Sunday, September 05, 2004

Ralph Nader is on my state ballot.

It took an appeals court to settle the issue but Ralph Nader is on the ballot in Michigan. The Nader ballot issue in Michigan has been practically a soap opera. He was suppose to be on the ballot under the Reform Party line, as that party had nominated him nationally. But apparently there is this splinter Reform Party in Michigan that was saying Nader was not their candidate. The Secretary of State ruled that she couldn't rule because there were two Reform Parties.

Meanwhile the Republicans were gathering petition signatures to get Ralph on the ballot as an independent candidate. They've been doing this around the country because they think Nader voters mostly come from the Democrats. the old "a vote for Nader is a vote for Bush" routine. The fact is that most Nader voters are neither Democrats or Republicans, they are new or formerly disenchanted voters. Nader does draw votes from the Democrats, but he also gets Republicans as well. At any rate the Republicans against the wishes of Ralph Nader who had expected the Reform Party ballot line collected enough signatures.

Then the Board of Canvassers deadlocked 2-2 on whether to certify the petitions. The Democrats on the board claimed many of the signatures were improperly obtained. The Democrats have been challenging Nader petitions in every state, using every kind of trick they can think of. They of course believe "a vote for Nader is a vote not for Kerry" but apparently don't really believe in democracy.

Next came the Michigan Court of Appeals which ruled that the Board of Canvassers had overstepped its authority in blocking the ballot access. I guess I'm not sure how a deadlocked board can overstep authority, maybe because there were enough verified signatures so why block the ballot access just because of a deadlock. Who knows?

All I can think of the above mess is how everything becomes a fight over ballot access or denial. This is democracy? Both parties should have stayed out of it. The Democrats shouldn't be trying to stop someone from getting on a ballot and the Republicans should have done as Nader asked and not have been collecting signatures. And Nader should have been on the ballot as the Reform Party candidate as he was nominated by the national party. Just plain logic if you ask me. But I guess logic and American democracy don't go together.


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