Running as a third-party candidate? Prepare to get signatures
Posted: 03/16/2012 at 1:15 am
By: Tim Vandenack
Click here to view in a gallery.
Andrew Straw, the Green Party hopeful for Indiana’s 2nd District seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, has to get 3,653 signatures on petitions to secure a spot on the November ballot. The Democratic and Republican hopefuls don’t need any, and the difference irks him.
“That’s really just not right,” Straw, a Goshen lawyer, said Tuesday. “Other states don’t even do it that way. This is one of the hardest states.”
Accordingly, he proposes that Indiana election authorities allow online collection of signatures and he emailed queries last week to the varied county clerks in the 2nd District to get their input on the notion. Meanwhile, he’s moving ahead to collect the needed John Hancocks by the July 2 due date, though not without some grumbling.
“As a Democrat or Republican, the requirements are miniscule,” Straw said in an earlier statement on the matter. “There is no fee to run and there are no signature requirements.”
The Republican 2nd District contenders are Greg Andrews, a physician from South Bend, and Jackie Walorski, a former state lawmaker from the Elkhart area. Vying on the Democratic side are Dan Morrison, a manager in the recreational vehicle industry from Elkhart, and Brendan Mullen, a consultant and U.S. Army vet from South Bend.
Per state election rules, “minor party and independent candidates” for the U.S. House of Representatives need to get the signatures on petitions equal to 2 percent of the total votes cast within the pertinent House district for Indiana secretary of state.
In Elkhart County, there were 45,109 votes cast for secretary of state in 2010, which means Straw needs 902 signatures here. Across the 10 counties wholly or partially in the newly drawn boundaries of the 2nd District, the signature count he needs totals 3,653.
Democrats and Republicans have to win their respective primaries, if contested, to get on the November ballot, though there is no signature requirement. Likewise, Libertarian Party hopefuls don’t have to get any signatures, though they must be nominated at their party convention.
Vance Poole, director of communications in the Indiana Secretary of State office, couldn’t speak to the rationale between the differing requirements. The secretary of state office oversees the Indiana Election Division.
Straw though calls it “unequal treatment.”
OTHER SIGNATURE REQUIREMENTS
Though Democratic and GOP hopefuls for U.S. House posts here don’t need any signatures, other federal candidates do. U.S. presidential and U.S. Senate candidates from the two main parties need 500 signatures on petitions from each of the nine congressional districts in Indiana, or 4,500 in all. They were due last February.
Still, the signature requirements are more rigorous for most third-party and independent hopefuls for president or senate. They need the equivalent of 2 percent of the total votes cast statewide for secretary of state in 2010, or 34,194 signatures, due on July 2.
Libertarian presidential and senate hopefuls have no signature requirement. They just must be nominated at a party convention to get on the general election ballot.