Sunday, November 26, 2006

LTE's On Write-in Voting in BHAM News

Today the Birmingham News printed the following letters concerning write-in voting.
The first one is mine and the second one is from a fellow blogger and social justice activist.

Letters, faxes, and e-mail
Sunday, November 26, 2006

Ballot access laws are the problem

In light of the recent surge Alabama saw in write-in votes cast in the general election and the ensuing outcry from poll workers to ban the practice, I'd like to offer the following perspective and possible solution.

The ballot access laws are the real problem, one created solely by the government.

Third-party and independent candidates for statewide office must collect around 41,300 registered voter signatures in order to have their name placed on the ballot. Neither of the two major parties has to meet this requirement.

And what is the first solution we see put forth to address the problem? "Let's ban it." Politicians would actually seek to further restrict the citizen's right to vote and make it so that our vote counts only if we cast it for them. That's like saying you can have any flavor ice cream you want as long as it's vanilla.

As a voter and former write-in candidate for governor, I find that mentality most offensive.

The fact that so many write-in votes were cast, be they for me, Roy Moore, Charles Barkley or someone else, should serve as a clear warning that citizens are tired of this two-party system. We want more choices on the ballot, not less. We should demand that our elections process at least be as fair and equitable as the one in Iraq, where there were 75 political parties and 111 candidates on the ballot in that country's election.

Is that too much to ask?

Loretta Nall
Libertarian write-in candidate for governor
Alexander City

Poll workers need to just count votes:

So poll workers don't like counting write-in votes? Too bad. I don't appreciate listening to them whine about doing their jobs.

Yes, I agree it's a waste of time to write in Mickey Mouse. But don't try to tell me I can't vote against a candidate who has no official opposition or vote for Loretta Nall for governor. And it's interesting that The News' article doesn't even mention her.

This irks me:

"(Tim) Baer (Jefferson County elections supervisor) said he did not keep track of totals when he knew the election would not be affected. For example, he pointed to an unopposed candidate in a race that had a few hundred write-ins against several thousand votes cast for the candidate."

Really? Does that mean the election record shows the unopposed candidate received 100 percent of the vote? "A few hundred" to "several thousand" could be a substantial percentage, and it would clearly indicate the candidate is not really unopposed.

As long as Alabama's ballot access laws remain so stringent and it costs so much to run for office in the first place, voters aren't always going to find the best choices preprinted for them when they go to the polls. We have the right to vote for someone other than the officially sanctioned candidates in each race, and election workers - who are paid out of our tax money - just need to suck it up and count the votes.

Kathy McMullen

Vestavia Hills

1 comment:

Kathy said...

Thanks for the link. I told everyone my letter was printed "right after Loretta Nall's". I hope it helps.