Ron Paul

Free the Ballot

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Rep. Ron Paul (R-Tex.) introduces a bill, H.R. 1941, to normalize ballot access requirements across the states. (And yes, he's found explicit constitutional authorization for the federal Congress to take such an action.) While his mini-speech introducing it before the House refers to Ralph Nader's problems with getting on the ballot for president, the bill itself applies only to federal House of Representatives elections. If passed, it would allow you to get on any ballot for such an election with just 1,000 signatures of registered voters, or people eligible to vote if "the State in which the district is located does not provide for voter registration." (Anyone know what states those might be?)

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  1. Sadly, thanks to that “two-party monopoly” Paul spoke of, that bill will go down in flames.

  2. I believe the state is North Dakota.

  3. This would actually increase the needed signatures in at least one state: New Jersey.

    The requirement now is only a few hundred, 500 I think, possibly less. I can not recall now. It is only 800 for President, which is still tough in a state as complacent as the U.S.S.C.N.J. .

    How about granting automatic ballot access to any party or candidate that has acheived petition access before?

    Since we are unlikly to get free and open access without petition requirements, something like this is needed though.

    Tom

  4. The New York Democrats will definitely vote against that bill. There are still alot of Greens floating around here that feel the Dems are basically too white bread…then we have a small but active party called Working Families Party which will sift votes away from the Dems. The democratic establishment has no desire for these parties to get anywhere. Libertarians in NY tend to be a bit more radical and have lesss of a tendency to work in concert with the Republican party. Most libertarian minded folks are probably registered Independent being that in NY registering Libertarian is not an option on the Voter registration form.

  5. Confirmed: North Dakota has no voter registration.

    http://www.activoteamerica.com/ND/nd.html

  6. In Illinois, the average of our 19 House seats this year is 9,610 valid signatures in 90 days (107 sigs per day). Reps and Dems need an average of 604 signatures. Georgia is another state that is bad needing 14,452 signatures in 180 days(80 sigs per day).

    I believe only once in the history of the US has a candidate been able to make the ballot for US House when required to collect more than 10,000 signatures. I like Ron’s bill and I’d bet it stipulates no more than 1,000 signatures so states like New Jersey aren’t required to increase their requirements.

    Our elections are now closer to Fidel Castro and Cuba than they are to the “new democracy” we are installing in Iraq.

  7. Ron Paul – the only elected official I wouldn’t tie to a chair and pummel, given the opportunity.

    Run, Ronnie, run!!!

  8. Anyone know what states those might be?

    I don’t. However, I imagine that, in addition to covering any states that currently don’t require registration, Paul wanted to avoid creating a loophole that would allow states to weasel out of the law by abolishing their voter registration requirements.

    Our elections are now closer to Fidel Castro and Cuba than they are to the “new democracy” we are installing in Iraq.

    That’s just dumb.

  9. (And yes, he’s found explicit constitutional authorization for the federal Congress to take such an action.)

    We would definitely be freer and very likely more prosperous if a lot more folks in congress took the constitution as seriously as Ron Paul does.

  10. There’s a difference between your average American voter and your average American. I don’t have the same hubris of some third-party supporters who are confident that the millions of non-voters secretly agree with them, but I wouldn’t presume that they want the status quo either. Whatever they may or may not want, the only thing we know for sure is that they don’t want it badly enough to go out and vote.

  11. Rick B.,

    I have been watching politics for about 40+ years.

    What I can tell you is this. America pretty much gets the government it wants. It amazes me how well the government of this country reflects its people.

    Ron Paul is 1 out of 435. Just about the proportion of Libertarians in the general population.

    Big clue here: Pepsi is a lot like coke because that is where the market is. Ron is not going to get a lot of backing because that is not important to the people of America.

    In Set/Oct/Nov of 2001 the Libs were the fastest shrinking party in America. They have a lot of lost ground to recover. Well I like you plan for recovery. Tell the people how stupid they are. That works. I is just that the dumb sheeple aren’t listening.

    =========================================

    The 9/11 report left out one important thing. On 9/10 the American people were not interested.

