Commentary on Alabama Law and Society

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Location: Birmingham, Alabama

Friday, May 26, 2006

Another Reason Vote Ed Packard S.O.S.

Poser has plenty of others here. Today, a reader e-mailed me a link to this statement on Packard's blog:

Alabama's ballot access requirements are too severe and are punitive by their very nature. I think the Legislature should review the requirements and take steps to expand the ballot choices offered to Alabamians. The Secretary of State, as the Chief Election Official, should be the advocate pushing for these changes.

He is dead right. Yes, we need some way to limit access to the ballot; we don't want to read the phone book in the voting booth. But the current cure - requiring 42,000 signatures - is worse than the disease. It solves the problem but it also makes this a de facto two party state. The result? You can vote for Joe Copeland for governor (or Larry Darby for A.G.), but not Loretta Nall for governor.

If you want to fix the problem short term, print, sign and mail Nall's petition today. If you want to solve it long term, vote for Packard as Secretary of State.

Btw, here is Nall on her most 'outrageous' position:

I think we can all agree that the drug war has failed. We all want the same things. We want safe neighborhoods where there are no gangs, no violence, no people selling drugs to any kid that wants them in an unregulated market. We want to keep families together. If I were to sit down with our law enforcement officials today and have a rational discussion about the drug war you would see that we are all really on the same page. I am not anti-cop but I do readily admit that the drug war has fostered disrespect and contempt for law enforcement. I want our officers to be safe and to protect all of us from real crime.

If you want your court system unclogged and able to deal with crimes like rape and murder then you have to address it by ending the drug war. If you want the forensics lab to devote its time to solving violent crimes with actual victims then you have to address it by ending the drug war. The drug laws actually create the crime that they were designed to protect us from. People who smoke marijuana do not belong in jail. Marijuana should be legal and available to adults. That would solve our prison crisis as most people in prison in Alabama for drug crimes are there for marijuana. It costs us $95 million a year just to house the marijuana smokers in Alabama's prison system. That is a lot of money that we could use to make things better for our state and our communities.

Does that make sense to you? Unless the current law changes, or she gets 42,000 signatures, your answer does not matter.