Tag Archives: election

Getting Your Name on the Ballot

12 Feb

I can bet that most of you have never run for office. Why would you? It’s a pain in the butt. If you’re lucky, you’ll get scrutinized by the media, but more likely, ignored altogether. So why are some people making it harder to even get on the ballot?

Well, the answer’s obvious–they want to stay in power. Your laughable attempt to actually get on the ballot might actually draw enough votes away from their candidate that they may lose to the real challenger. So the laws are set up in most American states that it’s real hard for third party candidates… or even worse, if you’re an independent candidate.

Since most of you have never gone through this process, let me explain. To get on the ballot for any position, you need to have a certain number of signatures on your petition. To give an example, in the great state of Arizona, if you’re part of a “registered political party,” you need 0.5% of total qualified signers residing in the district. Doesn’t sound like much… and it’s not. For my state house district, if you’re a Democrat or Republican, you need a minimum of 500 signatures and a maximum of 3,000. The reason for the range is that a number of signatures are thrown out as being invalid… so it’s always good to get twice the minimum number you need to run.

Thankfully, my party (Libertarian) made the “registered” bit, so since I’m thinking of running for the state house, that means I need 250 signatures and a maximum of 1,500. Why half as much? Because there are less registered Libertarians than those registered to the major parties. However, if you’re running as an independent, you need 0.5% of ALL qualified signers (from any party) within your district. Which means you would need 1,500 signatures… minimum; three times the number of the major parties.

Now you may be wondering, why am I concerned about ballot access? After all, I’m getting the great end of the deal, having to get half as many signatures as the Republican or Democrat, right? The problem is that Arizona is an anomaly. In most American states, third parties have to file as independents–forcing them to get three times as many signatures. Even in Arizona, candidates of the Green Party, the Constitution Party, and probably several others I’m not aware of, have to file as independent.

That doesn’t even start to describe the problem of actually getting signatures. Let’s face, the major parties have a lot more diehards that are willing to sign signatures, or they have the money to pay folks to get signatures. An R or D doesn’t have to worry about getting on the ballot. Third parties have VERY little money, the candidates are on their own, so they (or their friends) have to get those signatures themselves. Meanwhile, you’ve got a normal job, and normal commitments, so this becomes your side job. That’s just to get on the ballot–how badly do you want to actually win? Are you willing to go door-to-door and win enough votes? That’s now your job.

But… one thing at a time. First, let’s get on the ballot, and then we’ll worry about winning elections. I’ve gone through this before–and I think everyone should–just to understand the political process. But what do you think? Should you have to go through this just to get on the ballot? Is the rules a lot more lenient where you live? Let me know in the comments below!

Baja Arizona, Little Egypt, and the State of Jefferson

20 Aug

Every US presidential election, people call for ending the Electoral College, but there’s a big obstacle… it’s written into the Constitution! To shift to a purely popular vote, you’ve got to amend it, and that’s really difficult. But what if there was a better way?

Hear me out – let’s make more 15 states! Take all the cities that feel that they are being underrepresented and give them statehood! Suddenly they get their own senators and two more electoral votes. For the rural voters, you get rid of all the big city dominance of state politics and still have your seats in the Senate. Politically, Republicans and Democrats get roughly equal representation and preserves single-party dominance in their existing states. In the House of Representatives, it would work out about the same.

Here’s the current map – so my plan means cutting out 14 urban areas (and Puerto Rico, because they voted to and deserve to be admitted) and having them create their own states and creating a more equitable and electoral balance that’s closer to the popular vote.

New State – # of Representatives (Current # Reps in State)

  • Boston – 5 (9)
  • New York City 17 (27)
  • Philadelphia 7 (19)
  • Northern Virginia (add to DC) 2 (11)
  • Atlanta 6 (14)
  • Miami 5 (27)
  • Chicago 8 (18)
  • Detroit 5 (14)
  • Dallas 7 (36)
  • Houston 7 (36)
  • Phoenix / Tucson (South Arizona) 6 (9)
  • Los Angeles 25 (53)
  • San Francisco 8 (53)
  • Seattle 4 (10)

So that puts the new Electoral Count at 565. These 15 new states will be overwhelming Democrat, leaving the original states overwhelmingly Republican. As a bonus, that would allow someone from rural Illinois (such as I used to be) to feel that Springfield represents my interests instead of Chicago. Chicago can feel like they’re not having to drag the rest of rural Illinois with them. However, most importantly, the electoral numbers will be closer to the popular vote.

Now I thought about cutting up Ohio, North Carolina, Oregon, and Tennessee, but the numbers just didn’t add up. Believe it or not, this has been tried in California multiple times, starting with the State of Jefferson back in 1941 to the most recent “Cal 3” initiative back in 2017. Apparently, there’s a whole Wikipedia page dedicated to this.

Where did I get the math wrong? What new states would you include? Let me know in the comments below!

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