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Ballot Access Problems

When it comes to ballot access, the problem is obvious. We have allowed it to be controlled by the two major parties, and it is clear that they have crafted it to their advantage. They have also employed a “divide and concur” strategy by encouraging wildly different rules in each of the 50 states, 5 territories and the District of Columbia. As a result:

  • Parties have the discretion to decide who will be given ballot access automatically and who will not
    • Discrimination is unbridled, not only in traditional categories of race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, heritage, etc. but on a basis of who the parties “owe” for past service, who have connections to money or voting blocks, and who the parties can control
    • The “politically privileged” who receive automatic ballot access spend no time or money in this process, while those who are not treated equally are either entirely barred or must spend inordinate amounts of time and money trying to gain access
  • For the unfortunate candidates who have to earn ballot access, each state has different requirements:
    • What preliminary documentation has to be filed (and its form)
      • Where it needs to be filed
      • When it needs to be filed
    • What the criteria is to secure the necessary delegates and/or electors
      • How many are needed
      • What documentation has to be filed (and its form)
      • Where it needs to be filed
      • When it needs to be filed
    • What the criteria is to secure valid signatures to fulfill petition requirements (i.e., who qualifies)
      • How many are needed
      • When can signatures be gathered
      • What documentation has to be filed (and its form)
      • Where it needs to be filed
      • When it needs to be filed

Fifty-six different jurisdictions apply 56 different sets of rules; and deviation (no matter how minor) can disqualify a “non-privileged” candidate from qualifying in a primary or general election.

Then, many of the states apply “sore loser” laws to try to deny candidates from running as that standard bearer for different parties in different phases of the election. Unless you’re prepared to fight for ballot access, you will have lost the election before you even campaign.

See BALLOT ACCESS Solutions
See Rocky De La Fuente on Party Barriers to Ballot Access