Ballot Access Solutions
Ballot access should be redesigned to present an equal opportunity to compete for public office. To accomplish that, the guiding principle should be one of equal opportunity and administration.
FIRST: Ballot access laws pertaining to the offices of President and Vice President of the United States should be uniformly applied among all states, territories and the District of Columbia (hereinafter collectively included within “state”). No state has a unique interest in either office that justifies state-defined criteria. There should be complete uniformity on a state-to-state with respect to the following (unless otherwise noted):
- All filing documentation (i.e., for any Notice/Statement of Candidacy, List of Authorized Representatives, Full Participation Statement, Signature Petitions, Delegate/Elector Candidate Statement, etc.)
- All filing fees
- All time frames associated with filings (including the gathering of signature petitions and filing of delegates and Electors)
- Staggering would be achieved by indexing all start and due dates associated with filings of any kind with the scheduled date of each state’s primary or caucus
- Additional days could be added to the start date(s) based on the number of simultaneously scheduled primaries and/or caucuses
- The number of valid signatures as a percentage of registered voters that is required to become ballot qualification
- The validation criteria for all signatures
- The time frames associated with validation
- The time frames associated with challenges (and their resolution)
The only areas in which states would be permitted to differ are:
- The number of delegates required (party driven)
- The number of electors required (driven by federal law)
- The total number of signatures required (although the percentage of registered voters remains the same).
SECOND: Require all candidates to comply with any ballot access qualification procedure. This would eliminate the extremely unfair advantage that “politically privileged” candidates current enjoy and would ensure that the signature requirements, validation criteria, etc. would be reasonable rather than punitive.
THIRD: Make similar adjustments to make third party registration hurdles reasonable rather than punitive.
Uniformity and reasonableness should be the determinative factor with respect to ballot access. The current system presents a legal maze with unconscionably high hurdles that are designed to serve as barriers to entry and preserve the power and control of the major parties. That was never the intent of our system, and it should not be permitted to continue.