Most Alabama voters won’t see anything other than Republicans and Democrats on their ballots in the November general election. That’s because it’s hard — unjustly hard — for anyone else to get on the ballot in our state, thanks to the restrictive ballot access law the Legislature has refused to change. Lawmakers have had many opportunities to amend the law to something more reasonable that still protects the integrity of the ballot, but a bill to do that failed in this year’s session, just as similar measures have languished in past sessions. Independent candidates face serious barriers to the ballot here. Under current law, an independent candidate trying to run for a statewide office must collect signatures of registered voters — lots of them. The candidate must present to the secretary of state petitions bearing such signatures totaling at least 3 percent of the number of votes cast for governor in the previous general election.
To get on the ballot in this year’s general election, for example, an independent candidate for statewide office would need 44,828 valid signatures. That’s 3 percent of the 1,494,273 votes cast for governor in the 2010 general election.
In reality, the candidate would have to collect significantly more signatures, as some inevitably would be invalid. That is a colossal undertaking.
Ballot access shouldn’t be too easy. A candidate should have to demonstrate some appreciable level of support; otherwise the ballot could become cluttered with frivolous or far-fringe candidates. But it shouldn’t be unduly difficult either.
Full Article: Ballot barriers too tough.