Overview of Ballot Access
Each state has its own ballot access laws to determine who may appear on ballots and who may not. According to Article I, Section 4, of the United States Constitution, the authority to regulate the time, place, and manner of federal elections is up to each State, unless Congress legislates otherwise.
The primary argument put forward by States for restricting ballot access has been the presumption that setting ballot access criteria too low would result in numerous candidates on the ballot, splitting the votes of similar minded voters. Example: With Plurality voting, an old but common way to pick the winner, the candidate with the most votes wins, even if the candidate does not have a majority of the votes. Suppose 55% liberals and 45% conservatives vote in a district. If two candidates appeal to liberals, but only one appeals to conservatives, the votes of liberals will likely split between the two liberal candidates, for example 25% may vote for one and 30% for the other, giving the conservative the office although 55% preferred to see a liberal in the office. Plurality races, also known as First past the post, tend to cause consolidation among political parties for this reason. However, proponents of ballot access reform say that reasonably easy access to the ballot does not lead to a glut of candidates, even where many candidates do appear on the ballot, as was the case in the crowded 2003 California recall. In that case, such actual crowding did not confuse voters: “Even though 135 candidates appeared on the ballot, newspapers reported that voters did not have trouble finding the candidate they wished to vote for.”
Historically, there were generally no restrictions on ballot access in the United States until after the introduction of the so-called “Australian ballot” beginning in the 1880s. The 18th century prevalence of “voice voting” gave way to paper ballots, but until the 1880s paper ballots were not officially designed and printed by the government but were instead privately produced “tickets” that were distributed (usually by political parties) to the voter, who would take the ticket to the polling place and deposit it in the ballot box. The 1880s reform movement that led to officially designed secret ballots had some salutary effects, but it also gave the government control over who could be on the ballot. As historian Peter Argersinger has pointed out, the reform that conferred power on officials to regulate who may be on the ballot carried with it the danger that this power would be abused by officialdom and that legislatures controlled by established political parties (specifically, the Republican and Democratic Parties), would enact restrictive ballot access laws to influence election outcomes to ensure re-election of their own party’s candidates.
Perhaps the most prominent advocate of the 1880s ballot reform movement, Dean Wigmore, suggested that “ten signatures” might be an appropriate requirement for nomination to the official ballot for a legislative office. In the 20th century, ballot access laws imposing signature requirements far more restrictive than Wigmore had envisioned were enacted by many state legislatures; in many cases, the two major parties wrote the laws in such a way that the burdens created by these new ballot access requirements (usually in the form of difficult signature-gathering nominating petition drives) fell on alternative candidates, but not on major party candidates.
Proponents of more open ballot access argue that restricting access to the ballot has the effect of unjustly restricting the choices available to the voters and typically disadvantages third party candidates and other candidates who are not affiliated with the established parties.
State laws, the Constitution, and international human rights
President George H.W. Bush signed the Copenhagen Document of the Helsinki Accords that states in part:
(7.5) – respect the right of citizens to seek political or public office, individually or as representatives of political parties or organizations, without discrimination;
(7.6) – respect the right of individuals and groups to establish, in full freedom, their own political parties or other political organizations and provide such political parties and organizations with the necessary legal guarantees to enable them to compete with each other on a basis of equal treatment before the law and by the authorities;…
The United States has been criticized by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) for its harsh ballot access laws in the past. In 1996, United States delegates responded to the criticism by saying, unfair ballot access “could be remedied through existing appeal and regulatory structures and did not represent a breach of the Copenhagen commitments.” The OSCE published a report on the 2004 United States election, which, among other things, noted restrictive ballot access laws.
The United States and Switzerland are the only countries in the world that don’t have national ballot access standards for federal elections; however in Swiss federal elections each Canton elects its own representatives, and each candidate can only be listed in one Canton. Since 1985, Democrats and Republicans (including Congressman John Conyers (D-MI), Congressman Tim Penny (D-MN) and Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX)) have repeatedly introduced in the US House of Representatives a bill that would set maximum ballot access requirements for House elections. The bill has only made it to the House floor once, in 1998, when it was defeated 62-363.
While some supporters of easy ballot access seek congressional intervention, other reformers are happy congress has not mandated stricter access laws in all states. Reducing access requirements at the local level would be easier than doing so federally if congress wanted to guarantee its re-elections.
WHEREAS: Ariticle 1 of The United States Constitution “Makes No Mention Or Demands” on the amount of money a person needs To Qualify as a Candidate for The Federal Offices, or to the Number of Signed Petitions To Be Assessed To Qualify to have a person’s name placed on the ballot; and WHEREAS: The First Amendment of that Constitution termed The Bill of Rights guarantees to each citizen The Right To Free Speech and The Right To Petition The Government for Redress of Grievances; then The State of Florida Is In Violation of this Stated Constitution by its imposition of Overly Harsh Ballot Access Laws in Undue Burden and Infringement on The Rights of Each Citizen To Run For Public Office and to have their names placed on the ballot To Represent their Constituent Political Interests regardless of their station in life and ability to afford the overly harsh Qualifying Fees established by Florida law without Class Discrimination; in denying Representation to the Working Class; and which is also in violation of The RICO Act, (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act of 1970,) in that: the proceeds derived from Party Affiliation Assessments in Florida, $10,440, go directly to The Political Parties for their own private use; and in which case The Florida Legislature acts as The Organized Crime agency.
Ballot Assessments for the State of Florida
$10,440 for the Party Affiliation
$6,960 for the No Party Affiliation
or 4,616 Petition Signatures for Representative in Congress
or 128,638 Petition Signatures for U.S. Senator
The $10,440 Party Affiliation Assessment Fee is paid directly to the Political Parties.
The $6,960 for No Party Affiliation Fee is paid to the State.
The Fees hold for either Representative in Congress or U.S. Senator Regardless of the numbers disparity of signatures required for U.S. Representative and U.S. Senator.
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
Section 1. The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.
Section 2. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
articles filed against the Gov. Fl and the State
By Dr Tolbert