mr. betmo talked last year about running for president and conducting an online grassroots campaign. trouble is- he has to wait until at least 2012 due to the constitutional age requirement. never one to sit around and wait until the last minute (ha) he said i would have to be his campaign manager. sigh. so- i figured that this would be a monumental task of epic proportions (i ran out of metaphors) and i had better get started. and boy- let me tell ya. every state has different ballot requirements. let me repeat that- in addition to the ridiculous delegate and electoral college crap- every state has different eligibility requirements to even be put on the ballot. yup. the politicians have passed laws over the years to make it next to impossible for a joe schmo to even be considered to be on the ballot. now, you add in the prohibitive costs of a traditional campaign- and well, you have yourself a recipe for an oligarchy.
what are some of these barriers? the reform institute has done a good job of putting together a score card for each state. it not only gives the ranking- but the requirements for entry. what a freakin' eye opener it was for me- who thought any american should be eligible. let's take my home state of new york:
an independent candidate has to have 1% if the total votes cast at the last general election for governor or president of the united states (which amounts to about 46, 979 signatures on the petition in 2008).
a major party affiliate needs to have Received 5% of the vote in that state for president or
gubernatorial candidate and has at least .333% of the registered voters in the state registered with the party.
new york receive an F rating for access to the ballot. for the overview on the rating system and the scorecards- visit the reform institute. the score cards are in pdf format. i also compiled bookmarks of all 50 states' secretary of state offices. that is where you file your petitions and pay your fees. oh yes- most states require you pay a fee to get on the ballot. another barrier to entry. so- if you can make it to getting on the ballot- without signing loyalty oaths- chances are- being unaffiliated- you will have a tough time getting air time (see kucinich and paul- although both are affiliated). each state has different ways of campaign financing too. you can check those out on the secretary of state's website or the board of elections. i will link to new york to carry the theme.
i doubt that the founding fathers would have approved the layers and layers of bureaucracy that the state governments- with the blessings of our 'elected' federal representatives- have made to keep the common folks away from self governance. or maybe they would. but i don't.