Tuesday, April 15, 2008


On Wednesday, April 16 Rep. Cam Wards bill HB738 which would reduce the number of signatures required for Independent and Third Party candidates to appear on the ballot from 3% of voters in the last gubernatorial election to 1.5%. When I ran for Governor in 2006 the requirement was over 40,000 registered voter signatures, if Rep. Ward's bill passes it would cut the number by half to about 20,000 registered voter signatures. If this had been law in 2006 then I would likely have been able to gather the required signatures and have my name placed on the ballot and my votes counted.

I want and plan to run for office in the state of Alabama again. It would be nice to know going in that my name would be on the ballot and that the votes cast for me would be counted.

Here is the letter I have written to the Constitution and Elections committee asking them to support this bill. Please write and call them with your own thoughts about HB738.

Dear Honorable Members of the Constitution and Elections Committee,

I am writing today to ask you to support HB738, sponsored by Rep. Cam Ward, which will come before you on April 16, 2008. HB738 would reduce the astronomical number of signatures required for third party and Independent candidates to appear on the ballot. Currently Alabama has the worst ballot access laws in the country. They pretty much ensure that only major party candidates can participate in the elections process. This leaves a large number of Alabama citizens unrepresented in Government and a large number of people who would like to seek elected office effectively shut out. Republicans and Democrats do not have to gather ANY signatures to appear on the ballot.

Do you think it's fair that you get to make the rules and then claim an exemption from those rules that you are not really entitled to? I don't. Under this law voters are only allowed to hear from two candidates. Where did you derive your power to eliminate competition and declare a monopoly on the election process in Alabama? If your ideas and platform as a candidate are better than mine then you don't have anything to worry about, right? Then why the shut out of anyone who isn't a Democrat or Republican?

Many of you will remember that I ran for Governor on the Libertarian Party ticket in 2006. At that time over 40,000 signatures were required to have my name printed on the ballot. Trying to get that many signatures ate up most of the funds raised for my campaign and about half of the election cycle. In the end the burden of signatures was too high for me to overcome on a limited budget. I wound up running as a write-in candidate because I refuse to be silenced by an unfair law that my opponents are not subjected to. I guarantee you that I worked as hard in my campaign as any of you did in yours. Harder probably because of the signature law, which none of you have likely ever had to follow. While my write-in campaign was probably one of the most memorable in recent history, most of the votes cast for me weren't even counted. I guess votes only count when they are cast for state sanctioned candidates, huh?

Imagine yourselves in that scenario. You care enough about politics in Alabama that you want to get involved and you decide to run for office. Most of the money you raise will have to go for signature collection (currently this ranges anywhere from $2 -$4 per signature) leaving you very little to spend to get your message out to voters. Much of the time you should spend meeting voters and campaigning is spent trying to get people to sign a sheet of paper. If you manage to get all of the required signatures then there is very little left in terms of money to run radio, tv and newspaper ads. There is very little money to travel the state and meet voters. There is very little money to pay a campaign staff. If you decide to soldier on, like I did, then the write-in votes cast for you won't be counted.

Under those burdensome requirements regular people who don't really identify with either party enough to call themselves a Democrat or Republican are effectively shut out of the elections process. This stifles competition, cuts off the flow of new ideas, makes for an unhealthy state government where only two types of opinions are heard and decreases voter/citizen interest in the elections process. That is very un-American.

Another example of why this is a bad law is the fact that people like Larry (I hate N******, Jews, Fags, Christians and Mexicans) Darby, Joe (free vasectomies & tubaligations for all, especially non-whites) Copeland and Harry (Hey, let's have public hangings of Mexicans) Lyons, all got AUTOMATIC access to the ballot because they decided to align with the Democrats (whether the Democrats wanted them or not).

I have to say here that the whole Larry Darby infiltration of the Democratic Party during the 2006 election was an absolute scream. That this is exactly what both parties deserve for enacting such restrictive ballot access laws. They keep everyone out except the people who claim to be like them and what they get is someone joining them who claims to be like them and then reveals their true intent when it is too late to do anything about it. The chickens almost came home to roost on that one when Larry Darby came very close to winning the Attorney General nomination in the Democratic primary. That is a prime example of what the stifling ballot access laws have brought us. A hateful, mean, racist can get on the ballot, and almost win, but someone discussing prison overcrowding, drug policy reform and other pertinent (while controversial) ideas that are actually relevant to our state, cannot.

I often hear members of the legislature (especially when the pay raise passed last year) talk about the fact that so few regular folks can run for office because they can't afford it. If you don't identify with either party then the monetary requirements are far, far higher. That equates punishing someone because their political views are different from yours.

Think about the things I have written in this letter. Put yourself in my shoes for a moment and ask yourself if you would be elected to office if you were not a member of either major party and you had to follow the same requirements that I did. It is wrong to shut people out of the process simply because their party affiliation doesn't match yours. I, and others like me, have as much right to participate UNDER THE SAME RULES as anyone. The current law, in my opinion, equates to discrimination because it only applies to certain people seeking office. While Rep. Wards bill doesn't go far enough, in my opinion, it is a giant leap in the right direction of making the playing field more level.

Please vote YES on HB738 when it comes before you on Wednesday. End the discrimination against citizens who don't identify with either party and end the monopoly that incumbents have placed on the elections process. Make government OF, BY and for THE people....not just some people.

Thank you for your consideration in this matter.

Loretta Nall

Here is the committee contact info:

Jimmy Martin

Jay Love

Tommy Sherer
(334) 242-7694

George Bandy
(334) 242-7721

Greg Canfield
(334) 242-7763

Randy Davis

James Gordon
(334) 242-7772

Ken Guin
(334) 242-7674

Micky Hammon
(334) 242-7709

Barry Mask
(334) 242-7732

Joseph Mitchell
(334) 242-7735

Mary Moore
(334) 242-7608

Jack Page
(334) 242-7742

Patricia Todd
(334) 242-7718


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