Getting on a ballot is the first challenge, then the real one appears

I’ve had my petitions rejected twice, once for being 3 signatures shy of 500 (and trust me- I had extras). So, how can the Montgomery County Board of Elections split on a failure to sign a petition? Only down party lines.

Since I don’t run with a party- I was doomed.

My last submission, 16 signatures were tossed because a notary didn’t write in the number of signatures she was notarizing- a stupid requirement, because the notary wasn’t there when the signatures were collected, but, that’s the system.

From today’s Dayton Daily News:

The mayor of Moraine’s political future is in the hands of Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner after the Montgomery County Board of Elections tied in a vote to certify her petitions to get on the Nov. 3 ballot.

In a special meeting Tuesday, Aug. 25, the board split 2-2 on whether to certify a petition listing 16 signatures that was circulated by Moraine Mayor Jean Matheny. She neglected to provide her signature on the petition as a statement of candidacy.

If Brunner decides against certifying the petition, Matheny will have 49 valid signatures, one less than is required. The ballot then would list only council member Bob Rosenscrans for the four-year term…

Board members Gregory Gantt and James Nathanson voted against certifying Matheny’s petition. Dennis Lieberman and Thomas Ritchie voted in favor of certifying it…

The board also voted not to certify the filings of Donald Allen Domineck Jr., who was seeking a Dayton School Board seat, citing that he did not have enough valid signatures.

Four incumbents — Yvonne Isaacs, Joseph Lacey, Ronald Lee and Stacy Thompson — will have a contested race since newcomer James Weir was also certified for the school board race. The top four vote-getters will win in November.

via Secretary of State to decide if Moraine mayor can run in November.

Donald Allen Domineck Jr. was also cut from the Dayton Commission race for the same reason. A comment on this site said he was the guy who sued Dayton Public Schools to let his kid walk at graduation, without meeting the requirements.

Once candidates get past the technicalities of getting on the ballot, they face the next huge obstacle in our system: raising money, getting known, and the new dirty secret of elections: figuring out the databases of voters and how to target them effectively.

Anyone who studies the Obama campaign, knows that the basis of his success was a mastery of data collection and micro-targeting. It was a technological win as much as an ideological one. The parties have powerful access to data- and voter databases (controlled by Boards of Elections like ours- which are totally bi-partisan). The independents have to start, almost from scratch.

The two most important pieces of data for a candidate- your phone number and e-mail address barely appear in voter registration databases. I know you got a million robo-calls, but, I can guarantee they weren’t from independent candidates. We’ve found ways to get numbers- for free, in batches of 1,500 per day- but, the module to do it in CiviCRM is deprecated for Drupal 6- so we’ll have to build it ourselves. Or buy numbers at a price. This gets expensive.

(and by the way- if you don’t know what CiviCRM is or Drupal, or Open Source code- it’s not critical to the discussion)

Even the modules for canvassing and voter data manipulation died. They were being funded by the Green Party of Canada-but, once elections are over- the money flow stops. It would be liberating for a George Soros type to fund the updating of these open source tools, but I have a better idea: it’s time to put the entire voter database into a social media/open source environment that is open to voters- and to candidates- which will allow all candidates equal access (or no access- if you the voter choose) to the data.

Polling- would be available to all candidates. Contact preferences wouldn’t have to be established for every candidate (meaning you could say I don’t want to be contacted by the Republican Party- and they would abide for example). Millions of dollars wouldn’t be needed for campaigns- since candidates would be able to reach registered voters (who are still only about half the eligible adults) without having to waste billions on un-targeted TV, Radio etc.

Granted, those without e-mail or internet access would be subject to more phone calls, or literature drops, but a vast majority of voters would be much better informed and engaged. Our “democratic system” might actually start behaving more democratic.

This idea won’t help me win this election. However, if elected- I will forward this idea for implementation, and also, work on simplifying the petition process so that we can have less problems with deciding what the BOE wants- and more about what the people want. I’d also make my technology available to other candidates- but, unfortunately, without real-time connectivity to the voter database, it may be too obsolete to use (sorry)

I’m pretty sure the people want choice- and a level playing field. Elections should be about the power of ideas- not the money behind them.

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