Monday, June 30, 2008

Is Thornburg Playing Politics with the November Ballot?

Is Kansas Secretary of State Ron Thornburgh playing politics with the November ballot?

Ballot Access News reports

The ballot-qualified Kansas Reform Party held its state convention back on May 31, and nominated candidates for office, including presidential electors pledged to Chuck Baldwin for president. On June 27, the party turned in the paperwork for these nominations.

The Kansas Secretary of State has hinted that he won’t allow the party to do this. He has not ruled definitively, however. Now that the party has finalized its choice, he will need to either honor the nominations, or explain precisely what provision of Kansas law purports to tell the party that it cannot nominate the presidential candidate of the Constitution Party. In 1980, the American Party of Kansas was allowed to nominate Frank Shelton for president, even though the national convention of the American Party had chosen Percy Greaves. Also, in 1968, the Conservative Party of Kansas was permitted to nominate George Wallace as its presidential candidate, even though the Conservative Party was not affiliated with George Wallace’s American (also called American Independent) Party.

I'm certainly no friend of the Reform or Constitution Parties and I think Chuck Baldwin is a creepy right-wing theocrat, but Thornburgh's actions seem very questionable. The Kansas Reform Party has been on the ballot ever since Ross Perot's first Presidential campaign. They have run numerous candidates for federal and state office. In the last two elections, they have filed candidates in a number of legislative districts where one of the major parties has failed to field a candidate. Moreover, in 2004, Thornburgh placed on the ballot a number of Presidential candidates for non-ballot qualified candidates. (They received, 4, 33,5 and 5 votes)

UPDATE SEPT 17 Ballot Access News reported on Sept 15
...Kansas held an administrative hearing to determine the presidential nominee of the Reform Party of Kansas. The committee holding the hearing consisted of the Secretary of State, the Lieutenant Governor, and the Attorney General. After taking testimony, the group voted to place Chuck Baldwin on the ballot as the presidential nominee of the Reform Party of Kansas. The state party had unambiguously desired this outcome, but a doubt had been raised because a national Reform Party convention had chosen Ted Weill.

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