Sunday, August 06, 2006

Coming August 17th: Smackdown in Green

Arkansas Attorney General Mike Bebee and Secretary of State Charlie Daniels have a court date August 17th. This is where their efforts to block ballot access for Green party candidate Jim Lendall are going to face scrutiny from a Federal Court.

Independent Rod Bryan, a 32 year old sandwhich shop worker, made it on the ballot for governor with 11,000 signatures. Former state legislator Jim Lendall filed over 17,000 signatures for ballot access under the auspecies of the Green Party, but has been denied access to the ballot. Lendall is a much bigger threat to siphon off votes from the Democrats than Bryan, and a Green Party with ballot access is a bigger threat than an independent with such access.

The offices of Mike Beebe and Charlie Daniels maintain that someone desiring access to the ballot as a member of a new party should be required to gather two or three times the signatures required for an independent.
Federal judges have taken a different view. Court rulings since 1996 have said that Arkanasas' dual standards for ballot access is a violation of the 14th amendment. You can't have dual standards for ballot access depending on who you want to associate with.

It is believed that Beebe's team is going to try to argue that the state has already complied with the court rulings because they have fiddled some with the dates signatures can be collected while leaving the different numerical requirements- 10,000 for an independent vs. 24,000 and growing for new parties- in place. I have seen the court opinions. The judges specifically don't like the different numbers. If Beebe's team goes in with that line of baloney, they will not only lose but be lucky if they are not perp-walked out of the courtroom for contempt!

Yet Beebe has little choice but to stick with that argument, since his position was smoked out just last year when Sen. Jim Holt, the GOP candidate for Lt. Governor, filed a bill that would have eliminated the inequity by making statewide ballot access available with 10,000 signatures regardless if you are an independent or a member of a minor political party. The bill got nowhere, but not before Beebe's team issued an opinion saying it was not needed because current law was already in compliance with court rulings. Now in two weeks they are going to have to try and tell that to a federal judge. Good luck.

Daniels has not been pinned down like that, so his team is trying a slightly different tack. His lawyer Bill Brooks claims that, "parties are affiliations of like-minded individuals who wish to run for a range of offices in a multitude of elections -- but independent candidates are just individuals seeking a single office in a single election." and that the different situations call for different standards.

First of all, it is not always the case that "groups of like minded persons" have more resources than an individual. Ross Perout has more resources than the Green Party for example. Secondly, the argument that they can apply for more than one office does not hold water either, because for district and smaller offices the lone independent would have easier ballot access than a new party even if the requirement for state-wide ballot access was made equal. Example: If someone wanted to run as an independent for state representative they would need about 400 signatures, but new party ballot access can't be had for a single district race. You have to go for ballot access for the whole state if you want to run with a party label. So the "advantage" of running with a group is countered by that disadvantage. The question is should ballot access for the whole state be held to a much higher standard based on who you want to associate with?

Who do I think is going to win in court on the 17th? What color is this written in?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think you're right. Beebe and Daniels will both lose this one. Daniels has already been playing politics with people's right to vote. Now he and Beebe both are doing it. Except this time it's more indirect, but they're still playing politics with everyone's Constitutional right to vote.

9:51 AM, August 06, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You can't have dual standards for ballot access depending on who you want to associate with.

They do it every election: The Democrats and Republicans don't have to lift a finger for ballot access, and to add to the insult, the taxpayers fund their primaries- even though many of us consider ourselves neither R nor D. Why should I have to pay so that the Republicrats can decide whether Tweedle Dee or Tweedle Dum will be representing them as their candidate for governor?

There should be uniform, reasonable standards for ballot access for ALL parties. And until there is, the Republicans and Democrats should have to pay for their own exclusionary primaries.

11:49 AM, August 06, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What color is this written in?

Whew! I thought my monitor was going out!

11:51 AM, August 06, 2006  
Blogger rob_star said...

They should lose this case on its merits if there truly is any justice left in the world. Any candidate from any party should have the same ballot access as an independent. I do believe, however, if it were the other way around the Republicans would be trying the same thing. I am not trying to justify this by any means. I am just saying that if there were a Klan candidate trying to syphon off the hillbilly vote, Asa would have pulled the same kind of stunt.

7:11 AM, August 08, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

11:18 AM, August 08, 2006  
Anonymous David Humphreys said...

anonymous 11:18,

What does the that have to do with anything, especially the article? Please don't act idiotically on an issue-based blog. You are only making yourself sound irrelevant.

2:10 PM, August 08, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I am just saying that if there were a Klan candidate trying to syphon off the hillbilly vote, Asa would have pulled the same kind of stunt. "

No, because Asa actually has integrity and character, something the Democrats don't know a thing about. The only reason the cohorts in crime Beebe and Daniels are trying to keep Jim Lendall's name off the ballot is because they know he will siphon off votes from Beebe. And since BB and Daniels are in each other's back pocket....

3:37 PM, August 08, 2006  
Blogger Mr. Toast said...

11:18, if you're going to post irrelevant rhetoric, at least be nice.

3:57 PM, August 08, 2006  

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