Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Getting the vote out...

It is instructive, not to say intriguing, to hear about ballot access in the states. Looking over at the web page of the so-called Socialist Party USA candidate for president, we see how few states they have their name on the ballot paper (eight in all, including Florida and Ohio, so they're playing for swing state voters). On a few more they have "official write-in status" presumably that means if someone write in a name resembling theirs they will get the vote.

As this post illustrates, they are facing official obstructions from officials keeping them off the ballot. You have to wonder, if officials can attempt to manipulate the election by making getting on the ballot at all prohibitively hard for small party candidates, no wonder they are tempted to try it for the main contenders.

The fact is, America's democracy has always been rough and ready, gerrymandering (a word invented state side) has always been there, you could call it corruption by consent, in as much as the powers that be do what they think they can get away with. After all, a bit of voter fraud when you have a landslide anyway is neither here nor there, it only comes out when races are close.

Of course, what this does is enforce the two party system, constraining rational choice.

Really, running for president shouldn't be an option, the SPUSA admit their aim is to influence the big parties. Unless and until you hold a few congressional seats and maybe control one state legislature they shouldn't even bother.

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