The status of better ballot access in the Commonwealth depends on YOU! But here’s the leading bills you can help with:
HB 82 – introduced by Sandy’s new hero – Del. Sam Rasoul – would lower the threshold for a political party to reach the ballot without signatures from ten to five percent based on the last two statewide elections.
HB 1040 – This is Del. Rasoul’s “open primary” bill. I am still not sold on it but I do admit he made a good case for it at the Crusade for Voters meeting Tuesday night. It would or at least could open up the political system in a county like Hanover. Rasoul thinks a primary like this would encourage the candidates to reach to the center rather than extremes. I think its strength is that groups such as African-Americans who might in a county like Hanover feel disenfranchised or marginalized due to the GOP primary being the effective election would be encouraged to vote and candidates would be encouraged to reach out to these groups to win one of those top two spots and then expand that electoral coalition in the general election. Political parties could endorse candidates but not have conventions to elect candidates. (This also might do away with the need for the “incumbent protection bill” – see below – where an incumbent office-holder chooses his or her method for running – primary or convention – and also it does away with unethical interference in the party primary.) Maybe I am warmer to it already…
Alas, there is no other bills (There are related issues such as political party registration and this interesting bill introduced by Del. Freitas that would abolish the “incumbent protection act” allowing office-holders in the General Assembly to decide if they want to run in a primary or convention) on ballot access. No one introduced the Sanders proposal in Style last November. No one introduced a bill to reduce number of signatures for statewide office, either. Ought to be reduced to 5000.
If you want to help provide better ballot access in Virginia, both of these bill go to the Elections subcommittee and here’s who sits on this subcommittee:
House Privileges and Elections
So, if one of these is YOUR delegate, you know what to do! (Again, click on the delegate’s name and you’ll find his or her email address.) This committee is scheduled to meet at 730 am (yes that’s right!) on Thursdays! There is perhaps something a bit ironic about such as meeting time to get more transparent government but there is only a limited amount of time in session to get these meetings conducted. Check the dockets carefully here. I’ll try to make it for both.