I haven’t posted in a while and that’s because A) working for a start up allows precious little free time, B) my wife and I are preparing for the birth of our baby girl at the end of this month, and C) what sparse time I find for the POTUS Project is spent on research. This post is devoted to item C.
The process by which Presidential candidates – write-in or otherwise – qualify themselves for general election balloting is done on a state by state basis. There is no magical process at the federal level whereby candidates secure a spot on state ballots nationwide. What’s more, the requirements for write-in candidates vary considerably from state to state. So my research entails contacting the Secretary of State office and/or elections division in every state of our Republic to understand each’s unique requirements for Presidential write-in candidates. This job of discovery and compliance with each state’s requirements is largely administrative and is typically carried out by the campaign staff of major party candidates during the general election year. Since I’m not a major party candidate and my staff consists of a single individual (me), there is much grunt work to be done and I don’t want to cram it all into 2016.
At the time of this post I have only AK, GA, ME, RI and Washington DC left to communicate with. Every other state has responded to me with their specific requirements based on the 2012 election just passed. Much can change from a state’s legislative standpoint between now and the next general election in 2016, but none of us have a crystal ball so we must work with the information we have today. As I hear back from the various states, I’m assigning them a value from 1 to 5 (easy to impossible) to score their viability for a write-in campaign. My scoring methodology is as follows:
1 – write-ins are allowed, votes for them are counted, and candidates don’t need to do anything
2- same as 1 but candidates need to file some kind of basic paperwork (affidavit of candidacy, declaration of intent, etc)
3- same as 2 but candidates must also secure as many elector signatures as that state has electoral votes
4 – same as 3 but a petition with a certain number of signatures is also required and/or there are filing fees
5- write-in candidates are not allowed, any votes for them are not counted.
This scoring system will help me select the states in which I’m going to run. Obviously 5’s are off limits but 4’s are so labor intensive or cost prohibitive that I’m not going to spend any time on them (I’m looking at you IL, MI). The low hanging fruit are the 1’s and the 2’s, with 3’s selected as needed for critical mass. There are a total of 538 electoral votes up for grabs and the first candidate to win 270 wins the race. As I have stated in most or all of my posts, I don’t seriously expect or plan to win; my campaign is based on principle and disillusionment with the status quo. But as a matter of formality, I want to qualify as a candidate in enough states to win 270 electoral votes should all of those states vote for me. It’s unlikely my target states will sum 270 on the dot but as long as their electoral votes amount to 270 or more then my quest for formality will be complete.
When I’m through with my research & discovery I will post a list of states where I plan to be qualified as a write-in candidate. With election mechanics out of the way my posts will then shift to platform and the fun can really begin!