Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Registered Candidates

I have a few questions about changing the City Charter to only allow eligible registered candidates to fill a vacant position. This is mostly in response to the public comments made by Bill Eddy at the 11/17/09 City Council meeting and on Mike and Brendan's discussion during 508 #93.

-Will we prevent a last minute write in/sticker campaign from happening during a general election? The beauty of a democracy is our ability to vote for whomever we choose, not just from the slate of candidate(s) who choose to run, have the assets, time and staff.

-What happens in an instance like the 2008 13th District race? Bob Spellane faced a last minute challenge from John Mahoney after details regarding Rep. Spellane's personal and campaign finances become public. What if something like that happens in a city race, and some voters decide to challenge a registered candidate after the deadline for registering as a candidate?

2008 Results, 16,360 votes cast
Spellane: 7861 (48%)
Mahoney: 4916 (30%)
Write in: 191 (1%)
Blank: 3392 (21%)

Mahoney's sticker campaign materialized in the last two weeks leading up to the election, and 30% of the votes cast were for him. If you add in the other write ins and blanks, 52% of voters didn't want Spellane as their representative. Should we disenfranchise a large percentage of voters because their candidate didn't register and get enough signatures?

-I believe that the signature drives needed for a campaign is a blessing and a boon. Yes, it keeps frivolous candidates off the ballot, but it also acts as an impediment to citizen participation in government. Voter apathy and our two party system creates a government that only answers to the machines and interests that support their candidacy, and not the whole electorate.

-If there aren't any registered candidates, what happens in a year where we are facing budget shortfalls and we need to hold a special election to fill the seat? Where will the money come from?
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On a final note, I would suggest that our elected officials finish their terms and not use our city government as a stepping stone to bigger and better things. Then we wouldn't have to worry about Frank Raffa and his last minute campaign.

And for the record, I know who finished after Bill Eddy....I voted for them, and they are qualified!

2 comments:

Nicole said...

Regarding Bill Eddy, I'm actually disappointed that my husband's candidate, Bozo the Clown, didn't come in second.

I find the whole Raffa thing kind of funny, mostly because I'm not convinced that Guy Glodis could win a state-wide Democratic primary.

Also, there are two write-in candidates for Senate: Bill "Worcester's own perennial candidate" Coleman and Joe "No Relation" Kennedy. I'll likely vote for one or the other, so my response to your poll would be "write in" :)

SFD said...

I always make it a point to write in a candidate whenever an incumbent is running unopposed. The whole point of a democracy is to keep them honest, and knowing that there is competition and dissenting voices out there makes the pols pay attention.