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Re: Gubernatorial lawsuit

On Sun, 29 Sep 2002 20:01:03 -0400 "Sean Smyth" <ssmyth@suscom.net>

I'm consolidating my responses to several people in this posting and
sending it just to the board so it won't be repeated a dozen times. 
hopefully it won't give Garrett fits ;-))

Sean Smyth writes:
> I think one of the problems with regards to smaller-party candidates 
> in
> debates is what they may say, for example. Some of their ideas are 
> deemed
> pretty out-of-line by the establishment. Could some of these 
> candidates say
> something perceived as slanderous by others, just to get 'noticed'? 
> I think
> allowing the candidates from any party that gets more than 5 percent 
> of the
> vote in the previous election is a fair standard.

Each state has different rules about getting on the ballot.  I know in
the NH Presidential Primary it involves ponying up cash, that's it.   I
don't know what the requirements are in PA but I believe in Massachusetts
a third party candidate is required to submit a percentage of signatures
based on the number of overall people that cast ballots in the prior
election,  the state figures if a third party candidate can get those
signatures together then there is basis to be placed on the ballot.  In
order to automatically appear on the ballot there is a trigger (it may be
5%) from the previous election so the fact that Ralph Nader drew more
than that trigger in the last Presidential Primary allows the Green Party
to get on the ballot without jumping through hoops.     Their beliefs and
statements, while you and I may find them outrageous, or not should not
be a factor in allowing them access to a debate.

-- Dan Billings, Bowdoinham, Maine wrote:
>In the past, the networks got around the
>issue by covering debates sponsored by other
>organizations.  By doing this, the networks were
>covering a news event and not directly providing the

It appears that is what's happening in Massachusetts.  The organizers of
the first Gubernatorial debate at Western New England College used as an
excuse for not including all 5 candidates that it had to do with time
constraints and lack of voter interest.  I think the time constraint
issue is %^^%*# and as far as lack of voter interest goes more than 70%
of Massachusetts voters did NOT vote in the primary so using their
argument, I would put forward that even the Dems and GOP shouldn't have
been invited since they can't generate interest either.

Dan Billings also wrote:
>Allowing all candidates in a
>debate takes time away from the candidates that have a
>chance to win and may also result in less public

How do you know that a third party candidate couldn't win.  Is it written
somewhere that in order to be elected to office there must be a (D) or
(R) behind your name?  I think Bernie Sanders of Vermont would disagree.

Dan continues:
>In most Presidential elections, there are a half dozen
>candidates that get on the ballot in all or nearly all
>the states.  Should all the debates include all these

I'm not talking Presidential elections. I'm talking about the governor's
race in one state, a state that has a higher threshold than many for
getting onto the ballot in the first place.

Joseph Ross writes:
>The major party candidates generally are unwilling to participate in
debates with minor >party candidates.  If the minor party candidates
truly got equal coverage, some of them >might become major candidates. 
It's a quandry.  The debate should include all viable >candidates.  

I agree that major party candidates don't want to include third party
candidates, why give them the chance to make their case?  However what
determines who is a "viable" candidate?  Ross Perot was rich....does that
make him "viable"?  Public opinion polls?  They change from day to day
just ask George Bush #41.   But again, I'm talking Massachusetts and a
ballot that is not all that easy to get onto in the first place.

But, all that written and said....my original post pointed out that the
"minor" party candidates have filed a complaint and that complaint was
reported by AP.   I was not arguing the validity of their case.   I know
it was reported in the WBUR newscasts because I wrote the stories but it
appears that in addition to not giving "minor" candidates the coverage in
the news that the "majors" get, it appears most media outlets in Boston
won't even tell the public that a complaint by the "minors" has been
filed against them.   News you can count on!!!!