The people's voice of reason

Trump Ballots: Primary Corruption & General Collusion

Reporting on Trump’s ballot access in States like Colorado and Maine prompted one loyal reader to recall a long past Gazette column about ineligible candidates on Alabama ballots; No shortage of disagreement on what constitutes ‘insurrection’ in these current State cases w.r.t. ballot access for Mr. Trump. Ineligible candidates Alabama’s Secretary of State (John Merrill in 2018) allowed on our State provided primary ballots [subsidizing Alabama’s duopoly parties] was very explicit many school board candidates could NOT lawfully hold office.

Some reports tout recent Trump ballot access decisions historic. Maine’s Secretary of State [Shenna Bellows] is the first to remove a presidential candidate from their State’s ballot ‘unilaterally’ (12/29/23 Denver AP report) as a top election official (mis)using the 14th Amendment’s Section 3 insurrection clause. Furthermore, Maine is one of those States unconstitutionally splitting electoral votes - i.e., on the margin just one of Maine’s 4 electoral votes may make a difference in close electoral college outcomes. The AP report also noted Maine’s “unusual process in which a secretary of state is required to hold a public hearing on challenges to politicians’ spots on the ballot and then issue a ruling. Multiple groups of Maine voters, including a bipartisan clutch of former state lawmakers, filed such a challenge, triggering Bellows’ decision.”

Most Trump ballot access lawsuits were dismissed by courts asserting no authority over party primaries. This may be true in States which do not subsidize their duopoly parties. Here in Alabama primary elections amount to ‘fund-raisers’ for Democrats and Republicans where candidates pay to be on the ballot; those payments are not remitted to the treasury to offset expenses of primary elections using government resources. This anti-competitive wealth transfer is difficult to defeat, write-ins aren't allowed on primary ballots where any candidate(s) could sneak by the parties and access general election ballots without paying the ‘protection money’ to our political gangs.

While our Secretary of State had no trouble eliminating a general election to install Felon Hubbard’s preferred replacement, he failed to eliminate clearly ineligible candidates in State School Board races. If the State was not paying for party primaries, they could submit any candidate desired, there would be no oversight role for the Secretary of State. The Secretary’s office would later remove those determined ineligible on the general election ballot our State is obliged to provide. Voters still may write-in someone ineligible by State law who shall be removed after the general election determined ineligible winner(s). Sadly, Secretary Merrill seemed exasperated at times with our corrupt ethics commission who did little to discipline duopoly candidate/party malfeasance.

To recap some 2018 ineligibilities, Alabama code Section 16-3-3 includes “No person who is an employee of the board or who is or has been engaged as a professional educator within five years next preceding the date of the election shall be eligible for membership on the board. For the purposes of this section the term ‘professional educator’ shall include teacher, supervisor or principal of any public or private school; instructor, professor or president of any public or private university, college or junior college or trade school; any state, county or city superintendent of education; or other person engaged in an administrative capacity in the field of education.” Page 13 (lines 11 thru 27) of Rep. Collins 2018 House Bill 70 still included these requirements in §16-3-3 of Alabama Law…/2018Regula/2018RS%20HB0070%20OR.pdf… Rulings in 1976 and 1983 found 16-3-3 unconstitutional under equal protection grounds, specifically because of limitations on a person to be involved in the political process. The most recent case found to challenge these rulings was decided in 2004. The plaintiff referenced the 1976 and 1983 cases to challenge the GOP not allowing him to run for State school board. The judge dismissed that specific claim with prejudice. Our State’s own law manual [p. 134] for superintendents also references the 1976, 1983 and 2004 cases, acknowledges the findings, and elaborates our State Ethics Commission effectively supports 16-3-3 because a school employee cannot ethically be on the same governing board which employs them.

“Association rights are also implicated in situations where the school employee is politically active. Section § 16-3-3 Code of Alabama (1975) prohibits a person who is an employee of the (state) board or who is or has been engaged as a professional educator within five years prior to election to be eligible for membership on the board. A federal district court found this prohibition to be an unconstitutional provision in Gold et. al. v. Baggett et. al., Civil Action No. 76-120-N (M.D.Ala. 1976). The same conclusion was reached by a state court in Alabama State Ethics Com’n ex rel Charles Graddick v. Dr. Evelyn Pratt, Civil Action No. CV-83-175-G (Circuit Court, Alabama Fifteenth Judicial Circuit, 1983). However, state ethics commission rulings have made it clear that it is a conflict of interest for a school employee to be on the same governing board that employs him or her. (See, materials on Alabama State Ethics Commission, compiled by Dr. Paulette Rogers, and included in the materials following Module 33.)”

Some candidates deemed worthy of scrutiny as ineligible included:

Jackie Zeigler - 1st District: incumbent, shows information indicating time as school principal in the five year window which applies.

Melanie Hill - 2nd District: information indicating employment with the Dothan city school board less than five years ago, resigned before her term ended.

Adam Jortner - 2nd District: information indicating current employment as a professor.

Tracie West - 2nd District: information indicating current president of Auburn city school board.

Yvette Richardson - 4th District: incumbent, with information indicating current employment as a teacher/superintendent and educational consultant, unopposed in the primary.

Don Wallace - 4th District: information indicating employment as a part time instructor in the 5 year window.

Cynthia McCarty - 6th District: incumbent with information indicating current employment as a professor and professor when originally installed into the position, unopposed in the primary.

Some enumerated above were in fact elected and still in office. Alarming how many candidates, seemingly in violation, were incumbents - two unopposed in the primary. How long these ineligibilities are left undisciplined speaks for itself. Little surprise in a State where Parties are allowed to thumb their nose at the law and ethics violations. Foolish to waste taxpayer effort and time on forms and filings. Clearly they’ll also be allowed on the taxpayer funded general election ballots. Given AG, Ethics Commission, Parties, Secretary of State, et al failure to address this, how does one proceed?

General election collusion in our State, with some of the most restrictive ballot access laws in the nation aids and abets our uncompetitive results. Will Trump be removed if installed again (it appears the next rigged, unconstitutional result will install another Biden/Trump crime family member) as the next general election winner? It may be a mix of votes cast in States where ballot access was allowed and write-ins (where Trump is blocked from ballot access) determine the result. The thought of a presidential candidate winning electoral votes as a write-in is intriguing. If Trump is only the second President elected to non-consecutive terms, it will be as noteworthy as Grover Cleveland in another iteration of the electoral college v. popular vote not aligning.


Reader Comments(0)