If you haven't heard the latest news, several of the leading GOP candidates for President will not appear on voters ballots in this 2012 primary season.
Why? That's a very good question.
I have never been fond of ballot restrictions of any kind. They only discourage people from being involved in politics, and they are basically designed to help keep the status quo in power.
What possible reason does Virginia have to keep people off a ballot?
The only reason I can think of is that you might want to require more than $5 and your own signature so that you don't have half the town running for office as some type of prank. But even this is a bit of a dangerous trespass into Constitutionally guaranteed rights to participate in elections.
10,000 signatures? This is clearly oppressive, and might even be illegal.
The Voting Rights Act of 1965 was established specifically because local jurisdictions were doing things that were discriminatory. They were trying to keep people off ballots and stop them from voting.
I think this set of rules in Virginia would not withstand a court challenge. The practice is discriminatory against everyone who is not a well-funded and highly-staffed candidate. Basically, lawyers can argue these signature requirements fall under the Voters Rights Act, because these rules are preventing people from participating in elections.
I know about these drawbacks personally. The City of Los Angeles has restrictive rules that require 500 valid signatures from registered voters to get on a ballot. Again, this requirement is unfair to underfunded or understaffed campaigns. In certain sections of the city, there are very few registered voters! We have one pinhead of a City Councilman who regularly wins elections in his district with 2,000 to 3,000 votes total in a city of 6 million people. Yet he and any interested opponent are required to go out and search for those 500 registered voters, even though they may be difficult to find.
Virginia may be concerned that making their rules too lax may result in chaos. They may be afraid of a situation like the California recall election of 2003, where there ended up being 135 different candidates for Governor, including a porn star (Mary Carey) and a comic actor (Gary Coleman). Yet somehow, voters managed to wade through page after page of candidates, and they managed to avoid voting for the porn star and the comic actor. They voted for Arnold Schwarzenegger, who in a weird way ended up being a little bit of both.
Now the Republican Party of Virginia, in their total ineptness, has decided to disqualify a man who has already served as the third most powerful elected official in America. A man named Newt Gingrich.. who actually lives in Virginia!
Virginia needs to change their rules and change them quick.
When you disqualify FIVE of the seven candidates for President, your system is broken.
The fact that it was the Republican Party of Virginia checking these signatures and disqualifying people from the ballot is absolutely unacceptable. I consider this an act of fratricide, and the Virginia GOP needs to pay a price for this.
I strongly suggest an uprising from the GOP members in Virginia.
County Party leaders need to quit in massive numbers. They also need to threaten to stop all financial support of the Virginia GOP. They need to threaten to form alternative organizations.
This ballot nonsense in Virginia is unacceptable. Many voters have already watched these candidates debate on national TV for several hours.
There is absolutely no justifiable reason to keep them off the ballot.
Those idiots who say "rules are rules" don't get the bigger picture.
If Virginia has the right to demand 10,000 valid signatures, then Florida has the right to demand 50,000 signatures. And of course, stupid California would then probably demand 1,000,000 valid signatures.