    We can say the same about the Libs today: the American people are not interested.

  12. I can’t believe that America wanted the huge expansion of the Federal government that they have been subjected to during the Bush years

    What Americans wanted, and still want, was a massive increase in the “free” services provided by the government. Did they “want” an expansion of the government itself? Only in the sense that a college student on a credit card spending spree “wants” a huge amount of debt — the American people, generally speaking, want the benefits, and refuse to think about the costs.

  13. M.Simon,

    I can’t believe that America wanted the huge expansion of the Federal government that they have been subjected to during the Bush years.

    Folks might not be too interested in the LP, however they do broadly support freedom of enterprise, lower taxes and protection against government limitations of civil liberties.

  14. Rick,

    I agree. It’s good to have a politician in there who actually consults the enumeration of powers before proposing a law.

    And I certainly applaud the spirit of what Paul’s doing: trying to end the two-party duopoly over ballot access.

    That being said, I think such matters are best left to the states. Just because something technically falls within the delegated powers of the federal government doesn’t mean it’s good idea. I don’t have much reverence for the Constitution; my attitude toward it is, “OK, it’s the product of a Federalist coup. But at least you guys claim to be bound by it, so I’m holding you to it.” The Constitution is useful mainly as a maximum limit on federal power; but it would be much better to eliminate some of those powers in Article I Section 8.

  15. the American people, generally speaking, want the benefits, and refuse to think about the costs.

    I’m not so sure that Americans generally even want the “Benefits”. For example, polls revealled that seniors were, as a whole, ambivelent about the perscription drug program.

    But, on the other hand, politicians such as Kerry try to get political traction out of promising a new federal program to make collage education “affordable for everyone”, even though there are already way more than enough federal programs such as grants and loan guerentees, on top of state and private resourses to do so. But he knows that education is popular so he thinks thart he can get away with making irresponsible promises with taxpayer’s dollars.

    BTW, I remember Cato did a study that showed that if the federal programs dissapeared, loans would still be made so that even the students who were from the least affluent families would be able to afford a university education, and that the federal programs “crowd out” these other avenues.

    Welfare has become a tragic way of life that is psssed on generationaly and it’s crushing the normal upward mobility.

    Corporate welfare is huge. BTW, I heard that the tax on US corporations is 40% while the average rate for corps. from the top 25 Indusrial ecomomies is 30%. There was a bill to cut the rate a few points and offset the amount of money not taxed away from its rightful owners with corporate subsidy cuts. The bill had no White House backing (nor White House opposition). It had the solid support of the frugal conservatives but still lost. (I don’t know by how much)

    Perhaps what we need to do is point out that there is no such thing as a free govrenment sevice while we also point the inherent unfairness of them. This will be easier for some government programs than others but should be tried with all of them. Also, we need to make arguements from utility. The programs often simply don’t accomplish the stated goals and/or spawn new problems, which the government and speacial interests are all too ready to propose yet more spending to “solve”.

  16. Sorry about the Typos. I better crash.

  17. “The reason seniors were, “on the whole, ambivalent about the prescription drug program” is that a sizable percentage of them felt it wasn’t generous or expansive enough.”

    I don’t think that’s all of it. I think there was sway held by the sentiment to “keep government out of the medicine cabinet”.

  18. I’m not so sure that Americans generally even want the “Benefits”. For example, polls revealled that seniors were, as a whole, ambivelent about the perscription drug program.

    The reason seniors were, “on the whole, ambivalent about the prescription drug program” is that a sizable percentage of them felt it wasn’t generous or expansive enough.

  19. Kevin,

    The only way to eliminate some of the powers granted to the Feds by Article I Section 8 would be the amendment process. But, congress could simply cut back on the utilization of some of these powers anyway.

  20. Who doesn’t want free services?

    But when this question is put to Americans:
    “Would you prefer: More taxes and more services; or Less taxes and less services?” the majority always always always chooses the latter.

  21. Chef, solid majorities say they would be willing to pay higher taxes in exchange for a universal health care program.

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