04 January 2012

Republican whiners, losers sue for ballot access

A presidential candidate is arguing that one state's ballot-access laws unconstitutionally violate his First Amendment rights. The candidate in question is not an independent, but the Governor of Texas, Rick Perry, who is suing the state of Virginia after he failed to submit the number of petitions required by local law for a line on a statewide ballot. Perry's petitions haven't been challenged; they were too few to challenge. He fell approximately 4,000 short of the 10,000 Virginia requires, but he claims to have been unfairly handicapped by a provision requiring that petitions be solicited and collected only by residents of the state. Perry regards this as an absurdity, since it would forbid him from going door-to-door in Virginia to solicit signatures on his own behalf, as well as an unjustifiable restriction on the number of "message carriers."

Perry's case is complicated by the fact that Virginia's rules did not prevent the governor's fellow Texan, Ron Paul, nor the former governor of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney, from collecting the signatures needed to get on the primary ballot. That difficulty has not deterred Perry's other rivals, Messrs. Gingrich, Huntsman and Santorum, from joining the suit, despite the fact that neither Huntsman nor Santorum even bothered to submit petitions. Their claim, as far as I can tell, is based on the proposition that they are entitled as announced candidates for the GOP nomination to appear on the same ballot as Romney (not to mention Paul) wherever he runs. Against this proposition, the governor of the state, their fellow Republican, says that anyone who expects to become President ought to be able to scare up 10,000 Virginia signatures relying on Virginia resources alone. While the governor is open to revising ballot-access rules in the future, he doesn't believe they should be changed during the primary season. He adds: "If you dilute those standards too much you could have multiple candidates on the ballot that really aren't serious and could potentially confuse voters,"

Poor Rick Perry: treated like a third-party candidate. Some people will only acknowledge that a system's unfair when it's unfair to them. The usual Republican response to such complaints, I presume, is to affirm the fairness of the system -- if not the fairness of life itself --  and call the complainant a loser. But for me to do that here would be too much like shooting a dead horse in a barrel to be any fun.


Anonymous said...

In this (rare) case, I have to take the loser's side. I think that any federal election should be held only under the jurisdiction of federal law. States should have no say in who can or can not be on their ballot. I guess the only appropriate way to do this is to de-politicize the political parties. Make them a "private" club and then their primaries won't be legally under the jurisidiction of state law any more than a local Elks or Kiwanis chapter's election are.

Samuel Wilson said...

I halfway agree with you. It's not a federal election since the primary chooses state representatives for a political convention -- Virginians will not be voting for the office of President of the U.S. at that time. But privatizing the primary process and making the parties do without taxpayer support would put pressure on Virginia Republicans to arrive at a fair standard -- by their standards -- for primary ballot access.

Anonymous said...

At the same time, Perry & Co.'s lawsuit proves what hypocrites they truly are, since they are bringing the "power" of "big gubbermint" to (hopefully) infringe on state's rights.