, and changing nothing, he suddenly has the signatures.

Then, the next day, Republican Jim Wallace is barred from the statewide primary ballot as a gubernatorial candidate because he is 14 signatures short of the needed 500 for the 7th Congressional District. From the Indy Star:

He blamed his apparent failure on a flawed process in Marion County which rejected a much higher percentage of petition signatures to be on the ballot than other counties. He said he submitted 1,282 signatures in the 7th District, entirely located in Marion County, but the Board of Voter Registration only certified 486.

“A fair number of Marion County voters are being disenfranchised regularly, not to mention the 5.8 million Hoosiers in the other eight congressional districts who have now seen their choice of the ballot vetoed by a single county,” said Wallace, a Fishers businessman and former member of the Hamilton County Council.

Wallace, who has put more than $1 million of his own funds into his campaign, did not have an attorney with him today.

Asked if that was a mistake, Wallace said that “I won’t second guess our citizen-first approach, but perhaps. I would like to think you don’t need to lawyer-up every time there’s a challenge like this. The issue is pretty simple. Voters deserve a choice in a democracy, and in this process today they were deprived of one.”

I completely agree with Wallace here. The voters have been cheated. He made the grade in 8 districts, so why not put him on the ballot there?

Apart from that, I don't see what the value is in causing a candidate to collect petitions for certain offices. Let voters decide at the ballot box! I don't want candidates denied ballot access for lack of performing the act of signature gathering. It doesn't prove anything of value relative to being an office holder.

Underlying this is again a desire to eliminate certain non-establishment challengers. Pence is a long-sitting Congressman. Wallace was once a Fishers Town Council and Hamilton County Council member, but that dates back several years. So, who brought on the challenges to Wallace?

Wallace’s candidacy was challenged by former Indiana Economic Development Corp. chairman Mitch Roob, who argued that Wallace did not collect the required 500 petition signatures in each of the nine congressional districts, falling short in both the 2nd and 7th districts.

Wallace today disputed that, arguing that he had 505 certified signatures in the 2nd, in northern Indiana, in addition to the 1,282 in the and had turned in the 7th District. Tom John, an attorney representing Roob, said there were questions about many of the 7th District signatures, suggesting some had been forged. Wallace, he said, should not be given the benefit of the doubt in face of evidence that “he does not have clean hands.”
Tom John, the former Marion County Chair of the Republican Party? The article might have mentioned that, alas.

Time to truly reform the election laws. Time to eliminate the petitioning requirements, and make uniform the processes.

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