Champions of political competition often cite Alabama with the most restrictive ballot access laws in 50 States. Any non-duopoly political party wanting access/inclusion on the upcoming Nov. 8th general election ballot printing was required to submit over 51,000 verified signatures. Given the history of being blocked from ballots, debates, media coverage, etc. the LPA [Libertarian Party of Alabama] submitted almost 80,000 signatures to the Secretary of State’s Office reducing ‘wiggle room’ in efforts to snub non-duopoly voters’ civil rights.
Similarly vulgar to advocates of political competition, a non-duopoly (i.e., NOT Democrat/Republican) candidate must receive 20% of the total Gubernatorial votes cast in a statewide race to retain ballot access. The next highest, last I checked, was KY at 10%. The irony of this is how much worse the Republicans (many former Democrats currently wearing the Red jersey) have evolved these past decades. It’d be revealing to enumerate how many Republican candidates would’ve been blocked/not allowed ballot access when Alabama was diehard Blue before turning Red under the current rules. Rules of this sort have proven a very effective barrier to protect establishment politicians and silence non-duopoly party and independent voices/voters. Those not blinded by the Alabama politburo find it is easy to see/understand how this is aiding and abetting our status quo.
Kudos to my more avid Gazette readers remembering the call NOT to cast a vote in our last gubernatorial election; given the quite certain Kay Ivey outcome, these votes simply increase signature requirements to compete. I get the chuckle y’all, “Memaw” health issues uncertainty, etc… I’m nonetheless compelled to vote in any race when there’s someone as accomplished and effective at fighting corruption as Dr. Jimmy Blake. Imagine how much better off the city would be today if B’ham stayed on Blake’s path of fighting corruption and excessive government.
My reply to those speculating Democrats put a ‘certain to lose’ gubernatorial candidate to ‘trump up’ the total vote count toward this anti-competitive end while fielding no candidate for Lt. Governor? I wasn’t privy to such collusive ‘art of the steal’ making as was documented in the AL House District 79 Lovvorn race. We do in fact observe Will Ainsworth would be the only Lt. Governor candidate on the Nov. 8th ballot if LPA Candidate Ruth Paige-Nelson wasn’t brave enough to run.
Wish more appreciated how wasteful our current theft of elections has been to taxpayers and effective at protecting politicians from competitive discipline at the ballot box. The most deleterious is non-duopoly parties devote much time, effort, resources and money to obtain the signatures submitted to the SoS Office. Then taxpayers incur the next burden of counting/verifying those signatures. When slow to affirm access, it is difficult to recruit candidates to run under such uncertainty - i.e., asking a candidate(s) to suffer the costs and efforts of submitting paperwork, etc. for a race where they may not be allowed!
Sadly, many voters across the States will show on Nov. 8th bemoaning the terrible duopoly choices, giving little thought on how such poor, uncompetitive choices are put before them. Again, I know it is out of ignorance when voters say they won’t take Alabama ‘third-party’ candidates seriously because of something they observe, not taking into consideration the hundreds of thousands of dollars and effort spent just to get on the ballot and submit a few brave names willing to contest the duopoly. If informed, how can one not take any candidate willing to stand up against these political Goliaths seriously?
Let’s consider our current ‘open’ primary system Alabama taxpayers subsidize before looking at the next step in stealing elections. Primaries also serve as Republocrat Party fundraisers. Duopoly candidates write checks to the party (usu. a function of pay to the office holder) to be placed on ballots taxpayers provide. Alabamians are not obliged to provide PRIMARY elections as is true with GENERAL elections to satisfy Article 4, Section 4 requirements of the US Constitution. Understand what parties collect from a candidate(s) is not sent to the Alabama Dept. of Treasury to offset expenses to provide party primaries - these collections are KEPT by the duopoly parties.
