Thursday, November 20, 2008

Obama "Kicking Opponents Off the Ballot"

Neocon and other anti-Obama bloggers are raving about a Zogby survey of Obama voters showing that many don't know certain facts about Obama that his opposition thinks are alarming.

The only question I did not know was that Obama had "kicked opponents off the ballot" in his first campaign for Illinois senate. I looked into this and here's what I found.

This article at the Chicago Tribune says that what Obama did was challenge, in court, signatures on the other candidate's petitions to be on the ballot. Many of these signatures were gathered scant days before the deadline; some were gathered by kids. Enough signatures were found to be insubstantial to have the candidates removed from the ballots.

In my opinion, it does seem to be fairly dirty politics. But nothing was illegal. And while I would prefer my president-elect not to have done this, I know that we would not have fared better in this respect with any candidate whose campaign was run by Karl Rove or Steve Schmidt, the guy who smeared McCain in 2000 in South Carolina. That was far more dirty -- it was dishonest and not conducted in a court of law.

And what about those questionable voter registrations gathered by ACORN? Obama's challenging of signatures on petitions for candidacy seems to be in the same vein as the challenges to ACORN's for voter registration, and Obama's opponents don't seem to be complaining about that.

ADDENDUM: The first comment on this posting gives better insight into the ACORN signatures vs. ballot petition signatures issue.


Glenn said...

ACORN reviews the names on its registration drives and flags suspicious names. In fact, the overwhelming number of claims of "vote fraud" launched at ACORN concern names that ACORN itself identified as suspicious before turning the documents over to election officials. And any errors do not affect election outcomes unless the erroneous/fraudulent name votes. It's hard for Mickey Mouse to convince poll watchers to give him a ballot and only a couple dozen documented cases of vote fraud have occurred in the past several years. On the other hand, a fraudulent signature on a petition is the equivalent of an attempted fraudulent vote; a candidate or referendum can get onto the ballot without first demonstrating the support of a significant number of voters. ACORN's registration drives do not lead to attempted fraudulent votes.

But aggressively challenging names on candidacy petitions is akin to aggressively challenging voters attempting to cast ballots on election day. This is not behavior for a candidate to be proud of.

pauldude said...

Winning elections is like making sausage, and what counts is the final product. There's probably not an elected official alive who did not do dirty or even illegal things en route to begin elected. Had Bush turned out to be a constructive "uniter," I would not care so much that he stole the election in 2000. In the end, what matters is good governance.