Though I am not a Rhode Island resident, nor do I belong to this party, I thought I would publicize the fight that Ken Block of the Moderate Party of Rhode Island has been fighting just to gain recognition and ballot access. He has been working very hard in a state that seems to want to push down ideas, and needs to be commended for the work he has already done. Here is the most recent update to his labor:
Senators Bates, O’Neill file ballot access bill
Senators David Bates and Ed O’Neill recently filed RI Senate bill 2009 S 0203 regarding ballot access reforms to RI General Law 17-1-2.
Text of the bill can be viewed here:
Rhode Island‘s current ballot access laws prohibit a new political party from collecting signatures to gain official state recognition in an off-election year, keeping that party from fund raising until the year of the election while existing parties can raise money during the off-election year.
These same laws also require a new political party to collect signatures equal to 5% of voter turnout for the previous presidential or gubernatorial election. This threshold comes to 23,500 signatures based on turnout for the 2008 elections.
S 0203 seeks to remove start date restrictions on the signature collection process and lower the threshold percentage to 1%.
31 of 39 states that have signature collection laws for ballot access for new parties have no restrictions on start dates for those signature collections.
Using data from the 2006 elections, Rhode Island’s signature petition burden relative to the population of the state is 1.75% (18,500 / 1,057,000). The average signature burden relative to overall population (again using 2006 data) across all states that have laws allowing petitioning for ballot access is 0.54%.
Rhode Island‘s signature petition burden is more than 300% greater than the national average.
To put this in perspective, with a population of 5.6 million people, Wisconsin requires 10,000 signatures. Louisiana, with 4.2 million residents, requires 1,000 signatures. Maryland, with 5.6 million residents, requires 10,000 signatures.
Full data on start dates and signature thresholds for all states is available by request.
Rep. Driver has filed companion legislation in the RI House. Bill numbers are pending.
For more information about the Moderate Party of Rhode Island, please visit our web site at: www.moderate-ri.org.
This is a step toward getting more parties on the ballot in not only Rhode Island, but other difficult to crack states. But what does this mean for YOU? I’ve seen statistics that say Democrats, and Republicans make up about 2/3 of the voting public, and if you’re one of the 2/3 of Americans in these parties, this actually helps you, the voter as well. If you are one of the 1/3 of the population not in the big two parties, this also helps in the same way.
Let me explain: Simply, by letting more parties onto the ballot, you get more candidates. This makes all candidates focus on issues, and the solutions that they bring to the table, as well as their track record. You as a voter — Democrat, Republican, Libertarian, Green, Constitutional, or other — are greatly benefitted both by the candidates having to give you more information, as well as they know that while in office, they need to stay on focus, and achieve the promises they offered when asking for your vote. Looks like a win all around, no matter what party (or not) you belong to.
Filed under: Politics | Tagged: Ballot, Campaign, Centrist, Conservative, David Bates, Democrat, Ed O'Neill, Election, Indepependent, Ken Block, legilislature, liberal, moderate, Petition, Politics, republican, Rhode Island, Signature, Third, united states, Vote | 3 Comments »