Commentary on Alabama Law and Society

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Location: Birmingham, Alabama

Monday, June 05, 2006

Alabama's Ballot Access Laws

Have done their job. Once again, our choice in Alabama is between the Republicans and the Republicans who call themselves Democrats.

From Loretta Nall's blog:

The colorful Libertarian Party nominee for governor, Loretta Nall, said Monday she will run as a write-in candidate after failing to get enough signatures to get her name on the general election ballot.

"I'm not dropping out," Nall said.

Tuesday is the deadline for third-party candidates to turn in voters' signatures to the secretary of state to get ballot access for Nov. 7. Nall needed 41,300 signatures to get on the general election ballot. She said she and her supporters collected between 10,000 and 15,000 signatures, which she plans to turn in Tuesday to make a point about Alabama having one of the nation's toughest ballot access laws for third parties.

Her and her supporters did a lot of work to collect those signatures, yet the result amounted to less then a third of the required amount. The purpose of the signature requirements is to limit the ballot to serious candidates. The effort and expense needed to collect ten thousand signatures is more than enough to deter thrill seekers. Requiring more than that, never mind four times more, is overkill. It serves no rational purpose (other than the constitutionally impermissible one of protecting the power of the current parties).

It's too late for this year. But to remedy this problem in future elections you can vote for Ed Packard as Secretary of State, who has this to say:

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.