Monday, December 25, 2006

Mark Crowley's Letter to the Editor in the P-G

Mark C, wrote to say:
I had a LTE in the Post-Gazette today (Christmas Day) promoting the Voters' Choice Act. In the print version they gave the LTE the prominent spot at the bottom right of the editorial page in its own box and even drew a little sketch for it. I suppose that today isn't one of the days people make it a point to check the editorial page, but I'm glad they saw fit to place it as they did.

Oddly, I submitted it about three weeks ago and they called soon after to confirm my intent to print. Next they just held it, I guess, for a slow time. (Either that or they dug mine back up after they got tired of endless letters from hockey zealots complaining that the award of the local slot casino wasn't the one that would pay 100% for a new hockey arena.)

This LTE follows an old formula for getting into the papers to promote the VCA: find a voting/election oriented article, recognize its central theme but make the point that ballot access consequences are at least as important, give one reason why expanded ballot access is good for PA, and finally offer the VCA as a solution. I've used variations of this approach four times in two years to get VCA LTEs
into local papers.

Too bad getting on the statewide ballot isn't as simple.


The real voting problem: third-party or independent candidates are shut out

Paper ballots may stop votes disappearing from recounts ("In Praise of Paper" by Bruce Schneier, Dec. 3 Forum), but they won't stop candidates disappearing from Pennsylvania ballots.

2006 saw no Pennsylvania third party or independent statewide candidates because unfair rules required more than 67,000 ballot access signatures. Major-party statewide nominees needed only their 2,000 primary election signatures.

When the Green Party's U.S. Senate candidate attempted ballot access, Democratic Party lawyers filed suit resulting in ballot denial and a staggering $1 million fine.

Incumbent parties use law and crippling financial threats to silence candidates who serve us all by bringing uncomfortable topics to political debate. Thus, paper backups won't stop disappearing debate from disappearing candidates.

What will? The Voters' Choice Act.

Since 2005,, a coalition of Libertarian, Green, Constitutional, Reform and other parties, has promoted the VCA. It would implement fairer ballot access rules. We need to push this again in the 2007 Legislature.

While unverifiable recounting is a concern, a far greater concern is censoring debate by unfairly prohibiting ballot access.

Running Mate photos from the 2006 Liberatian Christmas Party. Speaker, State Chairman, Chuck Molton, said our gathering and chapter had more people and energy than that of Philly. Professor David of CMU spoke of some of the worries of the county's policy with electronic voting machines and what fixes make sense. Others spoke and showed their brillance too in presentation and daily jazz, including Mark Crowley (in top left of first).

No comments: