Sunday, December 03, 2006

Alabama Voters Need More Choices

Speaker's stand ... Alabama voters need more choices
By Loretta Nall
Special to The Star

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, a problem created solely by the government.

As a third party or independent candidate for statewide office, one must collect around 41,300 registered voter signatures in order to have their name placed on the ballot with the two major parties. This number changes every election cycle based on the number of people who voted in the last election. Neither of the two major parties has to meet this requirement. They get to make the rules and then claim an exemption they are not really entitled to.

And what is the first solution we see put forth to fix it? Do you think they are saying, “Hey ... let's fix the ballot access laws to make them more equitable for everyone and give more choices to the people?”

Of course not! The first words out of their mouths are, “Let's BAN it!” They would actually seek to further restrict the citizen's right to vote and make it so that citizens' votes count only if they cast their vote for the state sanctioned candidates, in other words 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 very frightening and most offensive. It serves as a pure example of how the political process no longer belongs to the people but has instead been hijacked by those in office.

The fact that so many citizens cast write-in votes, whether they were for me, Roy Moore, Charles Barkley or someone else, should serve as a clear warning that citizens are tired of this two-party system which, in Alabama, is more of a one-party system, and want more choices on the ballot, not less. We should demand that our election 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 the last election.

Is that too much to ask?

Loretta Nall was a Libertarian write-in candidate for governor and lives in Alexander City.

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