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Ballot Access for Third Parties

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" Pennsylvania--20601

" Illinois--25,000

" Arizona--27000

Even the number of signatures is misleading as election officials check the validity of signatures, so the rejection rate can be as high as from 15-50 percent of the signatures. The number of possible errors is huge, for example: (1) Address on signature form does not match voter registration records if person signing petition moved and forgot to inform voter registrar of the move; (2) Person signing petition thought they were registered when they were not. So the actual number of signatures needed is much higher than the official number listed above.

  States with Early Deadline for signatures

" California--January 3, 2012 (Took a law suit by ACLU to overturn it, but delayed signature gathering while lawsuit was in progress. The high number of signatures remained.

  " Texas -Deadline was changed multiple times due to federal redistricting lawsuit. Court ended up moving the precinct conventions for the Democratic and Republican parties, to June which previously had marked the date when you could begin gathering signatures, but left our date as March 14, 2012, which was too late to hold our precinct conventions. So the Justice party had to be completed with its signature by the time most voters even knew there was going to be a primary election. The whole idea that you had to wait to begin signatures seems ridiculous. Plus, existing parties don't have to certify their candidates until after their national conventions in August September.

  Other factors which make it difficult for new parties to get on the ballot.

" In half the states there is no procedure for a new political party to get on the ballot the first year. In most of these states, the Presidential candidate for a new party has to run as an independent, receive a certain percentage of votes of those who vote in election in order to qualify for the candidate's party to appear on the ballot. If the candidate doesn't receive enough votes, the candidate's party must go through the same process next election.

  " In every state, the independent candidate must bear the cost of printing out signature forms and recruiting volunteers to go around the state and gather signatures. It takes time to recruit volunteers, which is problem because the deadlines for turning in the signatures are coming due at different times. So a national campaign like Rocky Anderson's campaign has to shift resources around and determine which states to focus on first, which usually means focusing on the states with the least restrictive ballot access requirements. So if you don't have the resources to mount a big push in the "hard" states, then you will not be on the ballot in some of the states with the most popular and electoral votes.

  " The election administration in all 50 states is administered by a Secretary of State in control of either the Democratic or Republican parties. While the clerks or low-level officials in the office may try to do their jobs, the policies in all 50 states at the highest levels of election administration is to keep competition from new parties and candidates to a minimum.

  " In some states, the petitions must include only the signatures from the same county. So, if the signature gatherers set up a mall where people from multiple counties are shopping, they would have to keep multiple petitions, one for each county they are likely to encounter.

  " Also, in addition to partisan Secretary of States challenging petitions, existing political parties can challenge the signatures.

  "As mentioned on our show, in Pennsylvania if a candidate's signatures are challenged by another party, then the candidates can be held personally liable. In 2008, Democrats challenged Ralph Nader's signatures in Pennsylvania and won a personal judgment against Ralph Nader and his V.P. candidate, where the two candidates were forced to pay a total of $80.000 out of their own bank accounts. This year, the Republicans challenged the signatures of the Libertarian and Constitution parties in Pennsylvania. The Constitution party candidate decided to end his ballot access effort in Pennsylvania because of his fear of a personal judgment against him" (Radio show 9/17/2012).

If a candidate can't reach the number of signatures needed, then he or she must submit the paperwork for being recognized as an official write-in candidate. If the write-in paperwork is not submitted, then if anyone writes-in the candidate name on election day,, that vote will not be counted. In addition, the candidate usually has to recruit a list of Presidential electors should a miracle happen and he or she were to win the popular vote for that state. The electors would then cast the vote for that state in the Electoral College when it meets in December. Also some states require signatures just to be a write-in candidate or charge a filing fee to be a write-in candidate.


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Former Chairman of the Liberal Party of America, Tim is a retired Army Sergeant. He currently lives in South Carolina. A regular contributor to OpEdNews, he is the author of Kimchee Days (or Stoned Cold Warriors).

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I agree with you, having parties, too many of them... by Tony Orlando on Tuesday, Sep 18, 2012 at 9:00:43 PM
Maybe it is better to do it like this at first. Vo... by Tony Orlando on Tuesday, Sep 18, 2012 at 9:11:35 PM
Hard to believe that this is the 21 century and ye... by Gail Harrison on Tuesday, Sep 18, 2012 at 9:53:42 PM
We need to revamp the whole thing.... by Timothy Gatto on Tuesday, Sep 18, 2012 at 11:24:09 PM
Is the authoritative source for information on wha... by June Genis on Wednesday, Sep 19, 2012 at 11:04:17 PM