Re: Left off the ballot?

From: Jeff Almeida <spud_at_spudzeppelin_dot_com>
Date: Thu Apr 15 2004 - 15:54:09 CDT

Also Sprach Douglas W. Jones:

>The write-in channel is blocked in Florida, where they have this bizarre
>institution of an authorized list of write-in candidates. The number
>of signatures required to become an authorized write-in candidate is
>smaller than the number required for getting your name preprinted on
>the ballot, but it's illegal to vote for a write-in candidate who didn't
>file for authorized status. I found this very strange when I first
>encountered it in Florida law, but it does block the write-in-vote as
>a voter signature option.

I found it mind-boggling the first time I too encountered that same
practice, when I first moved here (Texas). While I'm personally thankful
for Texas' near-impossible ballot-qualification requirements THIS YEAR
(where it's making it near-impossible for the big Ralph to vomit on the
election), it is arduous to get on the ballot here IN ANY FASHION. The
exorbitant filing fees (over $1200 for state senate) and advance deadlines
(10 months before the general election) make it hard to file even for a
major-party candidate.

Contrasting this, I grew up in Idaho, where the first major election I
voted in (had a couple city council and school bond votes beforehand) was
the 1990 gubernatorial race, where I wrote-in (quite literally) "Bruce
Willis" as a subtle form of protest to the great Cecil Andrus signing
the increased drinking age. Write-ins there were VERY common -- there
were no filing requirements at all -- and the punch-card ballots were
dropped in the box inside manila sleeves that actually had lines to match
write-ins with the races where you punched the "write-in" box. Some
write-in candidates in Idaho even passed out preprinted labels to stick on
the write-in sleeve when voting to make sure you specified the name and
contest correctly.

I'm digressing radically from our explicit topic, but OTOH we do need to
be cognizant that a system designed to work in most environments will need
to address the full range of varying write-in laws. What the digital-era
equivalent of preprinted stickers for ballot envelopes in a write-in
contest performed by touch-screen should be, however, remains to be
seen.... :)


Jeff D. "Spud (Zeppelin)" Almeida
Corinth, TX
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Received on Fri Apr 30 23:17:07 2004

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