Voting doesn’t begin for another two months but some presidential candidates have already failed their first big ballot test – actually getting on the ballot in all 50 states. The business of getting a candidate’s name on the ballot is a costly and complex endeavor, a major drain of money and manpower that threatens to weed out the most underfunded campaigns and strain the others in what remains a historically unwieldy Republican field. Some states require thousands of signatures to qualify; others charge tens of thousands of dollars. Nationally, the price tag for ballot access can soar well past $1 million – more money than some campaigns have left in the bank. “Right about now is the time when some desperation will set in,” said Ben Ginsberg, a veteran Republican political attorney who served as national counsel for Mitt Romney but is unaligned in 2016.
Barring a major organizational misfire, there’s little doubt that the top-tier Republicans with big money operations – Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Ben Carson, Ted Cruz and Donald Trump – will be on the ballot nationwide. But for everyone else – including Chris Christie, John Kasich and Rand Paul, whose campaigns say they are on track to be on the ballot everywhere – ballot access is an expensive challenge.
Carly Fiorina’s campaign, which says she will appear on the ballot everywhere, has estimated ballot access will cost her $2 million. In a video sent to her supporters this week, she complained about the difficulty of the endeavor by accusing “party bosses” of trying to “rig the game…to protect the establishment candidates and then try to keep everyone else out.”
“Every conservative candidate deserves to be on the ballot,” Fiorina said. “Not just those with Jeb Bush money or Hillary Clinton money.”
Full Article: 2016 election: The ballot wars begin – POLITICO.