By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
‘The Alabama Political Reporter’ on Friday talked with Alabama Deputy Secretary of State Emily Thompson at the Alabama Secretary of State office about concerns that some third party activists had about paperwork that they had submitted in the last hours of qualifying for the Presidential ballot. Assistant Secretary of State Thompson said that the Alabama Secretary of State’s office was still in the process of verifying the signatures on the ballots; but the paperwork was correct, it appears that the candidates’ do have the requisite number of signatures too qualify and the paperwork was submitted on time. If there are no problems in the signature verification process, Alabama voters will have five candidates for President of the United States to select from.
Deputy Secretary of State Thompson said that the Constitution Party successfully qualified their candidate, Virgil Goode. The Libertarian Party candidate for President, Gary Johnson will also be on the Alabama ballot as will Green Party candidate, Dr. Jill Stein.
‘The Alabama Political Reporter’ talked with Conservative Party Chairman Richard Rutledge from Birmingham. While Rutledge’s Conservative Party chose not to nominate a candidate for President in this election, he worked closely with the leaders of the Alabama Constitution Party to help them qualify their candidate, Virgil Goode. Richard Rutledge said that for a third party to get ballot access statewide they had to collect 44,600 signatures of Alabama registered voters who sign that they support that party’s candidate getting on the ballot. If a third party candidate manages to win 20% of the Alabama vote, then all the ballot is opened up for that party in the next election. The problem with that according to Chairman Rutledge is that the 44,600 signature number is simply too high to easily achieve. For that reason third party candidates actually qualify as independents. Independent candidates only need 6,000 signatures to get ballot access. According to Rutledge the problem with that is even if Johnson, Stein, or Goode get 20% of the Alabama vote (or even if they won the office) their party would not get automatic ballot wide access in the next election. Candidate’s are paying paid petition collectors $1.75 to $2.75 per signature, thus making getting full third party access prohibitively expensive.
Virgil Goode is a former Democratic Congressman who switched to the Republican Party before his eventual defeat in 2008. Goode is now running for President as the nominee of the conservative Constitution Party. In a Forbes interview Goode said, “I believe we’re an exceptional country,” observes Goode “but we must get back to being exceptional. We’re not globalists.” To “balance the budget, we need to step back from foreign entanglements.” Goode said that the other parties “are prone to extend ourselves into too many areas.”
Gary Johnson is a former construction company founder and CEO and the Republican Governor of New Mexico. He is a strong proponent of smaller government and drug legalization. Governor Gary Johnson said on Twitter, “Ron Paul’s movement is not a fluke, it is the future.” In an interview by Ben Johnson, Gov. Johnson said, “Forty-three cents out of every dollar we’re spending is…being printed. If we don’t balance the federal budget, I maintain we’re going to have a monetary collapse.” Johnson is calling for a massive 43% cut in defense spending while also cutting Medicare and Medicaid.
Dr Jill Stein is a doctor, writer, and frequent Green Party candidate in Massachusetts. Dr. Stein said on Twitter, “We support eliminating corporate person hood w/ a constitutional amendment to clarify that only humans have constitutional rights.” Dr. Stein said in the Philadelphia Inquirer, “I’m running because we’re in a crisis. Because I’m a mother and mothers don’t give up. When the president put Medicare and Social Security on the chopping block last year, I suddenly got religion about national politics. I’ve always been active on the state and local level, but suddenly I understood and felt like so many others that it was unthinkable that these threats would go unchallenged in the national debate. So I became involved with the Greens. The nation is in crisis. People are losing jobs, losing their homes, the climate is in meltdown, the rich are getting richer and the political establishment is making things worse by imposing austerity on the American people while they squander trillions on wars, Wall Street bailouts and tax breaks for the wealthy.”
As of press time none of the three candidates have been invited to participate in the debates between Republican Mitt Romney and Democratic incumbent Barack H. Obama.