The Arkanssouri Blog.: What, Republicans aren't allowed to sign petitions?

Saturday, October 02, 2004

What, Republicans aren't allowed to sign petitions?

From the Times Record:

Democrats have argued that the Republican Party of Arkansas was behind the Nader petitions because several signatures were of well-known Republicans. They argued that Arkansas is a battleground state in a close presidential race, and Republicans want Nader on the ballot to pull votes from the Democratic presidential nominee, John Kerry.

So? Is there any state law that voids signatures if they're signed by Republicans?

For now, Nader's back on in Arkansas.


Blogger Kn@ppster said...

The Democrats' argument runs something like this: "The purpose of ballot petitioning is for voters who support a particular candidate to be able to get that candidate onto the ballot so that they can vote for him. This is not what's going on with Nader. What's going on with Nader is that a bunch of people, who don't support him and don't intend to vote for him, are trying to put him on the ballot in the hope that others will vote for him, instead of for the main opponent of the man the petition signers support."

Which, of course, is true as far as it goes.

This "dilemma" (it isn't really a dilemma, it's just the Democrats and Republicans trying to hoist each other by their mutual petards) could be solved simply by getting rid of "ballot access requirements" altogether, and going to one of two systems:

1) Anyone who submits an affidavit announcing his or her candidacy gets on the ballot; or

2) The government gets out of the ballot printing business, and ballots are either hand-written or provided to voters by the parties and candidates themselves. This is how the US did it before the 1890s.

If you wanted to vote a "straight ticket," you'd get a ballot from the volunteer your party had in front of the polling place, go in, put Xs in the spaces next to the candidates, sign it and stick it in the ballot box.

If you didn't want to vote a straight ticket, you'd write down what candidate you supported for what office, sign it and stick it in the ballot box.

The beginnings of success for the Populist and Socialist parties scared the bejabbers out of the Republicans and Democrats, so they adopted the "Australian" ballot, printed by government and with strings attached to getting your name on it.

Tom Knapp

10:48 AM  
Blogger Tom said...

Back in my wildeyed big L days, I carried petitions for Ron Paul AND Fulani, the Libertarian and New Alliance (very left leaning) Parties. I did it because I did not and still do not see any reason they shouldn't both have access to the ballot. If presented a Nader petition today, I would sign it for the same reason. It's interesting that it's the party which calls itself "Democratic" which is pitching a fit about the possibility that people might be able to have a choice when they vote. And, FWIW, I suspect the Nader vote will be a pretty even three way split between people who would otherwise have voted for Bush, people who would otherwise have voted for Kerry and people who otherwise would not have voted.

12:59 AM  

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