Green U.S. House hopeful’s candidacy in limbo, may sue to stay in race
Posted: 07/11/2012 at 1:15 am
By: Tim Vandenack
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Straw is vying for Indiana’s Second District seat as a Green Party candidate, and as a minor party candidate, he’s ostensibly required by state law to drum up 3,653 signatures on petitions to secure a spot on the Nov. 6 ballot. The 3,653 figure represents 2 percent of the total votes cast in the Second District in the last Indiana secretary of state contest.
Straw, a Goshen lawyer, decries the signature requirement as unfair, and in a challenge to the law, he submitted a petition to the Indiana Secretary of State office in June with just one signature, his own, not 3,653. He argues that Gov. Mitch Daniels’ appointment last March of Connie Lawson as secretary of state to replace Charlie White after White was booted from office constitutes an election. As such, the governor’s single “vote” for Lawson should serve as the basis of the signature requirement.
Earlier, he had sought change allowing collection of signatures via online petitions.
As of Tuesday, Straw said he hadn’t yet gotten a response from the Secretary of State office on his one-signature submission. The office, he said, has until Monday to make a determination.
“I really think they’re going to grant the petition,” Straw said.
Nonetheless, if Indiana election officials turn back his petition, he said he’ll challenge the determination by suing in Elkhart Circuit Court for a spot on the ballot. He had mulled a write-in candidacy in the event his petition doesn’t pass muster, but decided against it because of the considerable effort his supporters would have to go through to vote for him.
“It was just more of what I’m protesting against,” Straw said.
In railing against the signature requirement, Straw also noted the differing requirements different parties face to get on the general election ballot in Indiana as a U.S. House hopeful. Libertarian Party candidates only must be nominated at a party convention while Democrats and Republicans who win their respective primaries get a spot on the November ballot.
More philosophically, he maintains that the varied requirements run afoul of the Indiana Constitution. “I am declared equal,” he said in an email to Indiana election officials outlining his arguments, “but I am not treated equally because my beliefs, my God-given right to form beliefs is punished if I don’t conform to certain parties I don’t agree with.”
The main party Second District U.S. House hopefuls are Democrat Brendan Mullen and Republican Jackie Walorski. Joe Ruiz is running as a Libertarian and Ken Lunce is waging a write-in bid.