Ballot Follies

Many of my friends have opined that “it’s unfair Newt Gingrich/Rick Santorum” missed the opportunity to get on the Virginia ballot.

I disagree.

The law is the law and it should not be ignored just because it is convenient or expedient for disorganized candidates.

To get on the Virginia ballot, one must submit 10,000 signatures of registered voters and ensure that at least 400 come from each Congressional district. Some say that is onerous and overly restrictive, however, I think it’s perfectly fair.

Virginia has about 8 million people, and about 5 million of them are registered voters. So, to get on the ballot one must get roughly 1 out of every 500 or so people who are registered to vote to sign a paper. They don’t even have to support the person.

In perspective, it’s .2% of the registered voting public. Some student governments (including my Alma mater) require more signatures as a percentage of the student population to be on a ballot. Sure, it is not easy, but that is kind of the point of the whole exercise.

With Super Tuesday behind us, and Rick and Newt losing ground, they could have had a better shot if they had just paid people or got volunteers (something Ron Paul is particularly good at) to canvass for signatures.

On their part, it’s either poor planning or laziness by the campaign (not the volunteers themselves). Any good political hack worth their stuff knows that you don’t need to pay people to volunteer if they believe in you. And as evidenced by the yard signs in my neighborhood, Rick and Newt have more supporters than Romney does. Volunteers will practically move mountains for a bumper sticker if you tell them it is limited edition and special.

There’s an old-adage in politics: YARD SIGNS DON’T VOTE. I guess we can modernize it for this situation to say: If all you do is give out yard signs, people probably won’t be able to vote for your candidate. You need to give out those trinkets as reward for meaningful work, like getting on the ballot in the first place.

Which is why I think neither Newt or Rick deserved to be on the ballot. Gingrich’s people did submit signatures, but didn’t meet the qualifications, and Rick Santorum apparently didn’t submit any*. They were disorganized, and the law is the law.

*UPDATE: A friend and Santorum supporter sends this from a guy who was collecting signatures:

“We collected 8431 signatures, but we did not turn them in because you needed to collect 10,000 or more and sign a document saying you had that amount”

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2 Thoughts on “Ballot Follies

  1. Namaan on March 7, 2012 at 6:37 pm said:

    If they can’t run a professional and well-organized campaign, how can we possibly trust them to run the country?

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