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Political Parties and State Elections
Recent news events surfaced indicating the Democratic National Committee has told states to remove an opponent to President Obama from their election rolls. In other moves it has informed county chairmen to not count votes for the Obama opponent. This action taken by the Democratic committee amounts to requesting the suppression of votes from eligible candidates ignoring that they were cast.
The question to be asked is whether states have the jurisdiction over their applications for being included on election ballots or political parties. Information presented in one case identified that (Randall Terry) had met all the requirements to be on the ballot in Alaska and he was informed Alaska was returning his filing fee indicating he could not participate in the caucuses. The reason given for this action was in reference to a Democratic committee statement that he was not a qualified candidate. Candidates who meet all the filing requirements to be on election ballots should never be removed from election ballots as in the case of Alaska. If political parties have the authority to have candidates removed from election ballots who met all the filing requirements then the political process needs to be legally changed.
According to reports other states are being told by the DNC to remove Randall from their election ballots. This action was prompted by the number of votes he received in a caucus earning him a delegate. Randall’s candidacy brought attention to the fact that some aspects of the Democratic Party base were not happy with President Obama. The right to vote is one which all Americans cherish and we as voters have the right to make our choice between all candidates who have earned the right to be on election ballots. The only time an individual should be removed from an election ballot is if it is determined that discrepancies existed in the content of the signatures submitted not that a candidate does not meet party candidacy requirements. It is important to validate the accuracy of the signatures presented. Once the process is completed and validated no individual should be removed from election ballots.
Being an election year a number of candidates for the GOP race for the nomination did not meet the required criteria to be placed on an election ballot in multiple states and were therefore not included. In other states several candidates withdrew their names from the race but they remained on the ballot. In these cases names were not removed but remained when elections were held. It is not up to a political party to make the rules for individuals to meet the criteria for an election ballot candidate; it is the responsibility of each individual state.
According to the U.S. Constitution under Article 1, Section 4 which states “the Times, Place and Manner of holding elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by Law make or alter such Regulations, except as to the Place of Chusing Senators”. In addition article 24 states: “The right of citizens of the United States to vote in any primary or other election for President or Vice President, for electors for President or Vice President, or for Senator or Representative in Congress, shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any State by reason of failure to pay any poll tax or other tax.”
The two articles of the Constitution cite specifically the responsibilities of states concerning scheduling and managing elections. It is clear the reference to political party authority and responsibility is missing and as such they have no responsibility or authority with respect to elections in individual states. Efforts to put pressure on states to affect the proper management of elections should be fought. There may be certain cases where evidence is provided by political parties or other individuals that changes to election ballots may need to be made but the accusations must be validated. Individuals meeting age and other requirements can run for elective office and have the right to be on election ballots in any state where the requirements have been met.
The present situation we have in Congress today has seen where some decisions by elected officials vote with party positions rather than voting their conscience. No political party should require that individuals commit to the positions parties have established to qualify as a candidate under a specific party umbrella. Typically candidates running for office agree with party positions but they should have the freedom to disagree with party positions on issues based on their opinion as to what is right. This is how votes should take place in Congress today. Just because an individual does not agree with every position a political party has does not make them any less a Democrat or Republican. Candidates running for any office should run on their principles not on the principles of any political party.