Friday, August 3, 2012

It Ain't Easy Being Green (Party)

It Ain’t Easy Being Green (Party)
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
August 3, 2012

It should come as no surprise that I am a partisan, active conservative to anyone who knows and reads me.

That said, as a conservative, I support the rights of all candidates to assume their rightful place on the ballot for all the voters to consider – provided the presumptive candidate has met all the requirements to achieve such a privilege.

Enter Andrew Straw of Goshen, IN. In his August 2nd letter to the editor of The Indianapolis Star, Straw presented himself as the potential Green Party candidate in the Second Congressional District of Indiana.

Straw correctly outlined the requisite qualifications for serving in Congress: attaining the age of 25-years by Election Day, having been a United States citizen for seven years as well as a resident of the state of which he shall represent.

Straw also collected the requisite number of valid signatures, a state requirement to attain a place on the ballot. Having done that, Straw still found himself on the outside looking in, apparently the victim of minor-party-itis – the still incurable disease of representing a minor political party, and not the major parties – Republican, Democrat and Libertarian, who, according to Straw “are given automatic ballot access because they received the required minimum number of votes in the 2008 election. This is a blatant violation of our federal and state bills of rights, which protect political thought and opinion.” (www.indystar.com)

Using Straw’s assertion that his party was denied ballot access for not garnering the “required minimum number of votes in the 2008 election,” the GOP would never appear on a ballot as they would have been told in 1856 what Straw was told this year. Why? Because the GOP did not exist in 1852, thus they could not have earned any votes, thus disqualifying them every election cycle thereafter.

Were I a second district resident, I would have signed Straw’s petition to gain ballot access because the voters have a right to choose from all the valid candidates, and not just the major candidates. What if either the Democrats or Republicans were not fielding a candidate, which has certainly happened?

Should the other major party simply win by default? No candidate should go unchallenged. It cheapens the electoral process and the rights of the voters to have choices on Election Day. We live in a republic, not a monolithic dictatorship. This is the United States of America, not Cuba – not yet, anyway, November’s elections notwithstanding.

Sadly, Straw indicated he would not challenge the decision of the Election Commission as he noted the nearness of the time ballots would be printed. Straw should get an injunction freezing the ballot printing process until his case can be heard properly and he should have his name placed on the ballot.

It’s the right thing for Straw, the voters, and the process by which the United States has been governed since the ratification of the Constitution in 1789.

Sanford D. Horn is a writer and educator living in Westfield, IN.

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