Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Did I Share Faulty Info on Open Ballots?

by Kyle Michaelis
Since I don't have much of a background in Nebraska election law, I'm worried that my recent post ("Keep Hope Alive!") calling for candidates by petition as our last remaining hope for offering an alternative to the Republican status quo might have been off-base.

Particularly in question is whether or not the Democratic Party can choose its own candidates to take its ballot spot for offices where no candidate filed for the primary. From my reading, this was only an option when a candidate had already filed but had to back-out of (or "vacate") the race. Yet, a column in yesterday's Lincoln Journal-Star suggests this candidates-by-appointment strategy IS still available...or at least was back in 1998. The column reads:
The Democrats have no candidates in three of the five constitutional offices this year, the bleakest situation in the past 36 years. But it isn’t the only time Democrats have been unable to field candidates for every constitutional office race....

State records since 1970 indicate that the Democrats did not field a candidate for a constitutional office in three elections. In 1982 Democrats had no candidate in the secretary of state race or the attorney general race.

In 2002 the party had no candidate in the treasurer’s race.

In 1998 the Democrats had no candidate in the primary, but after their write-in candidate declined, the Democrats selected Pat Knapp to appear on the November ballot.

So, basically, a write-in campaign might be the first, best alternative. And, from there, it sounds like slate filling is a possibility if the state party can find anyone willing to wear its colors in the field of battle.

Of course, I've been unable to find the provision in Nebraska's state statutes that would govern such a process, hence my earlier post's assumption that it was not an option. Regardless, this demonstrates that there might be even more avenues available to potential candidates who would be serious in standing up with passion and ideas and giving Nebraskans a real choice in November for state treasurer, state auditor, and attorney general.

Keep hope alive! It's not too late to do this right, but it will be soon. Don't hesitate. Contact the Nebraska Democratic Party and offer up your name, your expertise, or even just your idea for who else might be up to this important challenge. Do it today!


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