After the July primaries, I was confronted with a poll worker from Hull who asked why I did not vote. I patiently explained to her that I am an independent voter. I have become so disgusted with the political wrangling between the two major parties that I refuse to do anything that would support either of them.
In addition, I strongly object to the State of Georgia using taxpayer money to support these abusive political organizations by conducting primary elections for their benefit while making it almost impossible for any third party or independent voter to gain access to the general election ballot.
All political parties are private organizations. They determine who will lead their organizations. They adopt platforms indicating their political goals and purposes. They should, and in some states do have the right to determine who is a member of the party, and who is qualified to represent that party in the general election.
Now I have just read again the Constitution of the State of Georgia. I was unable to find any passage in that document that gives the state the right to take part in the decisions of the parties. Nothing in the Constitution gives the state any right to incorporate the two major parties into the state’s election process. And there is nothing in the Constitution that authorizes the state to spend taxpayer money for the benefit of the parties.
But that is precisely what happens. The primaries for the Democrat and Republican parties are conducted, controlled and for the most part financed by the state using money they take from all our pockets, regardless of our willingness to have our money spent in that way. Then they automatically place the winners of these primaries on the general ballot while making it almost impossible for any third party or independent candidates to win a position. To me, that is just wrong!
Even if a third party or independent candidate succeeds in gaining ballot access, the effort usually exhausts their campaign resources and they have nothing left to devote to the race. Consider this: Republican John McCain, and Democrat Barack Obama are automatically on the ballot via state supported primaries. The Libertarian Party managed to maneuver through the rules to gain a slot for Bob Barr. Those will be our only choices. Ralph Nader who is running a national independent campaign was unable to get on the ballot. Georgia native Cynthia McKinney is the nominee of the Green Party. She will not be on the Georgia ballot. Neither will Chuck Baldwin, Constitution Party Presidential candidate.
I know that none of our so-called political leaders are interested in my ideas, but I will tell you what I think anyway. I think the state of Georgia needs to get out of the political process. Each party should be responsible for their own candidate selection and any expenses involved in the process. I think that every candidate should be required to meet exactly the same qualifications for ballot access.
If Cynthia McKinney and Ralph Nader must have 50,000 signatures (if that is the correct figure) to get on the ballot, then McCain and Obama should have to collect the same number of signatures.
The greater the choice we have in any election, the better our chances of finding a candidate who more closely reflects our personal political view. To force us to choose between two candidates who are so much alike that they spend all their energy insulting each other is not much of an election.
Only when the state government gets out of the political business and lets us make our decisions in an open election will the “will of the people” prevail.
Frank Gillispie is founder of The Madison County Journal. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org. His website can be accessed at http://frankgillispie.tripod.com/