I get eTracks, our local Republican party’s electronic newsletter (For Freedom!). The latest is an appeal from local mahout Brian Miller for money based on the legal challenges to Republican nominating petitions. Money quote:
Defending against these legal challenges will cost our candidates money and time, while Rogers—a lawyer—will be able to launch and fund these challenges himself. We can’t let lawyering and legalese decide our elections outside the ballot… I mean, mailbox.
Yep, Miller is still seething over that all-mail election thing.
Which brings me around to my point. Miller and company’s argument is that mail-in balloting will lead to all sorts of shenanigans, that rules will be broken.
It’s a silly argument with regard to the mail-in elections, since two thirds of Tucsonans already vote that way, but hey, just for the sake of argument, let’s continue.
Miller and I agree: election laws are important. Well, what about the one that says to be a candidate, you have to get a certain number of valid signatures to get on the friggin’ ballot?
Hey, I’ve been in campaigns long enough to know that you will always have bad signatures: people that are unregistered, people that don’t actually live in the constituency, people that don’t realize that they are registered at the wrong address. The solution is to get so many signatures that the good ones will take you past the line even with that certain percentage of bad signatures.
These campaigns didn’t do that. Shaun McClusky, to cite the most extreme case, only turned in 123 above the minimum, and the ones he turned in were sloppy. In the most egregious example, one page of fifteen signatures only contained two voters that even lived in the city. This sort of work is from a campaign that was desperate and rushed, not one that was well organized.
Even with the “energized” tea party base and anger at mayor and council, this is the best they can do? Instead of sending out whiny e-mails, Miller ought to be seeing what he can do to make sure his party is organized to contest elections.
Gathering signatures is a slog. It’s early in a campaign when the organization consists of the candidate and a few friends. It can be difficult. It also usually turns out to be the easiest part of a long campaign. It’s certainly easier than having to govern Tucson.