Friday, May 4, 2001

Blocking Candidates From the Ballot

"The Democratic State Committee is to decide whether to resurrect the language of a state law that a federal appeals court struck down as unconstitutional last year, and make it a rule of the party.

The law required that in each legislative district, anyone collecting signatures to get a candidate on a primary ballot must be a resident of that district. The provision made it hard for anyone who was not backed by the party establishment to circulate petitions, strengthening the control of party leaders.

Democrats can't chide Republicans for trying to block Senator McCain from the ballot, and then turn around and try to erect ballot roadblocks to candidates in their own parties," said Gene Russianoff, a lawyer with the New York Public Interest Research Group, which has asked the party not to adopt the rule.

Mr. Feldman said the rule was not meant to block candidates, and added that letting anyone collect signatures would allow those outside a district to work against a lawmaker." - New York Times, May 4, 2001