Here in the real world, and on the ground in Virgina, the Commonwealth requires presidential candidates to demonstrate their organizational moxie. Well, at least a little. Candidates must get at least 400 signatures of registered voters in each of our 11 congressional districts.
Now, in case we’ve forgotten, the population of each district (at least in a populous state like Virginia) is about 643,000. The state’s total population is over 8 million, and of those, over 5 million are registered to vote.
So, let’s put the task at hand in perspective. Let’s assume that in each CD, about half of the population is registered to vote (somewhat lower than the statewide proportion taken as a whole).
That’s about 320,000 potential voters in each district. A candidate for the presidency must gather 400 signatures, or about 0.125 per cent. Is this an insurmountable barrier?
More importantly, these requirements have been on the books for some time, and, as Ed Morrissey relates, even marginal candidates like Dennis Kucinich, Bill Richardson and the notoriously “lazy” Fred Thompson all were able to qualify.
According to a “a liberal law professor” quoted by the WaPo, “You could make people train for a triathlon . . . , but that’s not a fair way for ballot access.”
No, that would be unfair to pasty, flabby old men like Newt. What this lefty, sorry, “liberal” law prof (liberal law prof in California? That’s pure left) must mean is that Virginia is just so darn unfair. We’re nothing but knuckle-dragging troglodytes.
It would also seem that this particular California lefty believes that Virginia’s requirements are (as reported by WaPo) “a possible violation of the equal protection and due process clauses of the Constitution.”
There you have it. Virginia’s election laws don’t treat everyone the same…oh. Right. They do. They just don’t reward folks a place on the ballot who have not met the clearly-spelled out criteria.
The laws are, by definition, “fair,” as they apply equally and without favor to all. That some candidates can’t get their campaign act together isn’t Virginia’s fault. That Kansas or Vermont have different laws is, well, even a California law prof should be able to spell “federalism.”
As long as a state does not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, gender, and whatever else is now on the officially approved list, each state is entitled to hold elections as it sees fit.
Now, it is apparent that our laws are more stringent than other states’. Good for us; it keeps bozos off the ballot. At least some of them.
We do, however discriminate: on the basis of a candidate’s organizational skills. This must irk the liberal law prof mightily: some people are better at some skills than others. Oh my. Somebody’s civil rights must be violated…
The best counter argument to anyone who believes that our laws are, somehow, unconstitutional for some reason? Dennis Kucinich and Fred Thompson, among many others, were able to qualify. Sorry Newt and Rick; you just didn’t make the cut.