Republicans and Democrats agree on this

Published August 15, 2013

By Tom Campbell

by Tom Campbell, Executive Producer and Moderator, NC SPIN, August 15, 2013.

Amidst all the charges back and forth regarding election laws of our state there is one thing on which both Democrats and Republicans obviously agree: They want to make it as difficult as possible for third parties and independent candidates to get on our election ballot.

North Carolina is ranked as the third worst state in the nation in terms of ballot access requirements. Prior to 1888, there were no ballot access restrictions, of course there were no printed ballots until 1901, and they allowed only Democrats and Republicans. Third parties were excluded until 1929, when the requirement was that a third-party must have 10,000 authorized voter signatures to gain access and must receive 3 percent of the total gubernatorial vote to remain on the next ballot.

In 2003, The Electoral Fairness Act was introduced in the legislature. It would have reduced the necessary number of signatures from the then existing 2 percent to 0.5 percent of voters participating in the last gubernatorial election and would reduce from 10 percent to 2 percent the number of voters required to maintain ballot access. The co-speakers of the House (one Democrat and the other Republican) wouldn’t allow it to be brought to a vote, even though it passed unanimously in the Election Law committee.

The bill was reintroduced in 2005, passed out of committee and made it to the House floor, where a last-minute amendment was passed effectively gutting the bill, by eliminating the reduction in the number of signatures needed to gain ballot access. That number currently exceeds 70,000 qualified voters signing a petition.

Democrats and Republicans joined together to kill the 2003 initiative but Democrats were all that was needed to scuttle the 2005 effort. Republicans are aware of the difficulty in gaining ballot access but didn’t include this in the wide-sweeping changes the enacted this year. The official spin is that nobody wants to encourage a “proliferation of frivolous third parties.”

We could handle some “frivolous” right now. Who knows? I’ve recently heard a lot about competition being a good thing…maybe it might be good in elections, too.

August 15, 2013 at 8:37 am
Richard Bunce says:

Government monopolies hate competition. Of course voters could end this in one election cycle by voting for the few alternative candidates that do make it on the ballot.

August 18, 2013 at 3:38 pm
dj anderson says:

This topic should be raised now and again to be informative, but best done by someone who has standing -- wanting to start a third ticket.

Hmmm....Wonder if Tom Campbell is thinking of starting a new spin off party? He would be the one of the possible suspects here in NC. Fiscally conservative, socially liberal...Fisconsoli Party??...that's too mafia, or too pasta-like sounding. Wonder what Tom would name it? NCentralia or NCentralist, maybe, in keeping with

Then, there's fence sitters, middle of the roaders, white line (no, too racist), Median, Carolina Party (Duke & NCSU won't like that). Any ideas?

What of a mascot? Donkey & elephant being taken, how about Zebra? It's black and white, a herd animal, gender neutral in looks, not graceful, but tough, independent but not mean. Stipes hats, even suits would set the state zebra party apart.

Why, it doesn't even have to be a real party any more than the Tea Party is a party, but like the tea party is to the right of the right, the Zebra party could be to the right of the left, in the middle. There's a position that the Democrats & Republicans might agree on, too.

August 19, 2013 at 10:48 am
Richard Bunce says:

You got your dead skunk in the middle of the road

Dead skunk in the middle of the road

Dead skunk in the middle of the road

(And it's) Stinking to high heaven