Saturday, February 11, 2012

Jim Wallace (Basically) Ends Campaign: The Need for Electoral Reform in Indiana

This is a post that is probably going to bore a lot of readers, hence why I'm posting it on Saturday morning rather than during the week.

Jim Wallace has been running for Governor of Indiana for several months. He's traveled all across the state, from the small towns and rural counties to the urban cities and everywhere in between.

And Wallace is a wealthy man, so finances were never going to be a problem.

But he wasn't well known, and most Republicans had already settled on two possible candidates. And when Lieutenant Governor Becky Skillman decided not to run, most Republicans lined up behind current Congressman Mike Pence.

And without having a campaign infrastructure, name ID or party backing, it's very hard to break through.

One of the many hurdles that non-establishment candidates face is gathering signatures to have your name be on the ballot. For statewide elections, such as Governor, you must gather 500 signatures in each of Indiana's nine congressional districts

Wallace was certified in eight of them, but fell short in the 7th district. He originally came up a bit under 200 signatures short on Tuesday. On Friday, the deadline for filing for office and turning in signatures, he fell short by 13.

Wallace says he'll continue his campaign and seek a review of the signatures that were disqualified by the various election boards at the county and state level. But that process is an uphill battle.

Electoral reform is something that is badly needed in Indiana. It's very hard, as an independent or a non-recognized third party, to get your name on the ballot in November. Even as a Republican or Democrat, it can be a daunting task as presidential candidate Rick Santorum and Wallace have experienced.

State Senator Mike Delph has been one of the few who has introduced electoral reforms this session which aren't completely partisan. He introduced SB146, which would remove straight-ticket voting as an option on a general election ballot.

He also was going to change ballot access for Presidential primary candidates from signature gathering to a flat fee. but withdrew it under constitutional concerns. And that his officially endorsed candidate, Santorum, wasn't likely to meet the signature requirement. It isn't a bad idea,but it shouldn't be done during a Presidential election year.

I don't think we should become like New Hampshire's presidential elections, which had well over 20 people on each ballot in the two major political parties. We should have some quality control to make sure joke candidates are eliminated.

But if people are serious about their efforts in running for public office, regardless of if it's county coroner, President of the United States, or anything in between, we need to make it so they can get on the ballot. Both the primary and general. And then let the voters decide.

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