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Ambushed by Words - We're All Mad Here
You can tell I'm mad because I have straw in my hair.
Ambushed by Words
I'd like to present you with two short lists. The first one is entitled "Things I Didn't Know About Virginia Two Weeks Ago, But Have Since Learned." It consists of one item: evidently, to be on the ballot for a primary election in Virginia, you have to get 10,000 signatures, and each of the districts must have at least 400 residents represented. Additionally, write-in candidates in primary elections are ignored. This last seems to go against the idea of being allowed to vote for whomever you'd like, but maybe they just don't want to make tallying the primary votes any more difficult than they have to.

The second list is "Things You Should Have Known About Virginia If You Were Planning on Being in the Primary." It's actually a fairly extensive list, but the salient point is that it overlaps with the list mentioned in the first paragraph. Which is to say, in case you've been holed up in a bunker to hide from the coming of 2012, that the Republican primary in Virginia will have only 2 candidates on it, as the others either didn't bother to get the signatures, or screwed up their attempts.

Newt Gingrich's failure was particularly noteworthy, as his campaign's first response to the news that he wouldn't be on the ballot was to claim that they would "pursue an aggressive write-in campaign" -- which, you'll note, has absolutely no chance of being successful, under the rules. They then blamed a single volunteer for collecting over a thousand fake signatures, since apparently there was no oversight going on. And finally, Newt compared his screwup to Pearl Harbor, casting himself in the role of America and leaving Japan to be played by the onerous signature-collecting rule.

Now, the thing is, getting 10,000 signatures doesn't seem like it would be all that hard to me. Let's say you can get 10 an hour; that means it would take 25 people one 40-hour week to collect the necessary signatures. That's not a very large hurdle. Two of the candidates were able to clear it. What tripped up Newt was not the difficulty of the task, but a simple failure on the part of his campaign to read the rules.

There's a lot of talk now about whether Virginia's primary rules should be changed, but I'm pretty much on board with this. I think that if a candidate and his staff can't be bothered to read and follow the rules for something as simple as this, then I'm glad to have them weeded out early on. I think other states should also adopt restrictions like this. Not difficult barriers, but definite requirements. I don't care if all it says is "Each candidate must go to the state capital and write '[Candidate's name] wuz here' in the guestbook to be considered"; I just want to see something in each state that will disqualify would-be elected officials who don't pay attention.

In fact, I think that that specific requirement I just made up is a great one. I bet you could make a lot of money off of those books after a few election cycles. Drop that sucker on eBay, and it could help some state balance its budget. Capitalism in action!

Mood of the Moment: cheerful cheerful
Auditory Hallucination: Metallica -- Sanitarium

1 comment or Leave a comment
merle_ From: merle_ Date: January 3rd, 2012 09:54 pm (UTC) (Link)
Heh. It requires 20,000 signatures to even place a recall measure for the Oakland CA mayor on the ballots. We're just a city, not even a state.
1 comment or Leave a comment