If Democrats/Republicans want to determine their general election candidates via convention, election, pin the tail on the Donkey/Elephant, smoke filled room… you get the idea, as a PRIVATE entity on their own purse - great! Pay for your own convention facility, use your own voting machines or rent our public ones at documented cost, buy your own Donkey/Elephant board… then the party as a private entity can decide however they please who may participate. Once a party takes public money to purchase the facility, voting machine, smoke etc. then citizens have a right to access/vote in every primary determination they’re subsidizing. Can you imagine how different our general election choices may be with this more competitive/reflective result?
No doubt ability to participate in every party’s primary provided on the public purse, would increase participation and reduce the ability to manipulate low turnout results. I sure would’ve liked to vote in BOTH the primaries I paid for this election cycle. None dare dream this sort of political competition/participation being championed by our corrupt, colluding duopoly parties. Don’t expect this sort of fidelity to taxpayers and competition from our traditional Republican Party Executive Committee, drunk with the power of supermajority and hegemony.
In fact, ALGOP Chairman John Wahl used the morass this public servant created by failing to adhere to his Alabama Code Section 17 duties to address crossover as the excuse for closing our primaries even more. Of course, one has no standing against a party’s closed primary by a private entity determining their candidates on their own purse. Sadly the duopoly parties are further stealing elections by closing primaries provided on the public purse and putting the taxpayers on the hook for the greater burden/waste of time and money for administering/enforcing/tracking party registrations.
Jeff Poor [1819 News 8/13/22] reported, “Wahl said the objective of the resolution was to make a recommendation to the Alabama Legislature for the closed primaries with the anticipation that the legislature would handle the specifics.” Nice to know our legislators will handle the specifics of this collusion. Undoubtedly if laws were applied uniformly, these private entities would be disciplined for such blatant duopoly collusion. Little surprise the Republican politburo members passed the resolution by 81% to close/further steal elections in their August 13th Executive Committee meeting.
Jeff Poor [1819 News 8/5/22] also reported, Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill explained how that primary system would work during a recent appearance on Birmingham radio 105.5 WERC's "Alabama's Morning News." According to Merrill, there are currently 31 states with party registration for so-called closed primaries. Fourteen are Republican-dominant, and 17 are Democrat-dominant, with Kentucky and Florida recently becoming majority Republican. Merrill did not commit to a particular preference one way or the other regarding closed primaries but instead advised the Alabama Legislature to follow the party's wishes. "[M]y preference is whatever the parties want to do is what the legislature would do because the parties are the ones that run the primaries because of the preference in whether they set up the cycle as opposed to a convention, a caucus, or a nominating committee meeting," Merrill said. "That's left up to the parties or the party leadership.”
Much to unpack here; most noteworthy how the duopoly parties are converging as Republicans grow more collusive/anti-competitive in politics. Secretary Merrill once again abdicates his oversight role over political parties which do not follow code/laws w.r.t. duopoly candidates ineligible to be placed on ballots at the time; especially when a party takes taxpayer dollars legislator allegiance is to the taxpayer, not party politburo members. If the parties remain private entities the legislature’s job is to secure each citizen’s enjoyment of life, liberty and property within that party. Sadly most on Goat Hill are more interested in promoting wealth transfers to specific interest over the general welfare of Alabama.
I doubt anyone is surprised the Chair of the LPA, Gavin Goodman, has different perspective on closed primaries than our duopoly party chairs, providing the following quote. “The Libertarian Party of Alabama has no problem with the ALGOP proposal to go to a "closed primary system" in Alabama. We believe each party should choose their candidates however they like. What we can not abide is the use of taxpayer dollars to fund these closed primaries. The 65 candidates that the Libertarian Party of Alabama has on the ballot in November did not cost the taxpayer a penny. If the ALGOP wants a closed primary, then they should pay for it themselves. If they want to take even one red cent of taxpayer money to fund the primary then Alabama citizens should have every right to participate fully and we would then call for a fully open primary where every citizen could vote in whatever primary they want.”