In the course of reading the article today on the the Rules and Judiciary Committee’s move to increase the number of signatures required of candidates for President and Congress to be listed on the ballot, I had a few thoughts.
First, there is the rather impulsive urge within me that rebells at the thought of making access to the ballot more difficult. The current process, which requires Presidential candidates to obtain 1000 signatures and Congressional candidates 20, does seem reasonable, as it prevents spurious candidates from getting on the ballot. Obtaining 1000 signatures is no easy task, and I think that the ability to do so demonstrates that a candidate is sufficiently dedicated to the campaign to be listed on the ballot. Bumping the requirement up to 1500 seems unnecessary. Though, I do understand the desire to avoid run-off elections. But is it really so hard to vote twice? I guess there’s a little more work involved for the Board of Elections, but other than that, is it really so bad?
Then there’s the issue of raising the signature requirement for members of Congress. Given the difficulty Congress has in filling all its seats every year, should we really be putting measures in place that will make it more difficult for Congressional candidates to get on the ballot? The only place that I can think of where this was a problem last year was the North Campus district (where, admittedly I would have appreciated less competition). It simply seems counter-intuitive to make it more difficult to get into Congress when Congress perpetually has empty seats.