Constitutional Amendment Proposals - D. Electoral Reform and Equal Ballot Access

Print

The right to run for public office is only a privilege granted by Democrats and Republicans.  These power brokers have created a system to exclude ballot access to competing parties and independents that they have defined as minor parties and candidates. Instead of treating all parties and candidates as equals they have crowned themselves with major party status and have marginalized their competition to maintain a monopoly on power.

Barriers to full participation of candidates proliferate, such as restricting participation in debates, or setting prohibitive ballot access laws, making it very obstructive for third party and independent candidates to run.

How can any marginalized party ever meet the restrictive 5% polling standard, often imposed for debates, when just a handful of media conglomerates control all the press?  These corporations create obstacles and deliberate manipulations in order to control the voters.  They refuse to give third parties any attention thus extinguishing any semblance of free speech or free press.  The corporate PACs sellout the public interest and are in direct conflict with democracy because they buy, sell and rent politicians who deliver them profits and corporate welfare.

For Example, why would Hubbard Broadcasting, KSTP-TV and AM1500 radio, want a marginalized party to compete against their anointed candidate, Tom Emmer, when they’ve contributed $100,000 to his election?  Monopolies want to squash competition. 

Therefore, Wright/Engelmann proposes the following constitutional amendment making it a fundamental right to run for public office with equal protection for all candidates:

 “Any person may run for public office without qualification.

The state shall afford equal campaign financing for all elections.

All candidates shall enjoy equal and free access to the media.

All candidates on the ballot have a right to access political debates.” 

The expense of political campaigns creates a clear advantage for the highest spender. In fact, 95% of all elections are won by the candidate who spends the most money.  Money dominates the dissemination of campaign messages, mainly waged on television in the form of sound bites. This economic stranglehold of campaigns makes politics a game for only the rich or the richly funded. This silences alternative viewpoints and turns off many voters who do not feel represented by privileged candidates.

Major changes are needed to ensure that every vote counts, that all voters are represented through electoral reforms like instant run-off voting (IRV), none-of-the-above options, and proportional representation, and that non-major party candidates have a chance to run for office and participate in debates, and that elections are publicly financed.